BIOGRAPHY

home

Members | Ex-members | Associated people | Related bands | Who's who


 

IAN CURTIS

Full name: Ian Kevin Curtis
Birth: Sunday
15 July 1956. Memorial Hospital – Old Trafford, Manchester (UK)
Death: Sunday 18 May 1980. 77, Barton Street – Macclesfield (UK)


 

BIOGRAPHY

Ian Kevin Curtis lived most of his life in Macclesfield, where he attended King's School. He is notable as the singer and lyricist with the band Joy Division, which he helped form in 1977 in Manchester
He developed a unique spastic dancing style, which mirrored the epileptic fits he experienced late in life
so much so that at times audience members were unsure whether he was dancing or having a seizure. He also possessed an eerie baritone voice, which he used to great effect in the songs Joy Division created
He was diagnosed with epilepsy in early 1979 and was put on many different combinations of medications to help control his fits. As well as suffering from epilepsy, his life was plagued by depression. His extramarital relationship with
Annik Honoré affected his marriage, already under stress from his lengthy absences on tour. Lyrics for the song Love will tear us apart reflected this situation
He committed suicide by hanging himself in his kitchen one day before
Joy Division were to embark on their first American tour. His death led to the creation of New Order by Joy Division's remaining members
Ian Curtis was cremated and buried in Macclesfield, with the inscription on his memorial stone reading, "Love Will Tear Us Apart." The epitaph, chosen by his widow
Deborah Curtis, is a reference to Joy Division's best-known song
In 1995, Faber And Faber published
Touching from a distance, Deborah Curtis's biographical account of their marriage, in part detailing his infidelity
In late 2004/early 2005, there have been plans for a Ian Curtis biopic. The film, tentatively entitled
Control, will be based on material from Touching from a distance. Popular rock photographer Anton Corbijn will direct while Deborah Curtis and former Factory Records head Tony Wilson are executive producers


 

EDUCATION

Trinity Square Infants – Hurdsfield (UK)

Hurdsfield Junior School (primary) – Hurdsfield (UK)

King's School (secondary) – Macclesfield (UK)

St-John's College – Manchester (UK): only for a couple of weeks


 

PREVIOUS JOBS

Rare Records (sales assistant) – Manchester (UK)

Butter Lane Antique Market – Macclesfield (UK)

Ministry of Defence (civil servant) – Cheadle Hulme, Manchester (UK)

Manpower Services Commission – Sunley Building, Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester (UK)

Job Centre (Employment Exchange) (assistant disablement resettlement officer) – Macclesfield (UK)


 

INSTRUMENT

Vocals (main)

Guitar (on Atmosphere | Heart and soul | Incubation | I remember nothing | Love will tear us apart): Vox Phantom VI Special
Amplification: Vox UD 30, through Vox Cabinet with 2x 12-inch Marshall speakers

Keyboard: ARP Omni-2
Effects: Melos (echo unit) | MXR Graphic (six-band equalizer) | Chorus Flanger


 

QUOTES

Ian Curtis introducing himself to Tony Wilson: You bastard. You put Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols and Magazine and all those others on the telly, what about us then? (Friday 14 April 1978)

Everyone's living in their own little world. When I was about 15 or 16 at school, I used to talk with my mates and we'd say: 'As soon as we leave, we'll be down in London, doing something nobody else is doing.' Then I used to work in a factory, and I was really happy because I could daydream all day. All I had to do was push this wagon with cotton things in it up and down. But I didn't have to think. I could think about the weekend, imagine what I was going to spend my money on, which LP I was going to buy... You can live in your own little world (July 1979)

Some people have said it [the music] is all about death and destruction. It isn't, really. There's other things... particular feelings. None of the songs are about death and doom. It's such a heavy metal thing, that. Some of the things come out of confusion, because I'm not exactly sure what I want, [although] now I feel more or less settled. I'm doing what I want to do, really (October 1979)

Nothing appealed to me. I was listening to stuff like the Stones and whatever... and there was just something when I got two of the Velvet Underground albums that seemed to be very real. There was stuff in the lyrics that I could relate to that there wasn't in anything else. It was just what I was going through at the time... it was the attitude of the thing. I remember seeing Lou Reed on Old Grey Whistle Test or Disco Two or whatever they used to call it, and he wasn't the normal singer in a group, there was something more to him that seemed to carry on to the way he lived and things like that. Instead of just singing about something you could show it as well put it over in the way that it is, if you were totally involved in what you were doing (1979)

You can't say what inspires you to write. It could be something you've seen, something subconscious… it's up to people to decide what the songs are about. They have to form their own impressions. I don't write about anything in particular. It's all subconscious stuff. Scribble… sometimes feelings or things that pop into your head. Does that sound pretentious? (1979)


 

INTERESTS

Music
David Bowie: The Man Who Sold The World (1971) | Low (1977)
Jimi Hendrix
Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express (1977)
Augustus Pablo
Iggy Pop: The Idiot (1977)
Public Image Limited: Metal Box (1979)
Lou Reed: Berlin (1973)

Literature
James Graham Ballard: Atrocity Exhibition | Terminal Beach | Crash | High Rise
William S. Burroughs: Apo-33 | Naked Lunch | The Soft Machine | The Third Mind | Wild Boys
Karol Cetinsky (Ka'tzetnik 135633): House Of Dolls
Aleister Crowley: The Book Of Thoth
Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevsky
Nikolaï Vassilievitch Gogol: Dead Souls
Hermann Hesse (= Emil Sinclair)
Józef Konrad Korzeniowski (= Joseph Conrad): Heart Of Darkness
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Jean-Paul Sartre
Oscar Wilde: The Happy Prince

History
History museums
Kings (especially King Arthur), knights and castles
Ladybird History books

Second World War: Rudolf Hess

Sports
Football
Speedway: Belle Vue Aces Speedway (motorbikes and scrambling)


 

ADDRESSES

With his parents
26, Balmoral Crescent
– Hurdsfield (UK)
11, Park View
– Macclesfield (UK)
Victoria Park
– Macclesfield (UK)
New Moston (in 1973)
– Macclesfield (UK)

With his wife
Stamford Street (for a short period in 1975, the couple stayed at his mother's parents)
Old Trafford, Macclesfield (UK)
Sylvan Street
Chadderton (near Oldham) (UK)
77, Barton Street (where he was actually found dead by his wife
Deborah) – Macclesfield (UK)


 

FAMILY

Father: Kevin Curtis (he was a Detective Officer in the Transport Commission Police)
Mother: Doreen Curtis
Sister: Carole Curtis


 

RELATED LINKS

Deborah Curtis | Natalie Curtis | Annik Honoré