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Joy Division

Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:06 pm

Last week while ill i watched a film by Anton Corbijn named Control. It's a film about the rise and the sudden stop of this great, promising post punk band called Joy Division. On the eve of their American breakthrough their lead-singer Ian Curtis killed himself, both plagued by severe epilepsy and a troubled private life.

Even though i have had their music and the music of New Order on my shelves for years and years, the movie renewed my interest and i decided to see if i could find anything interesting on the internet to watch.

On youtube i found a documentary about Manchester, their hometown, with the story of Joy Division serving as a kind of connecting thread.

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I found it a utterly fascinating story. What struck me about the performances of the group was the intensity with which they played. I remember only hearing that kind of intensity with one other artist, the young Elvis Presley. I did not see that coming but i was very surprised at this discovery.

For those who can stomach a bit more than Elvis, i think you might be in for a special experience. On the other hand, it is not easy listening. All the same, a very interesting bit of history about a band whose influence is still being felt to this day.

What is amazing to me that the surviving band members managed to re-invent themselves and became a very successful act. Their dance and techno influences also are still felt to this day and their 12" called Blue Monday is the biggest selling 12" to date:

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Hopefully you enjoyed some of it or learned something new.

Re: Joy Division

Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:01 pm

Thank you so much! The whole documentary . . . must have cost the uploader extra money to upload a whole documentary!

I think it might have been the one I caught about a year or two ago, but I don't know. I am looking forward to this, in any case. Sad story, but the documentary looks terrific.

And thanks for the song. Definitely in the original style.

Listen to this, to that bass riff, and if you hear any influence, let me know:

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Joy Divsion:

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Just a thought.

rjm :smt006

P.S. -- In an odd sort of way, even the lyrics of both songs make a similar point. "It's not the language; it's the sound." And really, the whole thing. Elvis is concerned with communicating with this "square" chick, and he would prefer "crazy music, rockin' bands, hot-rod racin'" but, he sings, "I don't care." The two people in the song speak different languages. He prefers noise, she, silence. The "sound" of the record certainly eclipses language, as Joy Division point out in their record. She doesn't want to dance, though, and he "don't care." The language is in the silence of the sound that you hear. Hmm: I mean that Elvis sings and plays about the pleasure of silence by making a certain kind of sound, which signifies the idea that "it's not the language." Same point, in a way.
Oh gosh . . . people are going to say: "what IS she rambling on about, again??"
Last edited by rjm on Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:02 am

:)
Very nice! Indeed they make sort of the same point. Another point of similarity is that they both received a lot of 'attention' because of the way the moved on stage. Both could work themselves up to a frenzy. But the raw energy is there on almost every show i have heard from them (not too many i have to admit, but amazingly around 200 bootlegs exist from Joy Division!).
The special edition of their albums have an extra cd with a live concert by the group. It is amazing how they sound, they turned things around, it is almost like the bass takes the lead (i see your point RJM) and the guitar is there for filling up the gaps. The drums are frantic. Amazing drummer really. At points they sound like a well oiled machine, they were that good. And they were still so young. (Here are the young men.)

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:37 am

epf wrote::)
Very nice! Indeed they make sort of the same point. Another point of similarity is that they both received a lot of 'attention' because of the way the moved on stage. Both could work themselves up to a frenzy. But the raw energy is there on almost every show i have heard from them (not too many i have to admit, but amazingly around 200 bootlegs exist from Joy Division!).
The special edition of their albums have an extra cd with a live concert by the group. It is amazing how they sound, they turned things around, it is almost like the bass takes the lead (i see your point RJM) and the guitar is there for filling up the gaps. The drums are frantic. Amazing drummer really. At points they sound like a well oiled machine, they were that good. And they were still so young. (Here are the young men.)


I recall that it was a very frenetic act that they did, and of course, Curtis had an illness: epilepsy. It's amazing that he was able to do what he did on stage. I guess it really wore him down. I don't remember all the details (I am going to watch the documentary tomorrow night), but his voice sounds older, weary . . . beyond his years. He didn't seem like a "rock'n'roll kid," if you know what I mean. Until Elvis sorta fell into the quicksand, his voice generally lept with the joy of youth (well, there were the "movie years," but I'm not talking about those recordings). It's a shame Curtis suffered so, when he was so young.

At the '69 press conference, when Elvis was just 34 (I guess that seemed like a big deal in a Boomer world in 1969), they commented: "you look so young." Someone said he looked "23." Whatever . . . the point is that he gave off a vibe at the time of being "new" or "fresh." His eyes sparkled wth mischief, his smile was like a kid the day school lets out . . . (And on-stage that season, he was kinda crazy, in a good way!)

Curtis did not give off such a vibe. They contributed an awful lot, but his story sure was sad.

I hope to refamiliarize myself with the band, and with Curtis, when I watch the whole thing (again? I don't know . . . and I it would seem new, anyway).

Thank you so much.

rjm
P.S. -- One reporter in '69 said "how does it feel to be the "great-grandfather of rock 'n' roll"? Elvis was a bit taken aback: "I didn't know that I was," he said. :smt005
Last edited by rjm on Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:03 am

"Control" was very good, especially because the actors actually played and sang the music. It gave the entire film a vibrant spirit. It certainly captured the excitement that raged through Manchester after the Pistols played, and the inspiration to local musicians like Curtis.

Beyond getting the essential Joy Division studio work, this is a must-have:


Image

Joy Division, Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979 (NMC FACD 2.61)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Bains_Douches_18_December_1979

It's one of the best live shows in the history of rock and roll.

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:12 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:"Control" was very good, especially because the actors actually played and sang the music. It gave the entire film a vibrant spirit. It certainly captured the excitement that raged through Manchester after the Pistols played, and the inspiration to local musicians like Curtis.

Beyond getting the essential Joy Division studio work, this is a must-have:


Image

Joy Division, Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979 (NMC FACD 2.61)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Bains_Douches_18_December_1979

It's one of the best live shows in the history of rock and roll.


So, there are two different films?

I may have seen the one you mentioned, Doc. I think it did have that kind of narrative, with actors. I just don't know, yet, as I will watch it, not tomorrow night, but tonight. I mean, the documentary which epf posted here, that was uploaded in full by someone. I think they charge extra to let you do that, so the person sure must have wanted the world to see this documentary! The oddly named uploader was very generous in making this available to people. Curtis should be remembered, and when someone goes the extra mile in posting something like that, it helps. Odd name for the uploader, though. So I guess I'll just "quote" Elvis's words to Judge Gooding when most thought he was saying '"thank" you very much.' Right in Judge Gooding's direction. (June Juanico, In The Twilight of Memory) To uploader: "Thank" you very much! :lol:

And many thanks epf!! Will enjoy tonight.

rjm

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:29 am

The guy was asking if he should take down the documentary, out of respect for those who should be compensated.

Almost everyone said they will buy it. I think it's a good thing. The new radio, the new MTV . . . and people always bought the record or film, if the music or film was good. They show Turner Classic Movies, and people order the DVDs. So, sure, he should definitely keep it up there.

If YouTube is over-controlled, it's gone, useless. This is one of many great ways to use it: to let people know about great DVDs, like they would watch cable films.

Talk about "Control": this other guy won't let you freely YouTube his work - not even to be creative with the songs: "BobDylanTV's Channel." Official stuff, only! No full docs, that I know of, though they've aired, except for special features, on PBS. Thankfully, most artists know that YouTube is very good for them, including filmmakers. If I did any kind of professional documentary, I would not mind at all if people saw it first on YouTube.

It's great for Curtis's legacy.

rjm

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:55 pm

rjm wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:"Control" was very good, especially because the actors actually played and sang the music. It gave the entire film a vibrant spirit. It certainly captured the excitement that raged through Manchester after the Pistols played, and the inspiration to local musicians like Curtis.

Beyond getting the essential Joy Division studio work, this is a must-have:


Image

Joy Division, Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979 (NMC FACD 2.61)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Bains_Douches_18_December_1979

It's one of the best live shows in the history of rock and roll.


So, there are two different films?

And many thanks epf!! Will enjoy tonight.

rjm


Yes, there are different documentaries and movies. I mentioned Control in the first sentence of my OP. Another interesting piece of rock and roll history is the documentary neworderstory, a DVD (originally a VHS!) which tells you the story of the group as only New Order can tell you. It is really worth checking out. RJM, I sent you a PM with a comprehensive overlook of what to get if you want to catch up with them completely. Their story is utterly fascinating and Ian, like Elvis, was an unhappy, searching soul, looking for answers in books, shutting themselves of from their direct environment.

Doc, it does not amaze me you would chime in. In fact i was awaiting your arrival because i guessed you would have something to add. Funnily enough the LP 'Unknown Pleasures' was reviewed by a Jon Savage for the NME.

RJM, Ian Curtis did not suffer from epilepsy from the start. It started later on, as they were moving up. But he had the worst kind possible. It left him drained and each time he had had an attack he felt he had lost strength, which was probably the case. Besides that, his lifestyle certainly did not help him in this matter: smoking and drinking and performing under blinking bright lights, with their volume way up.

And Ian Curtis got his medicines and he started to abuse them. Ah well, it is only Rock and Roll, right? Wrong.

Re: Joy Division

Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:39 pm

It is amazing... the Sex Pistols are actually not much more than the puppets of Malcom MacLaren. He was a coy businessman, sort of like the good old colonel. But it is breathtaking how this group musically inspired lots and lots of musicians: "If they can do it, then most certainly we can do it." From Joy Division/New Order to The Fall to Morrissey to Simply Red. And most certainly a whole lot more.

Dave Marsh.... called them "unquestionably the most radical new rock band of the Seventies."

"Closer", the final album of Joy Division is indeed a farewell. The cover of the album actually shows a tomb. And this album was in full production/print before Ian Curtis took his own life.
On the eve of their international breakthrough, less than 24 hours before leaving to USA to perform a 14 day tour, Ian Curtis hanged himself, plagued by depression, severe and worsening epilepsy and he was being torn apart between his lover Annick and his wife Debbie with his daughter.

He tried to make good with Debbie the evening before Joy Division would leave for the States. But Ian confessed he still loved Annick so Debbie decided to go ahead with the divorce proceedings. To which Ian requested (demanded is more like it) that Debbie would leave her house, so Ian could pack his things and he would be gone the following morning.
Indeed, Ian was gone the following morning. Forever. But his words resonate to this day.

Closer, the full album:
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Love will tear us apart (released as a single after Ian's death) on the situation with Debbie and Annick:
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She's Lost Control (about a woman who had an epileptic fit BEFORE he would himself suffer from this terrible disease):
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Unknown Pleasures: Full Album
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The show the doc was talking about:
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Transmission:
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Listen to how the bass actually plays the melody line! The guitar is used to fill up the empty places. And the drums play a great part in defining the sound. Ronnie Tutt would look in amazement... This drummer would look good next to Ronnie in the Muppets! Wonderful drummers both.

And Ian's dance... He is so totally into it... but you can also see the despair in his eyes.

In the documentary they were talking about his death. Only Annick saw it coming. The rest sort of looked upon Ian's behavior as part of his act. Or his art. He would pull trough. Sort things out. It turned out that the other members of the band had not actually really listened to the lyrics! So they had no idea what he was singing about. Wearing blinders. Again.

What is the legacy of Joy Division? One side is that they turned out to be grandfathers of goth. The Cure have also been given that title, but The Cure refuse to be called goth. And rightly so.
Another part of their legacy is... they had a wonderful producer in Martin Hannett who showed them the early tricks of electronics. He would put all kind of effects on the instruments and voices and this gathered the interest of the band. And so they became the front runners, once again, of a new movement, the electronic dance and ambient scene. Their influence lasts to this very day.

New Order - Waiting For The Sirens' call:
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On a final note: Peter Hook, the wonderful bass player of Joy Division and New Order called the documentary on Joy Division the perfect answer to the film by Anton Corbijn, to which he obviously had serious complaints about.
Peter Hook has left New Order and has recently toured the world with his new band The Light, performing the first album of Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures. It must be something of a healing process for him:
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Enough for now.

Re: Joy Division

Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:34 pm

rjm wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:"Control" was very good, especially because the actors actually played and sang the music. It gave the entire film a vibrant spirit. It certainly captured the excitement that raged through Manchester after the Pistols played, and the inspiration to local musicians like Curtis.

Beyond getting the essential Joy Division studio work, this is a must-have:


Image

Joy Division, Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979 (NMC FACD 2.61)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Bains_Douches_18_December_1979

It's one of the best live shows in the history of rock and roll.


So, there are two different films?

I may have seen the one you mentioned, Doc.

"Control" is the first film mentioned by the OP.