Friday night musician blog
The third member of my unholy trinity of rabid New Order/Joy Division fans is here again this weekend to stay with us, and he and my boyfriend were recording themselves playing all damn afternoon, the results of which I currently get to listen to. Anyway, they started breaking into "Radio Transmission" by Joy Division, a song known to send me into reveries, and made me decide on who to blog about tonight.
As everyone knows, the lead singer of Joy Division, Ian Curtis, hung himself and that was the end of that band. And, just as famously, they got back together, put Bernard Sumner on the vocals and became the wildly popular New Order. Less famous is the fact that they had to add a band member to round out the sound, and they added a keyboardist named Gillian Gilbert. Gilbert is damn near the definition of the unsung back-up musician--she never reached for more than filling in, and her band mates from Joy Division get most of the credit for the New Order sound, and deservedly so. She's no longer with them, and I suppose it was easy enough to replace her.
But.... Joy Division was a punk rock band and New Order was one of the bands that ended up giving birth to the second wave of dance club music after disco that is called everything from the cloying "electronica" to "rave" to whatever the fuck you want to call it to sound cool. There were a number of reasons their sound evolved, but no small part of it was because they replaced a guitar with a keyboard and introduced "synthesized" sound to the mix. For all her modesty and shyness or whatever, Gilbert is an important member of one of the most popular and influential bands in history, and for that reason she should not fade into complete obscurity.