Joy Division’s Peter Hook Shares The Greatest Tragedy Of Ian Curtis’ Passing

Joy Division bassist Peter Hook opened up to Guardian about his childhood, his Haçienda times, and the terms he came about losing Ian Curtis, the band’s lead vocalist. The bassist explained the acceptance he felt toward the matter:

“I’m at peace with Ian Curtis. I have an oil painting of him on my wall. I visit him whenever I pass the cemetery. I used to hold his tongue when he was having epileptic fits. You don’t forget something like that. I was thinking about him the other day, about how in the days before he killed himself, he was giving all his stuff away. But they say that’s what people do when they’re going to kill themselves.”

Peter also shared his opinion on the actual tragedy in Curtis’ suicide:

“The tragedy of Ian isn’t the music he didn’t make, but that he didn’t get to be a father to his daughter.”

Ian Curtis’ daughter Natalie Curtis talked about her involvement in Anton Corbijn’s ‘Control,’ 2007 movie based on Ian Curtis’ life. She mentioned the first time she listened to Joy Division’s 1980 album ‘Control:’

“The first time I heard their album Closer, I thought it was out of this world. I assumed all music was done with that level of style and intelligence. As I grew older, it was a shock to discover not everything was that amazing.”

She also shared her opinions, and feelings about her father’s suicide, stating she approaches the matter with empathy:

“There was more of a stigma attached to being epileptic then and people were a lot less well informed. My father also suffered from mood swings and depression. You read about mental health services being cut now, but God knows what it must have been like in the late 70s. There were loads of side-effects to his medication. It’s likely that the epilepsy and the medication would have exacerbated the depression, although there was no provision for dealing with this.

People constantly ask, ‘Why did he kill himself?’ To me it seems obvious – because he was really depressed. Bernard [Sumner, Joy Division guitarist] told me that my father used to drink before performing, which may explain his on-stage fits, because alcohol is a seizure trigger. I’ve never really felt angry at my father for committing suicide, nor was I emotional about it all being brought up in the film because it’s been there every day for me, although I’ve not had a tortured life.”

Peter Hook released ‘Peter Hook Presents: Dream EP (Joy Division Orchestrated’ in 2021. You can check out the album here.