I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Joy Devotion Spotlight- The insanely cool Mark Seaman of Revolutions Brewing Company
July 18, 2016
I first spoke to Mark Seaman in 2012. As a scholar of Joy Division, I have google alerts set up to pick up on any new things that are being reported about the band. As there is always a myriad of strange and wacky meldings of the band onto a variety of brands, I was not surprised to see that an independent brewing company had made a beer in homage to Joy Division. I got touch as I was about to have an art opening of my pictures taken over the course of a year at Ian's grave in Macclesfield. My cold call was greeted with kindness and enthusiasm by Mark, one of the company's proprietors. One of the many things that are so unique and fabulous about Revolutions is their celebration of favorite rock bands and moments, which they pay homage to in special limited edition beers- such as Unknown Pleasures beer that I had read about. Mark went on to supply my opening with a bunch of amazing, yummy brews which got snapped up instantly. We had not talked in a couple years, but when it came time to find some interesting contributors to Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture, Mark was on top of my list of people to hit up. Since re-connecting, I have gabbed with Mark on many occasions, and he generously created a bespoke Joy Devotion beer for the London book Launch. Below is his quickie interview about the band and the book. Make sure to check out Revolutions Brewing Company, follow them on Twitter @RevolutionsBrew, and support local independent craftsman. AND they support the Dogs Trust. Could there be a cooler company? If you are looking for a great beer, a great company and a truly worthy group of folks to work with on a project, look no further.
What does Joy Division mean to you?
They mean a lot! Are they my favourite band? One of those impossible, crazy questions that is impossible to answer. On some days, nothing but Unknown Pleasures will do. On others I want the driving rock of Queens of the Stone Age, the brilliance of a Siouxsie & the Banshees album, the genius of Radiohead or the promise and vibrancy of Wild Beasts - but knowing I can go to Unknown Pleasures or Closer anytime I want is a great joy. I go to savour those great bass hooks (pun intended), those dark and mysterious lyrics and Ian's unique vocals. The music of Joy Division never fails to stir the blood one way or another and we are all richer for having the music at our fingertips.
Why are they still cultural provocateurs 30 + years on?
As you get older, it's impossible to avoid the feeling that you've seen (or heard) many things before. Undoubtedly, the influence of the Joy Division sound runs through much of subsequent indie / alternative music. Perhaps it's cynical to listen to some new raved about band and think “jeez, those guys must have had Closer on repeat in the recording studio”, but that is the nature of influence I guess. Of course a great proportion of JD members are still entertaining us and influencing current and future generations with the legendary New Order, for which we can all be thankful. However, it's Joy Division were celebrating and their continuing influence on popular culture. My own brewery has made a beer named Unknown Pleasures, English cricket fans sung “Swann will tear you apart again” to Aussie fans as Graeme Swann bowled them to victory and Manchester United fans used the same song in a similar vein regarding Ryan Giggs in his heyday, but the enduring appeal of JD struck me again just last week at an event in our bar. I was introduced to a young woman and remarked favourably on her t-shirt, sporting as it did the familiar Unknown Pleasures pulsar graphic. She went on to explain that although she loved the music, this shirt was actually in support of her favourite dog breed, revealing that the shirt actually read “Pug Division”!
Favourite JD song and why?
Again – a very difficult question, but on this occasion I DO have a definitive answer. There are so many great tracks, I always enjoy a “dance, dance, dance to the radio” via Transmission. Dead Souls, Atrocity Exhibition and New Dawn Fades are guaranteed to raise my mood, but the greatest Joy Division song for me is She's Lost Control – it gets my old bones twitching. Sadly I never saw Joy Division live, but seeing and hearing Peter Hook & the Light play She's Lost Control nearly blew my mind (and dislocated a hip!)