Articles/Interviews

Bernard Sumner interview September 2007

Interview

This interview with Bernard Sumner was conducted by Dave Haslam on 26th September 2007 at Bernard’s home, around the time the film ‘Control’ was about to be released, and some of it was used in an XFM podcast. It appears here for the first time in a raw, unedited form. Students, journalists etc; please acknowledge the source (www.davehaslam.com) of any quotes taken from here.

Could you tell me what was your reaction when you first saw the film ‘Control’?

I saw it at the Cornerhouse in town, and I remember going in with great trepidation really because it’s not really a bit of history that I kind of roll over in my head over and over again, you know, because it’s quite a painful period, obviously because of what happened to Ian; and you kind of think that some things are best left alone really, so it was with some trepidation that I went in to see it. But on the other hand I felt that I could trust Anton Corbijn who directed it, because we’d worked with him obviously in photo sessions and he actually did Joy Division’s first major photo session, so, you know, we knew him, we were in safe hands, so that kind of eased it a little bit. It was very emotional, you know, obviously because of what happened but I like the film, tremendously; I thought it was great, I thought it was very accurate and I just thought it was great at the end of it. I was really pleased. I think I said to Anton, “There’s nothing I don’t like about that film”.

And on a kind of personal level, is it weird seeing an actor being you? Did you focus on that actor at all?

No, not really no. You’re kind of used to being in the public eye from being a performer, so seeing yourself up there, someone portraying you, didn’t really faze me at all, no.

And in terms of the character of Ian, do you think that’s one of the things that’s accurately portrayed?

I’d say, yeah. I think Sam Riley’s portrayal of Ian is incredible strong. In fact, I don’t know how they got him to be so accurate, because there’s not that much footage about of Joy Division, and there are not that many interviews with Ian I don’t think. There’s very little footage, Joy Division footage. In fact I think that one of the great things about the film is that perhaps for you and me and people who know Joy Division, we’ve got a good picture of what they were like – of what we were like, you know – but for the younger generation of people, there’s not much footage, there’s no ‘Top Of The Pops’ footage that gets shown on ‘Top Of The Pops 2′ or anything to go back on so they’re a bit of a mystery really. And I think the great thing about the film is that they’ve done it so accurately and the songs are portrayed so well that it brings the group back to life again, and shows you how great the music was and how great the performances were, because it’s such an accurate rendition.

One of the things also about the film is that it reminds everyone how young you all were at the time, I mean looking back there was a lot of stuff for young people to have to deal with.

Yeah, well, it didn’t seem it at the time. I think I was 21; at the time I distinctly remember thinking ‘this is too old to be in a group, what am I doing joining a group at my age?!’ and now that seems ridiculous, you know. But I do distinctly remember that feeling; how wrong I was. No, we were very young…

When I look back at the music of Joy Division, I think “Well, how can a group of people so young make music that’s so heavy and deep?” and here I am, now, and I don’t make music that’s as heavy and deep now as I did when was at that age, so it’s a bit of a puzzle really. But thinking about it as I have done over the years I think part of it was a reaction to what was being played on the radio every day in those days; it was kind of really straight music, it was horrible, it was like The Sweet and Jonathan King and Neil Sedaka, ugh, We were hearing all this on Radio 1 and just going “This sucks” and no-one’s listening to this. I didn’t know anyone that listened to that kind of music, and the school that I went to – Salford Grammar School – there was a big culture of music there. I suppose kids today go in and talk about the latest computer game but to us it was music and we brought records in – even if you couldn’t play them you just brought them in to show people the sleeves – and so I had that musical culture instilled in me. So part of it was a reaction against what they were playing on mainstream radio really, it was a reaction against what I was hearing – I thought it was crap and all the kids at school thought it was crap – so well, where do you get the music you want to hear, well, you buy it in record shops or you make it yourself.

Also, around that time there was also a sense of adventure in music, there was almost a kind of intellectual adventure in the sense that through music you discovered Andy Warhol or weird foreign films and it opened up a hidden world for you, didn’t it?

Yeah, I think that was an important thing in music; there was a sense of lifting the lids off things and finding out for yourself, because radio and television didn’t provide it – they may have hinted at it but they didn’t provide it – and a friend would go out and buy some obscure record, in Rare Records in town and go ‘Have you heard this by a group called The Velvet Underground?’ ‘Oh right, where they from?’ ‘New York’ ‘Oh right, never heard of it before’ and you’d play it and there was a sense of self discovery.

But saying that, I don’t think the culture’s there for that now in schools because now there are two thousand television channels and every computer game under the sun and every time you go in a shop you hear music being played and I think to a certain extent it’s overplayed now; there’s not that sense of discovery there, I think so anyway.

But another thing is – going back to your original question – the music was so heavy because I think we’d all had pretty heavy lives growing up; I did, growing up in Salford. I had quite a difficult time with illness within my family and people dying in the family when I was very young and bad things happening, and I know that Hooky had a few problems, and it was quite tough growing up really and I suppose we grew up young because of that, grew up early; in a way we did, but in another way the group was our island so we didn’t have to grow up, we could be eternal adolescents, you know.

So there was a kind of reservoir of maybe sadness or anger that you were also drawing upon in the band then?

Yeah, definitely for me, I mean without going back into my family history, it was difficult you know, and also what had a big effect on me was that I lived in Salford and the whole community at one stage was just devastated by the council – the council just bought the area and moved everyone out into high rise flats and just broke the community up. So the whole community that I had grown up with since I was twelve years old had all just been basically wiped out, so there was a sense of loss there. Plus I had people dying very early on in my family and I was getting a personal sense of loss from that; so I was a bit devastated on an emotional level by the time that I joined Joy Division so I guess that’s reflected in the music, along with this reaction to ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ and all the stuff that they were playing on the radio – the two combined to make the music of Joy Division very heavy. For me, from my point of view. Obviously Ian had his problems which were documented in the film.

So you didn’t discuss the lyrics that Ian was singing?

I remember on two occasions someone brought in a copy of ‘The Idiot’ or ‘Lust For Life’ – one of those albums – and someone brought in ‘Seven and Seven is’ by Love and we attempted to play them and couldn’t because they were too technically difficult for us! So we went right, ok let’s play something like that – that was probably the only time we discussed music.

The reason being is that we didn’t really know what we were doing, we didn’t really know how to do it but we knew that when we sat down in a room together it just happened, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We just knew that if we sat down in a room together, and started playing, then these songs would just happen. So we didn’t have to analyse it; in fact I think that if we ever did to try to analyse what we did, then it would stop working, we wouldn’t be able to write a song for about a week, so we’d just leave it alone, just let it happen, let it have its own spontaneous growth and the same applied for Ian’s lyrics.

It felt a bit personal, it was like reading someone’s letters, listening to Ian’s lyrics – I know it sounds bizarre now, but there was no interaction between us, even on stage – if you do get any old footage of Joy Division watch them, there’s no interaction between the band – we’re not smiling and winking at each other like Spandau Ballet used to, we just ignored each other (laughs). And it seems bizarre to me now, there’s no eye contact or anything, and that’s not because we weren’t getting on – we got on really well in those days – it’s just the way we were.

One of the famous things that Rob Gretton when he first met us was really shocked by was – he met us at a rehearsal room and I’d forgotten to tell the rest of the band that he was coming down, so we were rehearsing away and then one by one they came over to me and said “Who’s that bloke sat in the corner?’ and I was like “Ahhh… I forgot to tell you – he wants to manage us” and so when it sunk in we all went out to the pub – and Rob was really shocked that we didn’t buy each other rounds, we just went to the bar and just bought our own drinks, think that was a Salford thing that! And no one bought him a drink, and he said he thought we were trying to freeze him out because no one would buy him a drink, you know. ‘No no we just buy our own drinks, we don’t buy rounds, you know’.

And talking about the live performance, obviously Ian was giving it whatever – 110, 115 percent for the live performance, and as a fan and as a punter it was a bit scary watching that; was it a bit scary, being there on stage and seeing that performance unfold?

Yeah, sometimes it got more over the top than others, I remember we played at Rafters and he actually ripped the stage apart – the stage was made of plywood boards and he actually managed to prise them up with his fingernails, he ripped them up and then threw them like boomerangs at the audience, you know, that was scary because he might have chopped someone’s head off, I think he was a bit upset that night over something. I guess we just kind of took it for granted that that was Ian; very quiet and polite in rehearsals and good fun, a good laugh, a good sense of humour and then in concert he turned into the ‘wild man of rock’. I don’t know; he was just manic personality and he always talked about having a manic element in the music, he was a man of extremes, he always wanted our music to be extreme, so I guess that was his attitude towards performance.

But I don’t think it was performance, I think he just got totally lost, almost hypnotised, by the music, in fact I’ve seen him hypnotised by the music properly, I mean you’ve seen how he dances to the music – I’ve seen him dance like that and not be able to stop and we’ve had to stop him, so I guess it was a form of being hypnotized by the rhythm. It’s a bit like a dervish getting lost in whirling round; Ian was the same – he seemed to get into a… not a trance, that’s too heavy a word, he was just totally into the music, you know, but in a strange way really. Don’t know, I can’t explain it really but he seemed to get lost in it completely.

And Debbie talks about, in her book, how the dance and the seizures became somehow related?

Yeah, the dancing started giving him seizures. I remember we supported The Stranglers somewhere in London and I think we were playing ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ and he was dancing away and we stopped but he carried on, and eventually he just crashed into the drums and knocked Steve’s drum kit over and the band had to physically haul him off stage; he was having a fit and we had to carry him through all the liggers and hangers-on backstage – “Ugh what’s the matter with him?” – and he would be writhing and we’d take him in the dressing room and pin him down and stop him hurting himself and then bang, he’d come out of it and then he’d be in tears, really upset that this had happened to him, which I can understand fully. He didn’t start with it in the group, it came on all of a sudden one night; he didn’t have epilepsy when he joined Joy Division. I don’t know how far into our career it was, but I would guess to say that, Joy Division lasted for all of four years and it was the fourth year. I think I’m right in saying that; Steve would probably know better, he’s better at dates than me.

You did a gig in London and it was the drive back…

We were just driving back from a gig at the Hope and Anchor in London and it was a bit of a disappointment really because not many people turned up; I think four people, and famously a dog, turned up. I was really ill with vomiting and diarrhoea in the morning and I didn’t want to go and they dragged me out of bed, but I noticed that Ian was in a worse mood than I was! And this was in the morning leaving Manchester, and we drove down to London, did this gig which was pretty crap, drove back up and as we got past Luton – by this time we’d been for something to eat after the gig so it was about 1 o’clock in the morning – Ian just grabbed the sleeping bag that I had on me, so I was like “Give me that fucking sleeping bag” and we start wrestling over it, and I pull it over me and turn round and he’d pull it back and I’d pull it over me and he’d pull it back, and he just started making this horrible noise, and then he started lashing out. He was sat in the front; I was sat behind Steve who was driving and Rob was sat to the left of me and I think Hooky was in a van with the gear, separate, I’m not sure about that. And Ian just started lashing out in the car, started punching the windscreen and I think Steve got clocked one in his ear or cheek or something, so Steve pulled over on the hard shoulder and dragged Ian out of the car and pinned him down and he’d obviously had a fit. And that was it, that was the first time. Took him to a hospital in Luton and they just said “You better go and see your doctor when you get home”.

And the medication he was on; clearly the doctor was being a bit random…

Well, I remember shortly after he’d seen the doctor he had this regime, this pillbox with five different kinds of pills in it, which seemed quite interesting at first! But after seeing what it did to Ian, I think it was a bit of a Russian Roulette kind of approach from the doctors in those days. The sad thing was that Ian didn’t get a mild form of epilepsy, epilepsy these days is a pretty controllable illness I think, but Ian had it very, very severely straight away, and he had these regime of pills. I know some of them were barbiturates and it just changed his personality; not overnight, but in the space of a few days, and he’d be laughing one minute and weeping the next – or close to it, you know. It gave him mood swings, basically and didn’t seem to control his epilepsy. What seemed to give him epileptic fits was stress and obviously flashing lights and strong heavy rhythms – he wasn’t in the ideal job.

When Annik arrived on the scene, obviously that’s kind of an important part in the film and so on but did you go “Uh oh, this is going to be trouble” or…

I think Rob did. I think Rob kept calling them “John Lennon and Yoko Ono” you know, dead funny, and she and Ian got a bit of grief from the rest of the band when we were recording ‘Closer’ and she came to stay in the flat. We had this set-up in London where we had two flats – one on the left and one on the right – I was sleeping in the lounge and Ian and Annik were sleeping in one of the bedrooms, and in the other flat Hooky, Rob and Steve were sleeping and they used to play practical jokes on Ian all the time, like put cornflakes in his bed; there was a bit of needle, I felt, that was unnecessary you know, like she was a vegetarian and Ian had suddenly become a vegetarian. Well he changed you know, and I don’t think this went down too well with the lads – “What you doing?” – and there was a bit of that that I thought was unfair, bit of taking the piss, bit harsh on him I thought, bit unnecessary. I mean, it was supposed to be jokey, but it was a little bit malevolent I thought.

And from what I’ve read, seems like his relationship with Annik was almost sort of childlike, sort of a bit desperate, it’s not like a rockstar with a groupie…

It was nothing like that, it was nothing like a rockstar with a groupie – and I know every rockstar who’s ever copped off with a groupie will say ‘oh it’s wasn’t like that, wasn’t like that, no’. Yeah, I think it was on an emotional, intellectual level – and if it wasn’t I would tell you – yeah I think it was quite a tender relationship. I don’t think he was that physical a guy, he wasn’t a complete filthy bastard like some people in groups are, and he never went with groupies; not that I know of! He wasn’t that kind of guy, he wasn’t a flirty guy and he didn’t really chase women around, you know like some other people in bands do. So I’ve heard! He wasn’t that kind of guy, so I think it was an emotional intellectual relationship that he had with her.

In the film, he gravitates a little bit towards you personally Bernard; there’s kind of a connection there, was that something you were aware of at the time?

God, it’s hard to remember after all this time. I mean, Ian stayed with me just before he died; he stayed with me for 2 weeks just before he died, and like I say, we stayed in the same flat in London. He was interested in some of the weirder things that I was interested in on that level; I was interested in hypnosis and Ian was, and we would talk about psychology and things like that, on that kind of level where perhaps the others didn’t. I guess that we might have had chats on a deeper level that he felt that he could with Rob and Hooky – maybe he did with Steve, I don’t know – but we used to talk about psychology and hypnotism and things like that, and with Rob and Hooky it was more football and birds. Don’t know, perhaps, I don’t know. But he was pretty friendly with everybody in the band.

In that final time, I’ve read about Vini Reilly talking about the situation and saying when he got the phone call saying Ian had died he wasn’t surprised.

No, I was very surprised. Even though he’d tried to commit suicide once before. The first warning signs I guess, looking back at it, was he turned up at rehearsals one day – the rehearsal room in Cheetham Hill where you came Dave – and he said “Look what happened last night” and they were late or something – him and Steve came from Macclesfield, Steve used to give him a lift down, Ian and Steve turned up late and Ian said “Sorry I’m late, something weird happened last night” and he said “Look at this” and took his shirt off and he was covered in knife marks, horizontal, on his arms, quite deep scars, and we said “What happened?” and I think – check this out with Steve – but I think he said he was reading the Bible and “I just woke up in the morning, I must have blacked out and I woke up in the morning covered in these marks, I don’t understand it”.

I guess that was the first warning sign. The next thing is we get a phonecall to say – I think it was quite a bit later, maybe a couple of months later- that Ian had tried to commit suicide. We knew then that Ian was having terrible difficulties over guilt over his affair with Annik and having Debbie as a young wife and a baby as well. And also his epilepsy was affecting him; he couldn’t pick the baby up in case he had a fit so he couldn’t pick his own child up, and it made him feel very guilty, and all these things were going through his head. I mean he was like 22 or something; I think if it happened now he could deal with it but at that age everything was too early for him, he was too young.

So we got the phone call saying that Ian had tried to commit suicide; he’d taken an overdose of pills and drank half a bottle of whiskey so alarm bells went off. And he was in a psychiatric hospital, I think in Macclesfield; Tony and Rob went to see him and everyone was in complete shock, obviously.

And a stupid thing happened. We had a gig coming up in Bury, I think it was, and either Rob or Tony – I’ve got a feeling it might have been Rob – talked him into “The best thing to do is not to dwell on it, just carry on as normal, do you want to do the gig?” and Ian’s like “Yeah, let’s do it, let’s do it” and we did this gig in Bury and he actually had to come out of psychiatric hospital to do the gig and he couldn’t do the full gig; he was a quivering wreck really. He couldn’t do full songs; he’d do like a song and come off and someone else would have to go on, and eventually there was a huge riot with fisticuffs and bottles flying and people getting their heads cut open and our gear getting trashed and the band fighting the audience, you know. But of course audience didn’t know what was going on with Ian, no one made an announcement “Ian’s really ill, you’ll have to bear with it lads or get you money back at the door”, so it all kicked off royal. And then there was people coming in the dressing room like one of the roadies and his head was all cut up and blood down his shirt and people were getting rushed off to hospital and Ian was like “Oh God it’s all my fault” so he went under again, you know.

So we decided that the best thing for him then was to have a quiet time, just to stop everything, just to have a quiet time, so he actually went to stay with Tony first of all, but Tony was having, shall we say an argumentative time, with one of his wives, or not getting on the best with her. So then he went into an environment where he wasn’t arguing with Debbie but Tony was arguing with his wife and again it turned out to be a bit stressful, so in the end he ended up staying at my place. I was arguing with my wife at the time! Yeah, everyone was arguing… I forgot where I was going with that…

Despite all that, when the call came you were surprised?

So, yeah; he tried to commit suicide and we were really shocked and everyone was really worried about him. I got talking to him when he stayed at mine and I remember coming back from rehearsals once, for some reason we went on the bus, and we walked through Peel Green cemetery because I lived in Peel Green near Eccles then, and we walked through the cemetery and I said to him – I thought this is a good chance to talk to him – and I said ‘What were you thinking? This could have been your name on one of these headstones here’. And he said ‘Well, the only reason I didn’t go through with it was that I didn’t have enough of the tablets and I thought I might give myself brain damage and survive it, so that’s why I called for an ambulance’. (sighs)

And then I sat down with him when we got home and just talked to him about it and tried to give him a more positive outlook. He was the sort of guy who would agree with what you were saying and go ‘Yeah, yeah’ but he’d have his own agenda – you wouldn’t change that agenda, I think that’s what happened. He stayed with me for two weeks, and we used to stay up ’til 4 o’clock in the morning talking about history and talking about various things – music, playing a lot of music, as you do. Then we were due to go to America – on a Monday I think the flight was going out – and he actually said in the last week before we went to America, he went ‘Well I’m going to move out now, I’m going to go and stay with my Mum and Dad’ – I think his Dad was still alive, so I said alright yeah, and he moved into his Mum’s.

We used to go into Manchester for a game of pool and a drink – some pub in Spring Gardens, don’t know which it was – with this loony mate that I had; we used to go out and play pool, and I think it was Friday night and we were due to go out for a game and he phoned up and said “Listen, I’ve decided to go and see Debbie, I’m not going to be able to make it, I just want to sort things out before we go to America” and I said “Well yeah fine, I’m going to go to Blackpool to see Section 25 tomorrow anyway so I don’t want a late night, I’ll see you at the airport Monday”, and he was like “Yeah great, can’t wait, dead excited” and he’d gone out and bought clothes, new shoes and jeans to take to America.

I went over to Section 25′s place and we spent the day outside because it was a really nice day and the phone went and it was Rob and he just said “Ian’s committed suicide” and it didn’t sink in and I said “What, he’s tried it again?” and he said “No, he has” and I said “Yeah he’s tried it again?” and he said “No he’s not tried it, he’s done it, he’s dead”. I don’t know if I was fainting but it was like the whole room turned upside down, and it just hit me like an express train – it was a huge, huge shock.

I did think that it was a cry for help the first time and that we’d all done our best to talk him out of it and perhaps because we were going to America he was looking at life with a more positive attitude. But he was in a strange frame of mind those last few weeks, it was like he had to make a decision between Debbie and Annik – and perhaps between the group, and a more sedentary lifestyle, doing something else – and he didn’t want to make any of those decisions; he wanted someone to tell him what to do and he would have done it. If I had said ‘Ian, you want to stay with Annik and get rid of Debbie’, he would have done it I’m sure, if that’s what we had advised him. But you can’t do things like that – obviously it has to be a personal decision – but he was in a strange frame of mind, he just wanted someone to tell him what to do and I’ve never understood that…

When we were recording ‘Closer’ – because we used to stay up late talking – I remember he was telling me that normally to write lyrics took two or three days, but these the songs were writing themselves; he had a feeling that everything was wrapping itself up, that everything was wrapping up to an ending.

I think he was an explosive personality; he was in a fragile frame of mind coupled with his extremely explosive personality – he wasn’t a violent guy by any means and he was really polite and nice, but his way of dealing with stuff would be to get really angry, and he would get this enormous energy from this anger and he’d use that energy to deal with whatever the problem was, and that kind of technique just doesn’t work with relationships and I think that was his Achilles heel.

The weird thing is how some of the lyrics predict in a way that frame of mind, even early on in ‘Digital’, ‘Unknown Pleasures’ I want to take you by the hand – that potential seems to have been there and that’s kind of the weird thing about it is that what happened validate the songs.

Well, from his lyrics you would think these are the writings of a person who is incredibly lost but he didn’t come across as that; and that’s why it was a surprise, he came across as just like the rest of us. He had his moments of deep thought, like we all do, but for the majority of the time he was a fun, laughy, jokey person, when he didn’t have the barbiturates.

He loved the group, he was getting what he wanted – maybe that was part of the problem, that he didn’t expect to get what he wanted – and he had this enormous charisma and people just couldn’t take their eyes off him on stage. In the early days we couldn’t get a gig anywhere, and we had some little tinpot agent on Princess Street who’d get us a working man’s club in Huddersfield – “The only drawback lads is that it’ll cost you five pounds to play there” – and we’d do it, just to get the experience. Like we crashed the Ranch, the punk club in Manchester; we just went in, we just pulled up in a van outside, and everyone grabbed an amp, ran in, found a socket to plug it in and we played an impromptu gig before the bouncers could stop us. We’d do anything to play.

So he was really eager and enthusiastic to do it, but I don’t know, perhaps the epilepsy changed all that. And I guess he was thinking, “How can I get over this one?”. Er, maybe he felt that that had cut his life off anyway, because it was so extreme, that the epilepsy was stopping him from fulfilling his destiny anyway, that a giant roadblock had come down on his future with the group, because he did question it sometimes, we did – how is this going to carry on if he’s this ill? That was when we were a burgeoning cult group, and when it was New Order – we eventually went from playing to a 1000 people a night, small club gigs to 25,000 a night – I remember thinking ‘Bleeding hell, I never thought it would end up like this, it’s like being a proper rock star this’ and it would catch you off your balance so to speak. You’re suddenly in a different level, and there’s suddenly different requirements upon you from the audience and from the record company and from the promotions department – ‘meet and greet’ and all that kind of thing, suddenly it’s a different world; I’m not in a small cult group now where I can do whatever the fuck I want to do, if some guy from the record shop comes in and he’s obnoxious I can just throw him out, you can’t do that anymore. I remember when with New Order we got signed to Warner Brother and were doing our first tour of America and we played in Boston, and we used to play for 25 minutes and just go off, not do an encore, because we got bored of watching groups after 25 minutes, or half an hour or summat, you know, and we thought that was normal. And unbeknownst to us a riot kicked off in the auditorium and people smashed the auditorium up, none of the roadies came and told us and the first we heard about it was when the police turned up at the dressing room, so the next morning I get a phone call from the president of Warner Brothers saying ‘Hey guys, you can’t do this over here, what happened? Why was there a riot?’ I was like ‘Oh right, different rules now,’ and I think that things would have been very tough for Ian. If they were tough then they would have got really tough.

So I don’t know if Joy Division had carried on and Ian hadn’t committed suicide, I think I would have had a shorter career, amazingly, because I think it would have come to the point where Ian would have not been fit enough to play. Or common sense would have overtook him or us and gone ‘look you can’t do this, you’re making him really ill’ so in a strange way, I just think he wouldn’t have been able to carry on, and I think he would have become a writer; that’s what he would have done, he would have become a writer because he was very interested in writing and books.

Just finally, when you began in New Order, among the songs you did in the early sets were ‘Ceremony’ and ‘In a Lonely Place’ which were kind of Ian’s songs, it must have been mindblowing for you personally to get up on stage. I mean it was mindblowing enough to be in the audience, I remember a gig at the Comanche Centre, that place on Hathersage Road – quite an early New Order gig – and you played both those songs and it was you singing Ian’s lyrics.

Yeah, well, we played those songs because we wrote them the week before he died, or the week before the week he died, and we wrote them to cheer him up – ‘In a Lonely Place’! We just carried on writing, I think the whole vibe was ‘let’s carry on as normal, don’t let him fall into this black hole again’ so it was creative therapy; we’d write a couple of songs. So we wrote those songs, we just wrote them in the rehearsal room, we had the worst cassette player ever, I remember after Ian dying we were like ‘Well at least we’ve got those two songs, we’d gone to the effort of writing them let’s use them’. So we had to get this cassette out, which was the only record we had of the songs and put it through a graphic equalizer and try and decipher Ian’s lyrics; they’re probably not very accurate but we felt they were good songs. And we felt those two songs was a parting gesture that Ian had left us – to start the next phase of our career.

It was very strange starting up again. We didn’t really know what to do as we weren’t expect this to happen, so it was an enormous shock. How do you make it work without Ian? And we didn’t know what to do at first, but I don’t think there was ever a question of not carrying on, we just didn’t know who was going to sing. It felt too cold and calculated to get someone else in; I was approached by a couple of people, I remember, but it just felt too calculated and cold and it wasn’t the way we did things, you couldn’t just replace him with someone else.