Peter Hook at the MCA: Punk lives on

It was one of those nights I’m glad I live in Chicago …. Peter Hook, bass player of the post-punk band Joy Division, has written a book about the concert and touring life of that band: Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division (It Books, 2013). Hook and Joe Shanahan, owner of the Metro music venue, carried on a lively discussion about that book and the life of the band the other night at the MCA theater. (That is really a nice space, by the way. Excellent acoustics and not a bad seat in the house.) The event was a sellout and the audience was mostly made up of young people (way younger than me, that is). It’s good to see that Punk Lives On.

Joy Division was highly influential in alternative rock and surely made an impression on bands like U2, Radiohead, REM and the Killers.  Joy Division played for only a few years when their lead singer, Ian Curtis, died in May 1980 just before their first US tour. The band members reformed later as New Order.

Unknown Pleasures also was the name of the band’s debut album. Hook talked in his strong Manchester accent about how the band toured around England with makeshift equipment in a broken-down van. “It generally tends to be the bass player who drives the bus,” Hook said. He observed that the bass player is often the archivist as well, which is why Hook had a collection of ticket stubs, setlists, posters and other memorabilia that appear in the book.

Hook tells about seeing the Sex Pistols as a teenager (at a famous gig in Manchester) and thinking two things: “The first was: I could do that. Because, fucking hell, what a racket. I mean, they were just dreadful; well, the sound was dreadful. “ Punk is all about capturing the spirit, Hook said. Even if it’s sloppy.

Here’s a short interview with Hook by Kimberly Austin of the Rock Book Show.

You also can see Joy Division perform a couple of their best-known songs: “Love Will Tear Us Apart”  or “Transmission”

7 Comments on “Peter Hook at the MCA: Punk lives on”

  1. Steve the Scrivener says:

    Oh, Hooky — I’ve been following him since I was 15 and learned of this ancient band called Joy Division that had broken up due to the singer’s suicide five years earlier and of his new band, New Order, which remains one of my favorites to this day despite some of the most insipid lyrics ever to be committed to tape. His new book is a mere three feet away from me, but I won’t be able to start it for a bit.

    Shame he doesn’t get on with the rest of New Order anymore, but it’s much more his fault than theirs. As for Hook’s slagging of New Order as a “tribute band” or whatnot, this diss comes from a man who himself has a new band that has been touring for the past several years playing entire Joy Division and New Order albums. Pot, kettle, black.


  2. Steve the Scrivener says:

    What did you think of *24-Hour Party People*?


    • nancysbishop says:

      I liked the first hour a lot, then the DVD went kerflooey; cleaning it didn’t help. So I sent it back to Netflix and haven’t requested a replacement. You’re right about Steve Coogan; he’s good. I see that the whole film is on YouTube. If I can get it to stop buffering, I can watch the last half. Oh and I have the 2007 Joy Division documentary on DVD right now. Did you like that one?


      • Steve the Scrivener says:

        The JD doc is very solid. I’m generally very critical of rock docs and biopics, but none of the Joy Division-related ones (also including *Control,* the Ian Curtis biopic) have disappointed me.


      • nancysbishop says:

        The Joy Division doc was very well done — I liked seeing the mix of archival footage (especially of Ian on stage) with current interviews. BTW, I love rock docs and in fact, I’ll be writing a post on them some time soon. Actually, I like documentary films in general.


      • Steve the Scrivener says:

        We finally viewed *Searching for Sugarman* a few nights ago. Give that film an Oscar!

        I knew I was getting old when all the punk rock docs (Ramones, Clash, Sex Pistols) started coming out a decade or so ago. There’s a great docudrama to be made from The Clash’s story.


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