THE INFLUENCE OF POST-PUNK BAND JOY DIVISION AND THE GROUP WHICH ROSE FROM ITS ASHES AFTER THE SUICIDE OF IAN CURTIS – NEW ORDER – CAN BE FELT EVERYWHERE.
Whether in mood or in deed, from dank and dreary bedsits to the hedonistic rush of dance floors; from Nirvana’s IN UTERO and Manic Street Preachers’ THE HOLY BIBLE to all Depeche Mode have done in the last thirty years and The National; from Pet Shop Boys’ arch electro-pulse pop to the thinking man’s soundscaping cut-ups of Public Service Broadcasting. And yet there is absolutely no-one – and there is absolutely nothing – quite like either Joy Division or New Order.
In 2010 Peter Hook, bass-playing founder member of both groups, found himself ostracised when singer Bernard Sumner put together a band under the name New Order and began touring. It was a wound which cut Hook deep – and legal proceedings over the rights to / use of the name continue. It’s a sad and bitter chapter in an often scarcely believable story which began in Salford in 1976.
Joy Division (originally as Warsaw) played their first gig in May 1977, supporting Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clarke. Three years later talismanic singer Ian Curtis, suffering from epilespy, depression and a troubled home life, killed himself on the eve of a tour. Jon Savage wrote in his obituary for a UK music paper: “Now no-one will remember what his work with Joy Division was like when he was alive. It will be perceived as tragic rather than courageous”…
Both albums (UNKNOWN PLEASURES (1979) and 1980’s CLOSER) were produced by maverick Martin Hannett, whose invention did much to define the otherworldly sound. Yet they tell only half a story. As Hook reflects in The Mouthcast, “The band was a different thing on record”. He admits to initial disappointment: “We were punks. We wanted to rip people’s heads off like we did live”.
After Ian Curtis’s death the remaining members of Joy Division continued on as a band – though decided that their future work would be under a different name. The trio eventually recruited drummer Stephen Morris’s partner Gillian Gilbert on keyboards.
New Order’s debut single, CEREMONY, had been written with Ian Curtis and played at what turned out to be Joy Division’s final gig. MOVEMENT, the new group’s first album, was released in November 1981 and, arguably, marked an exorcism of any remaining vestiges of Joy Division. POWER, CORRUPTION AND LIES (1983), LOW LIFE (1985), BROTHERHOOD (1986) and TECHNIQUE (1989) all followed on the infamous label headed by Tony Wilson; Factory Records.
New Order embraced technology and club culture – the excitement of the dancefloor – throughout the 1980s, but without compromising their ability to twist influences into a unique sound. Groundbreaking eight minute release BLUE MONDAY (1983) remains the top-selling 12″ single of all time, and it was quickly followed by CONFUSION, a collaboration with hip New York DJ / remixer Arthur Baker. The band released almost forty singles before the acrimonious split in 2007; including TEMPTATION (1982), BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE (1986), TRUE FAITH (1987), FINE TIME (1988) and REGRET (1994). Perhaps the strangest project the band was involved in was 1990’s WORLD IN MOTION. Official England team single for the World Cup football tournament Italia ’90, it was co-written by anarchic comic actor Keith Allen, and featured members of the national team.
In 2010 Peter Hook formed The Light; a new group which saw him step up to the role of frontman, and whose respectful reading of Joy Division and New Order material has gained critical acclaim.
An EP was released in 2011, featuring new recordings of familiar Joy Division favourites alongside a previously unrecorded song. The Light tour constantly, every show a presentation of a pair of albums from either of Hook’s former groups, each played in its entirety alongside other choice cuts. Later on this year The Light will tour New Order’s LOW LIFE and BROTHERHOOD albums for the first time.
In this new edition of The Mouthcast Hook explains why he wanted to celebrate Ian Curtis, talks about his ‘divorce’ from ex-bandmates in New Order, and discusses The Light. He also talks about 1989’s ‘Ibiza’ album TECHNIQUE – and, in the midst of 2014’s World Cup, WORLD IN MOTION.
Read our review of Peter Hook & The Light’s recent concert in Hull, here. Order the limited edition Peter Hook & The Light EP 1102 / 2011 here. Buy the paperback versions of Peter Hook’s Joy Division memoir UNKNOWN PLEASURES (first published in 2012) here and his book about Factory Records / Manchester, THE HACIENDA: HOW NOT TO RUN A CLUB, (first published in 2009) here. Audiobook versions, both read by Hook, are also available. See below for new UK tour dates.
Fri 03/07 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms M/PCL BUY
Fri 04/07 HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome M/PCL BUY
Sat 05/07 YORK Fibbers M/PCL BUY
Sun 06/07 KENT The Hop Farm JD/NO BUY
Thurs 10/07 DUBLIN Leopardstown Racecourse JD/NO BUY
Fri 25/07 MANCHESTER Kickin’ Cancer Ball DJ SET BUY
Sun 27/07 STOCKTON Weekender JD/NO BUY
Fri 01/08 UMBRIA Festival JD/NO BUY
Sat 02/08 CANTERBURY Lounge On The Farm JD/NO BUY
Sun 03/08 DORSET Camp Bestival JD/NO BUY
Sat 16/08 NORFOLK Voewood Festival JD/NO BUY
Sun 17/08 KETTERING Alt Fest UP BUY
Sat 06/09 PORTMERION Festival No 6 JD/NO BUY
Sun 07/09 ISLE OF WIGHT Bestival UP BUY
Sat 13/09 CORNWALL Heartlands Festival JD/NO BUY
Thurs 25/09 MANCHESTER Ritz LL/B BUY
Sat 27/09 LONDON Shepherd’s Bush Empire LL/B BUY