Joy Division’s Peter Hook Says Ian Curtis Passed Away Penniless


Former Joy Division bassist Peter Hook answered WVMusic’s questions while revealing that his former bandmate Ian Curtis had no money or financial assets to his name during the time of his tragic death.

Commercial success found Joy Division relatively quickly, yet Ian Curtis’ unfortunate suicide at the age of 23 led to their disbandment. Ian attracted the spotlight with his melancholic lyrics and set the tone for what would be regarded as the ‘cult sound’ of Joy Division. Due to Curtis’ influence on the band, the frontman’s untimely suicide also brought the end of Joy Division.

The band’s short run made most people wonder what could have happened if Ian Curtis had lived, as the band was about to embark on a U.S. tour. When the WVMusic’s host directed this particular question to Peter Hook, the bassist discussed Joy Division’s dynamics and Ian Curtis’ financial well-being near the time of his death.

Hook described the band’s history as delicate and naive due to its short run. Joy Division was completely pure regarding the fact that there were no feuds within or outside the band. None of the members had released any solo work. The band was young and hadn’t encountered any legal issues or taken action against each other. Joy Division’s untimely dissolution left Hook with a sense of youth and naivety he could never regain.

The bassist explained:

“The wonderful thing about Joy Division is that there’s a purity to it because of the very short lifespan of the group. I mean, no one went off to do a solo LP. Nobody sued the others for publishing or trademark violation. So, there was a wonderful, young, naive purity to Joy Division that I know that I will never have again.”

Even though the band achieved early commercial success, Joy Division didn’t profit from their work. As Peter stated, the band’s purity was fun to recall, but the band had made many financial mistakes. The bassist explained that the band never gained financial success, and Ian had no money to his name at the time of his tragic death. As Hook exclaimed, the frontman had nothing when he was born and left this world in the same manner.

Peter Hook revealed:

“So, I’m delighted that I could look back on Joy Division in that way, even though we made a lot of mistakes. I mean, financially, when Joy Division was around, we never made any money from Joy Division. And Ian, he actually died penniless; he came into this world with nothing, and he went out of this world with nothing.”

The question of what would have happened if Ian Curtis had lived may haunt many Joy Division fans. Perhaps, the band would continue composing new music for years; or the members would depart the band one by one, leaving a bitter mark on the band’s youthful and pure spirit. Whatever could have happened, we may never know. Yet, Ian Curtis is still alive and breathing through his music even 42 years after his death.