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”