Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Peter Hook looks back on legacy of Joy Division -- without New Order -- and sees the Light

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Joy Division never played the States. After years of gigging in Britain, the influential new wave band scheduled a U.S. tour in 1980, which was nixed after singer Ian Curtis' suicide that spring -- two weeks before the American tour.

"But Chicago was one of the first places we played with New Order," bassist Peter Hook says of the equally influential, rechristened trio that continued on without Curtis.

Hook is back in Chicago this weekend -- but without New Order. The three players, including singer-guitarist Bernard Sumner and drummer Stephen Morris, have always had a contentious relationship, which finally imploded earlier this year. Just a couple of weeks ago, in fact, New Order announced its first gigs since 2006 and the first shows ever without Hook: two charity concerts next month in Brussels and Paris, with bassist Tom Chapman.

Shortly after that announcement, Hook took to his own website to proclaim: "Everyone knows that New Order without Peter Hook is like Queen without Freddie Mercury, U2 without The Edge, Sooty without Sweep!" (the latter being beloved puppets on British TV).

It's a tad egotistical for Hook to say that, but it doesn't make it wrong.

PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT
with California Wives, DJ Boy Alberto, DJ JS
• 9 p.m. Sept. 23
• Metro, 3730 N. Clark
• Tickets: $21, (773) 549-4140, metrochicago.com

Hook's chiming, melodic bass playing is what makes New Order's synth-pop sound instantly recognizable.

"It's an unfortunate thing that comes down to the bickering," Hook told the Sun-Times last week. "I wish we'd stop bickering, but it's the tradition of the band. This was handled badly. The fact that they've booked shows to play New Order songs fills me with joy. New Order was always reluctant to tour. It drove me mad. I don't wish them ill in playing, I just wish they wouldn't handle things this way."

Hook spoke from a downtown hotel room in New York City, just after the 9/11 anniversary. On that day 10 years ago, Hook remembers where he was: "Rehearsing with New Order, quite happily."

Hook's current project goes back to another happier time: to the late-'70s years with Joy Division. Peter Hook & the Light was formed last year for a single event in which the new band performed the Joy Division album "Unknown Pleasures." The band eventually toured a bit, and now is back again doing the entirety of the album "Closer."

"The goal originally was just for me to celebrate 30 years of Ian Curtis' life at my club in Manchester," Hook said. "I quite naively never thought we'd do it anywhere else. But people heard it and liked it, and we played everywhere. Now it's my day job. It's a great compliment to the songwriting of Joy Division and the memory."

Most of the memories are quite good, he added. "Joy Division was really very united, the four of us. The bickering, shall we say, had not yet begun. It was a very pleasant time, most harmonious."

Hook is also writing a book about his Joy Division days, aiming to publish next summer.

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2 Comments

I had a great time at the show in NYC. The set list was amazing and they sounded great live, my favorites were Isolation, Heart & soul, Decades, & Atmosphere. After the show I was Lucky enough to go backstage and meet Peter Hook and took some pictures and got some autographs.

Here is the pic of the Venue

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Here is a pic of the setlist.

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Here is Hook signing some autographs for me.

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This is a little souvineer that I bought for myself at the show for $20, which is not bad at all, usually they are $30

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Sorry that I could not take any pictures during the show, because my camera sucks in the dark.

Just got back from the Metro. Peter Hook and The Light (a name which to me sounds either like a 60's oldies band or a religious group) tore up the house. While there was only one Ian Curtis it really, really felt as if we were hearing Joy Division live for the first time in the U.S. The set list went well beyond closer and covered practically every song a fan would hope for and it felt totally authentic because Peter's bass was as much an integral part of Joy Division's sound as Ian Curtis's haunting vocals. It was an experience I never thought I would ever be able to have. If you are a fan this is a must see show.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on September 19, 2011 6:00 AM.

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