6. Ian Curtis
Love will tear us apart.
Aha… You know I was the last person whom he spoke to before he committed suicide? That was awful. It was the days before cellphones.
Why do you think he did it?
He was in love with his Belgian girlfriend, and he felt really guilty about growing beyond his wife and child. He hated being in Joy Division
, he didn’t want to be in it anymore. He wanted to do something more interesting. He was a big fan of Throbbing Gristle
He was 23 or something…
Yeah…very young. He was a big fan of TG, I was sick of being in TG, so we actually had a plan and we started to actually do the plan, which was we’d arrange to have a gig in Paris, at La Palace
, which would be Joy Division
and Throbbing Gristle
. And at the end of both set, he would say ‘I’m not quitting Joy Division to start a band with Gen’
and I would say ‘I’m not quitting Throbbing Gristle to start a band with Ian’
. And we would start a band together. But then, that asshole, Tony Wilson
– sorry, I shouldn’t…- he said ‘you got to go to America’, and the other three guys, who were very nice, I liked them all, I got friends with them all, they wanted to go to America. And he said ‘I’m not going, I’d rather be dead’. And he meant it. And they thought ‘oh, he’s always being dramatic, he doesn’t mean it’. But he did mean it.
He rang me up, that night, he was in Manchester, I was in London, and he sang, word perfect, ‘Weeping’
, which is about my attempt to commit suicide. And I just thought ‘why is he singing my suicide song?’ ‘Oh, he’s going to’ try to commit suicide. Shit.’ So I started to ring everybody in Manchester that I knew. Factory Records
people, the manager, Jon Savage
, everyone. They were all like ‘he’s always being dramatic, he’s not going to do anything’. I was ‘somebody has to go around to his house’, and they were like ‘no, no no’. People didn’t have cellphones in that time. So he killed himself. I felt awful, ‘cause I was 300 miles away, I couldn’t do anything. Maybe I should have called the police, but, you know, you don’t want to call the police, you want your friends to go around.
He must have had a lot of courage to do it.
He hanged himself; that’s really hard…Horrible. Jaye
always said that suicide is a kind of temporary insanity and if somebody could just delay it, you get past that crisis point, and then you could probably stop it. But there was no one who was prepared to go around and do that. It took me more than 10 years to listen to Joy Division
again after that, I just couldn’t listen. I just cried if I tried to. There are about three books now that mention this story, but for ages it kept quiet, because they felt guilty too, you know? And they didn’t know that we’re going to’ start a band together. None of them; not even Tony.
It was really weird too. We were playing with Peaches
in Brussels, in 2006. And Jaye
came up to me after we played and said ‘there’s someone here to see you. I know normally you don’t want to see anyone, but I think you want to meet this person.’ And this beautiful woman came in, it was Ian’s girlfriend, she came up and she said who she was and we both started crying and held each other. She died this year…She was so young. And we never met before. She was really special.
He used to come visit whenever he was in London. You know whom he listened to before he did ‘Closer’
? Frank Sinatra
. He was really into Frank Sinatra.
After almost one hour, we stopped here, since there were a lot of people asking ‘where did Gen disappear?’ At the end I ask Gen if it’s possible to sign a record. It is the first volume of ‘Acid Tablets’ by Jack The Tab
, one of two fake compilations produced by Psychic TV in 1988 (the other is Tekno Acid Beat
). Even if there are a lot of (fake) artists appearing on the compilation, it is mostly Genesis’ work, with help from Fred Giannelli). ‘’This is such a great record!’’, Genesis recalls while signs it. ‘’I remember we had such a great fun while recording it. Imagine it, at that time, (1988), there was no acid house.’’ The room starts to get crowded. So crowded that I even meet a Romanian guy living in New York, who is actually the neighbor of Edley ODowd, the drummer from Psychic TV.
main photo credits: Valeriu Cătălineanu // Control Club
other photo credits: Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye