Today we honor for unfortunately the wrong reason, one of the most haunting voices and mesmerizing frontmen ever to step on stage. 

factory rec

When I was a kid, I heard the name Joy Division a little bit, but didn't hear much of their music cause radio wasn't the place for them. Magazines didn't cover them. Record stores didn't have their posters up. So growing up north of Boston in new England, how the heck do you hear about this stuff. (This is back in the early 80's keep in mind. No doo-hicky phone gadgets or interwebs).

As I got a bit older and I met girls and cool older kids in school, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was what you heard first. Since it was the first thing most people likely hear from the band; you were like "yeah, so what? What's the big deal". As I got older I got it more. Like English TV shows. Back then, whats this? Years later, I've watched Fawlty Towers like a 100 times.

Joy Division to many will just be that one song unfortunately. As important and crucial as it was, it was a small part of this band. A slight open door into a world of well, not so much light and not a lot of warmth. This band was a cold, damp room in the basement with only a few bits of light shinning in from a small, cracked window.

The sound of true alternative music though, the early stuff, was never wine and roses and bright sunshine. It was dark and gothic, shy and misunderstood. It was something truly wanting to be something else, something more, but not always finding the strength to do so and the music made the sound of that reality.

factory rec

Here comes this band from Manchester, England in the late 70's that was so far ahead of the game, it was scary as we look back today. From the years of Bowie, Gary Numan and punk rock came this new breed. It was a restless band. Fronted by the great Ian Curtis, Joy Division was the future of music. Even today jaws would drop if this band were still around. From sound to vision, Joy Division was a groundbreaking collective. With a band behind him working like some industrial machine from their home town clanking sounds; Curtis strung his writings and words on top of this band's sound. Peter Hook's basslines and his work, in my opinion, is some of the most important bass playing of all time. Listen to him, then listen to all alternative music since then. Tell me if you hear his bass style anywhere.

It was Curtis though that eyes were glued to on stage. His monotone robotic voice shot straight out while he jerked around on stage unlike anyone had seen before. Battling epilepsy and depression was one hell of a life for Curtis, sometimes even having health episodes on stage. This was a man who was hurting in too many ways. In his personal life he was torn between his wife & baby and someone else who had become his other soul mate that he kept secret. He could not seem to be able to handle it all. On the eve of the band's departure for their first American tour, Curtis took his life in his own house.

Peter, Stephen and Bernard would of course go on to start New Order and have major, major league success with that, but it was nothing as important as Joy Division still is to this day. Amazing to only release two albums in a short amount of time and still have that much of an affect on the world.

In honor of the 35th Anniversary of the loss of Ian Curtis here's some of the few videos and footage available of him in action with Joy Division. And on this day, lets keep in mind those battling epilepsy and those who battle depression.