What got these Joy Division tours started, why now?
May 2010 was thirty years of Ian Curtis' life and I thought it'd be the right time to celebrate that. The original idea was an exhibition of Joy Division songs played by different backing bands and singers, but it didn't happen. So when I saw Primal Scream going on tour with ‘Screamadelica’ I thought I'd do that.
Starting in New York yeah?
When we did the tour in the US last time it went down really well. Some great shows out there, so I said the next year we'll do ‘Closer’. I thought we'd take the tour out there first and start it all in the US, so I'm really looking forward to playing these dates.
You'll be touring with your son Jack again, are there ever "like Father like son" moments on tour?
At first I wanted to get a singer in for the tours, but the problem was no-one fancied it. There was a lot of internet criticism -- suffering a crisis of confidence. I think they all felt like they were doing some wrong by doing it, so I stepped up. I thought ‘I'm not gonna let it go’, so that meant I needed a bass player and that's when my son stepped in.
He's twenty-one, the same age I was when we did ‘Unknown Pleasures’, which was quite spooky but poignant in a way, and yeah, when I look over to him on stage it’s a little like looking at yourself, which gives me a very strange feeling (laughs). But, he's great on the bass and though his musical tastes are a lot different to mine (heavier stuff like Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age), he plays the bass like me so it works out great. Not many dads can say they know where their twenty-one year old sons are.
Any plans to put out and release some of the coming live shows in the US and South America?
Well it’s a funny thing really because you’re not promoting an album as it was made thirty-three years ago. That can make it a bit of a difficult decision to release it or not. The thing is that the band we've got are fantastic and I must admit I get a real kick out of it -- playing with them. I’ve played with the keyboard player and the drummer in Monaco, and the guitarist played in Freebass so we have a great musical unit so the temptation to record new music is there, you know?
What’s it like for you playing these albums live again after all these years?
If you think about it, when we went into New Order we literally put Joy Division away and it’s funny because I didn’t realise how much I'd missed it and how great it is to get the songs back. As much as I love Unknown Pleasures, my favorite was ‘Closer’ and actually it’s one of my favorite albums anyway. Despite the fact I don’t normally like anything played by me, because generally I don’t like playing New Order and what not, but now I'm happy about it, playing these songs.
After listening to ‘What Do You Want From Me’ the other day it reminded how good that song sounds, do you ever think about playing material from the other bands you had?
Ironically our guitarist is at home with his new born and off on maternity leave so Pottsey's stood in for him. We've done five gigs with nearly the same line up as Monaco, which was quite spooky, but Monaco was great.
I left Monaco to go back to New Order, but in a lot of ways when I look back I think I would’ve been better off staying in Monaco because New Order was such a bitter ending. Maybe 1990 would’ve been a better year to leave New Order and end it, but you live and learn.
Despite that though New Order's later releases were still successful...
I'm very proud of ‘Get Ready’, ‘Waiting for the Sirens’ Call’ was OK but I loved ‘Get Ready’ and thought it was a great come back. Though, a lot of the bands at that time (like The Chilli Peppers) suffered because of releases hitting the net first. ‘Sirens’ Call’ was one of the first illegally down loaded albums actually. A journalist we sent it to put it up and from there it was downloaded. We were in the studio for three years putting that album together which cost £700,000 to record and we got nothing back from it. So if you were to ask me if I'd want to do it again you can guess the answer, but you know I’ve said this before about the downloading and ultimately we all know it’s bad for the musician and bad for the music.
I imagine you’re not that impressed with the Fuc51 site and their mantra of "not looking back and being tied down by Manchester's musical past", what’s all that about?
Fuc51 was a personal attack and I found out who it was, which wasn't that difficult to find out. and told him "Don't do that again or I'll come round and punch you in the fuckin’ nose". Funny thing is that these people who go on the net and say these things and go to all that effort wont actually face you and talk it through, so I just told him straight.
I actually invited Fuc51 to four separate debates on this. I offered to set it up at my club, get the press in and even have a Q & A session as well, that type of thing. Like human beings with any self respect would do, but that coward turned me down four times and is probably more suited to hiding behind his keyboard. I'm not really into people who criticize but don’t offer any solution in its place, it’s weak.
I would’ve thought all Mancunians were proud of their musical history, Factory are still influential to the MCR music scene today...
We have a "New Band" nights every week at the club 251, my Hacienda label runs a label that has new bands on it. I like to think I'm using the past to create a future, that's all you can do isn't it?
You know there aren't many movements that's changed music itself. The Sex pistols playing MCR changed things, the Madchester movement, Hacienda days were ground breaking and changed the outlook of music massively. The way you did business, the way you looked at music and the way you played, I was part of that and I’m immensely proud of it, so with Factory it gives me the chance to give some thing back. When I eventually go to the great recording studio in the sky it would be great if people could look back and say "he did some thing fantastic", the same way the Pistols inspired me I'm hoping we can inspire others to go on and make some thing. For me that's what its all about.
Musically you've been busy as with the tour now, the releases last year with ‘Man Ray’ and ‘Tokyo Joe’ as well as putting the book together last year...
The releases like ‘Man Ray’ was for me in a way, more indulgent. I love old 88 acid house music and I've got a friend of mine called Phil Murphy who loves it as much as I do, and it gave us the chance to indulge in our passion. It’s great.
We’re doing a soundtrack to a Hacienda DVD that'll hopefully come out at Christmas, I’ve actually got CCTV footage of the Hacienda which will be used and making the soundtrack for it so it'll be like giving you that feel of being in the Hacienda round that time. That should give Fuc51 a laugh hey?
Though saying that I do have the yearning to make a new record but it’s finding the format of doing it and persuading yourself its a good idea. It’s not the money with these records but the time you know, locking your self away for six months and the effort that goes into it. But I'm quite happy and I'm having loads of things to do with the past and loads of things to do with the future.
Would you ever do something more commercial like Celebrity Coach Trip, which isn't too different to going on tour really...
I actually got offered Big Brother and passed it on to Bez, as I was having a tough time round then I thought he'd be better off with it than me. I would do Celebrity Coach Trip though as I think it's fuckin’ great, and Come Dine With Me. But you got to be careful with those programmes, like if you said a few years back Shaun Ryder was off into the jungle on reality TV you'd say, "Fuck off man, he's too cool for that", but he went into the jungle and came out as cool as he went in and that was just class. You know, I really hope if I ever went in there, I'd go in and come out just as cool as Shaun did.
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