In May peter Hook will be covering ‘Still’ the closing Joy Division album. it’s an ambitious idea considering the diversity of material on the record and it’s emotional position in the band’s brief canyon.
The New Order story is now so rife with controversy with a court case and obvious anger on both sides that it is beginning to over shadow the music.
In one corner are the rump New Order, reformed with three original members who are working the festival circuit this summer with a replacement for the iconic bassman Peter Hook, whilst Hook himself has been working his way through the Joy Division back catalogue, continuing his journey though his own back pages with a performance of Joy Division’s 1981 album ”ËStill’ on Friday 18th May & Saturday 19th May 2012 at The Factory in Manchester In Association With Mind And Forever Manchester.
‘Still’ is a curious album to cover- one album is a collection of outtakes and unreleased or lesser heard tracks while the second album is a live recording of Joy Divisions’ last ever concert at High Hall, Birmingham on 2nd May 1980.
At the May concert Hooky and The Light are to perform each disc separately, first the studio recording and then replicate the final ever Joy Division concert in a double header which has been long awaited and anticipated by fans and devotees of the band.
It’s been a bruising few months for the bass Viking. The New Order reformation with the rest of the band minus Hook looks like ending up in court, whilst Hook himself has delivered some great gigs to ecstatic reaction from the fans and mixed reviews from the critics. On paper it should be stressful but he brushes it all off with his gruff northern humour and bluff straight talking that he is famous for.
Who’s that, you come up as unknown?
An Unknown Pleasure maybe”Â¦?
‘Ok, Ok very funny’
So you are now moving onto the ”ËStill’ album, a complex album to cover”Â¦
”ËI’ve just been listening to the album and it’s amazing how youthful and fast the songs are. If that was a tape machine you would say fucking hell it’s playing fast but it was actually the band. We were high on life then and at 23 like that’s how you are. This will be the last Manchester gig of Joy Division material- I won’t play it anywhere after this.
It’s the end of a project that’s been an interesting one. I was only going to play Joy Division once when it started but people kept asking me to play so we kept playing. Because if you’re a musician what else are you supposed to do (laughs). After the first gig I got the offer from Clermont Ferrand and I had to play there because I remembered it from school because it was the twin city of Salford and they promised me the freedom of the city, which was good for someone from Salford.’
I always wondered what you got with the freedom of a city
”ËYou can ride through the town’s quarters on a pig, you can have as much fresh fish as you like- stuff like that (laughs), it’s quite a feudal thing but quite a compliment.’
Riding into town on pig- something of the New order situation there”Â¦
”ËThe situation has got quite weird really. When I first announced I was going to do the project Bernard and Stephen commented that I shouldn’t be doing it. And yet when I did in Buxton on Saturday it was sold out, I played the two LPs and a bit of Movement as well, it was fucking great. I was looking out at the audience and thinking why should they want to stop this, people were having such a great time. With the current situation with me and the band, it’s odd if you read the recent Manchester Evening News story, it sounds like I’m trying to stop them from doing New Order which isn’t what I’m saying. I’m not trying to stop them doing it. It’s not the use of the name that is the dodgy bit, if I was going out as Joy Division they could say you shouldn’t be doing that but anybody can play the music. Lots of bands play the music- Joy Davidson, Re-order, New Order, New Odour (laughs), there’s loads of bands playing the music.
It’s not the songs, my issue with New Order is that they are using the name to profit from and have written me out business wise and that’s what people don’t understand. They think I’m the miserable cunt but that’s not the full story. The New Order name has a value because, correct me if I’m wrong but Bad Lieutenant didn’t headline many festivals and they were playing the same tracks.’
It’s a tricky situation and both sides feel they are in the right.
”ËTheir thing is ”Ëyou left and you’re not entitled to anything.’ So it looks like we are going to court to sort this all out..’
Not much chance of reforming then!
”ËWell I think we all know there is zero chance of that happening! We all know that time is a great healer and all that but we have not sorted this bit out yet. It’s like a divorcÃÂ©, you watch people’s divorces and they drag on as they hurt themselves and argue and throw away all the they were trying to keep! I suppose the situation with the band is like when an irresistible object meets an immoveable force”Â¦
And time is running out”Â¦
”ËWhen I was thinking about doing Still I was thinking that at 50 odd, how long have you got left and I was thinking wouldn’t it be great to play every song you have written before you retire and with doing Still I would have done every single Joy Division track again.
I was listening to the CD and it’s such a great live set from High Wycombe because of the care and attention we put into writing things in those days. I remember slaving over the album when we were literally trying to rid of everything to do with Joy Division when we were getting ready to launch New Order- it’s like the weird process you do when someone dies, on one hand you want to remember them and on the other you want to tidy them away to get on with you life and it’s a really confusing emotional time with grief.
I remember doing ‘Still’ with Rob and Tony and the rest of the band and saying we will put everything on it and then it’s over, so for me doing it now it is a strange feeling.
It’s strange how the past can be the present”Â¦
”ËIn Buxton on Saturday we played for two hours- it’s the longest I have been on stage ever and it was great. It was interesting to incorporate a bit of ”ËMovement’ into the set as well, I think ”ËCloser’ and ‘Movement’ go really well together- the songs sounded really good together and I never expected that, the musical lineage runs very strongly through it.’
Now you finished Joy Division do you start with New Order next?
‘I am actually sad that I got to the end of Joy Division, maybe I could start with New Order, which could be interesting”Â¦’
Maybe cover all the side projects!
”ËThere’s no point in playing it to some bloke and his dog like if I did Revenge again! It’s quite odd when I listen the various incarnations and maybe it’s not all Blue Mondays or True Faiths but they all mean something to you, most of them remind you of a nice period or a nice person that you had in mind- even some of the songs from Revenge- I’m very fond of them like ”Ë7 Reasons’ but could you play them live? It’s tough to win an audience- they do decide whether you live or die. I’ve been very heartened by the support I’ve been given by the New Order fans- all Bernard’s gigs have sold out, thanks a lot! (laughs).’
It’s tricky for fans to take sides”Â¦
”ËIt’s like in a divorce you don’t know who to support, the truth is that Bernard did a very interesting article forAu.com in Australia where he actually says people don’t care who’s in the band and to some extent he is right. It’s about the songs.
With all the band reforming now, like the Roses, people just want to get back to 1989, everyone talks about getting back to the magic or having never been there and wanting to feel it. The expectation for it is fantastic, they all think they will be transported back to Spike Island and the hazy, carefree days of the summer of 1989! But when you go back it’s just the same, it’s just super nostalgic escapism.
We did a gig in Warsaw lat week and I’ve never been to Poland apart from when I picked up an award for Martin Hannett.
It was interesting to be in a band that was once called Warsaw and actually play in Warsaw. There were 1200 people there and the crowd was fantastic, really young, I was looking at them thinking when I play the songs to young kids they don’t feel like 30 year old songs.’
Classic music cuts through generations.
”ËAnd so it should, like when I listen to Led Zeppelin 2 and Led Zeppelin 3, they are fantastic albums and sound fantastic. I suppose I’ve joined that club of timeless records, when it’s your own record you have a different regard for it, you think that we never deserved it, it’s some kind of humble, weird thing, like someone is going to shout to you, ”Ëget back to fucking work’, I’ve always had that feeling”Â¦’
What does you feel about Joy Division now?
”ËThe amount of time we were together was so small. When I finished the Joy Division book that I have been writing recently, I looked at the timeline from Pips to when Ian dies and it’s a very short period of time.
I thought Mickey Mouse T shirt was quite interesting, for a company like Disney to acknowledge Joy Division and acknowledge their importance was interesting, from a cult band that made no money- we never argued about publishing because we never got to the bad bits of being in groups- the only thing we were suffering from was Ian’s illness which was difficult but to have that time to make you mark on the fucking world is fucking incredible. Looking back a big part of that was Martin Hannett. He has to be held up as the true genius for putting the icing on the cake”Â¦
You famously didn’t like the sound he was getting at first
”ËI will feely admit I was absolutely wrong. It’s like this, when you’re a kid and don’t forget me and Bernard were 18 at the time and we wanted it to sound like the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Basically it was lucky, very lucky that we didn’t get our own way. It’s interesting when you listen to Joy Division live, it’s much more punky than we were on record, it was fast and frenetic, when the keyboard plays there is no guitar which sounds unusual, which was interesting.
What I do with the Light is much more like the original records in the same way that Bernard and friends seem to be doing. It’s like New Order mark 3 whereas New Order mark 2 was without Gillian. New Order mark 1 was quite interesting because of the fragility that you had. It was a different group. Much more shambolic and about to fall apart.
Some of the songs we played as New Order mark 1 like ”ËWe All Stand’ and ”ËLeave Me Alone’ are songs Bernard won’t play now- I’m sure if me and Bernard were not having this fracas he would not be playing ”ËAge Of Consent’ because he resisted it when we played together. He wouldn’t play the fast, rocky ones but now he plays them maybe to fuck me off!
If anyone can’t see why he played ”ËAge Of Consent’ they would have to be completely blind, his whole thing is ”Ëwe don’t need him, we can do it without him.’
The final split had been in the offing for a few years before it actually happened
‘The end of the band was about taste- his taste changed and his taste wanted less of me in the sound. He didn’t like the counterpoint of melody, he didn’t want the bass stealing the song. He wanted it like Electronic and that’s the trouble when we got to ”ËSirens Call’- he wanted it like Electronic- normal songs. That’s the problem with the reforming Mondays and Roses, within months they might slip into like they were with all the petty grudges and it would be just like before.
I really hope they are happy doing it, it’s like playing a fruit machine for years and then someone goes on after you and it pays out.
There’s a joke we have- what’s visible from outert space?”Â¦. Mani’s wallet, it’s ever bigger than Peter Hook’s wallet, (laughs).’
Have you any new projects going on? I met Arthur Baker and he said you were working on something.
”ËArthur is a really nice bloke, I’ve worked with him so much, we have 5 albums of stuff in the can. I’ve been doing the soundtrack for the Felder Felder fashion show, Arthur’s wife has a fashion show and he does the music, I say to him can’t we release the tracks- there’s a wonderful version of Little Boots doing ”ËShadowplay’ and Cock and Bull doing ”ËThieves like Us’, we did about 4 new tracks. I got out of the habit of writing because I was so pissed of with way Freebass turned out- no distribution, no deal and no one bought it anyway because people got it for nothing off the internet.
But now I’ve started writing again- I’m doing a soundtrack to the CCTV video footage from the Hacienda party from 1990 and I’m going to release that for the 30th birthday people. People can see if they were there on New Year’s Eve on the film, we filmed it from everywhere- the Fifth man, upstairs on the balcony – the CCTV cameras were sweeping around the club. For the 30th anniversary there will be party in a special location- we will announce soon”Â¦
The Joy Division book is out in September- what’s the next book”Â¦
The New Order book is next! That will be interesting won’t it!!! I will be interviewing the others with a Ouji board
The rift between the two camps deepened after a recent awards ceremony.
The thing that really split us up was when they picked up the Mojo award in 2008/9 for Joy Division and they didn’t tell me. We had already agreed to split up by that point- we had met, the three of us, in an Alderley Edge hotel , but they went to the Mojo awards to pick the award up and were slagging me off when they were there which is like red rag to the bull!
Can I just say I have dome some fucking stupid things in my life but I would not have the gall to go to an awards and not tell the others- that’s fucking disgusting, it’s just professional courtesy.
Now if you read that Australian article Bernard says how much he loves touring. When I hear that I think they have been kidnapped by aliens! That article on au.com, Bernard says how much loves touring which is the opposite of that he used to say
Would you go and see them?
It really doesn’t bother me, if I was there when they were playing them I would still go and see them- this is a really weird thing to do through.
I can’t stop top them using the name- it’s not about that I don’t mind them doing it
There’s a great interview from Gillian Gilbert saying the current New Order bassist, Tom Chapman went to get his amp fixed and they said they had my old amps in stock if he wanted to use them and he said he couldn’t because Bernard would not allow it because it would make the bass too loud which gives you an idea of where the band is at now.’
Like so many severed musical relationships this one looks intractable, it’s unfortunate that this will end up in court as only lawyers win court cases, meanwhile both camps tour the world with their own different versions of the New Order story.
It will be fascinating to see what Hooky does with Still and if he will start on the New Order catalogue and there is that Joy Division book, at some point he may even finish off those tracks he’s been working on with Arthur Baker”Â¦