Former The Cure Drummer Shares What Brought Ian Curtis’ Demise

Elif Ozden

In a recent conversation with NME, Lol Tolhurst reflected on the influence of gothic music in his life and shared his memories of meeting Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. The conversation revolved around his newly released book, ‘Goth: A History,’ but Tolhurst also gave insights into Curtis’ final days.

Within the pages of ‘Goth: A History,’ Tolhurst remembered the first time The Cure shared the stage with Joy Division at The Marquee. He then revealed a vivid memory of seeing Curtis, believing he foresaw the demise of the artist:

“That was the first time we played something seriously big at The Marquee. I do have an image I remember of him sitting on the chair and just looking very down. That was the one thing that stuck in my mind [vividly], and it wasn’t until later that I sort of put that together with what was happening.

Especially when I saw them at the end, I was like, ‘OK, something’s not good here, something’s not correct.’ I suddenly saw where the music was coming from: life imitating art. I could see where it was going.”

Ian Curtis passed away in 1980. Details of Curtis’s life, as previously reported, tell a story of challenges, both personally and professionally. He had deteriorating health due to epilepsy, coupled with personal struggles, including a deteriorating marriage and financial troubles.

One of the last reported incidents involving Curtis was his request to his then-wife Deborah to halt divorce proceedings on the evening of 17 May 1980. He then committed suicide the following day at the age of 23. Joy Division was on the brink of their debut North American tour, but Curtis’s untimely death signaled the end of the band.

Joy Division’s bassist, Peter Hook, revealed that despite the band’s rise to commercial success, Curtis died with no money to his name.

Tolhurst’s new book provides perspectives on the gothic scene while talking about the influence of artists like David Bowie, Joy Division, and Nine Inch Nails on the genre. Moreover, the book also gives readers a look at how gothic music played a role in Tolhurst’s life and his struggles with alcoholism, which ultimately led to his departure from The Cure in 1989.

Published by Quercus, Tolhurst’s ‘Goth: A History’ is now available for purchase. Besides, fans can look forward to the collaborative album ‘Los Angeles’ set to release on November 3, featuring Tolhurst alongside Budgie and Jacknife Lee.

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