Friday, May 20, 2005

Walk in Silence

Both music maven Johno and I fell asleep at the wheel. We forgot to write anything up about the twenty-fifth anniversary of the suicide of Ian Curtis, the epileptic lead singer of Joy Division, the first great post-punk band.



When I started listening to Joy Division, they were a mysterious band. I was big into New Order, just starting to play the guitar and bass, just a teenager in the middle of Los Angeles. One day I drove over to Melrose Avenue. I didn't have my driver's license yet, just a learners permit. A friend had just introduced me to Cocteau Twins, and I was hungry for more.

At the record store, Bleaker Bob's, I found that another record was filed away under New Order. The cover was mysterious: an ethereal black and white print of a mourning scene. In my idiocy, I thought the name of the band was Closer. I bought it for the import record for the insane price of $12.

When I got home, I played the record on the only turntable in the house. The music was dark, fragmented, depressing. I stood close to the stereo so that I could turn it off as quickly as possible.

Closer was one of a few albums that influenced my early guitar playing (along with Cocteau Twins' Treasure, Roxy Music's Country Life, King Crimson's Starless and Bible Black, X's More Fun in the New World). These albums (with the exception of the last) were all obscure: information about the bands was difficult to come by in the US in the mid-1980s. They were, however, my entry into the world of Goth: dark clothes, dark makeup, even a long skirt or two. Now info is easy to find, and I care less about by Goth credibility.

I sang Digital at a gig on the tenth anniversary, May 18, 1990. I was the guitar player for a band called The Four Humours (the other members were all English lit people, hence the reference). Our singer passed on the vocal, and it fell to me (actually, she passed on Atmosphere, so I picked a song that was easier to sing). I didn't do too badly with the vocal chore: it was before I smoked. And I think I was dressed just like Mr. Curtis in the photo above. A year later I sat in on a local band's recording of Disorder. And there were numerous times when I was accused of using too much reverb on my flatly distorted Strat.

9 Comments:

At 10:15 AM, Blogger tak said...

You mentioned a "Bleaker Bob" in LA. That's fascinating because there is a "Bleeker Bob" on Bleeker Street in NYC, where I used to frequent as a teenager (and listened to tushe same Joy Division and Cocteau Twins music you listened to!). I wonder if there is any connection between the two.

Anyway I jt discovered your blog, very nice. Looking forward to exploring your other posts and links!

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

I have heard a rumor that there is some connection between the two, although someone may have just ripped off the name.

I see that you have a blog. Since I am abroad, surfing by the hour, I don't have time to read it. In a few weeks drop back in and remind me to look you up.

 
At 12:08 AM, Blogger Rigged said...

My wife and I just got back from travelling through Europe. You can check out my blog at http://mindstationx.blogspot.com

I'm also a fan of what used to be obscure rock music from the '80. Have you heard Van der Graff Generator? I think you'd like their albums, "Pawn Hearts" and "H to He Who Am The Only One"

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger NewhampshireMan12 said...

Very nice blog, hard to come by these days,

If you have a chance, can you visit my how to play guitar site

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Thanks

 
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