Hannett died in 1991, but the array of effects he added to Unknown Pleasures during its April 1979 recording at Strawberry Studios in Stockport are included in Hook’s live performance. “Martin Hannett was very responsible for making Joy Division last through three decades,” Hook acknowledges. “Just the very way he translated our music, he gave it life, he made it æthereal, he made it long-lasting. He made it so people could literally dive into the record. Whereas had Bernard and I done it the way we wanted to, it would have been a punk record like the Sex Pistols. And you can’t thank Martin Hannett enough for it.”
Hannett was also at the helm for Joy Division’s more refined, personal, bleaker follow-up and finale, 1980’s Closer. Curtis killed himself two months before its release, whereupon the remaining members began to reshape as New Order. The massive electronic sound New Order would conquer over the next decade prompts the question: what would Joy Division have sounded like had Curtis survived?
“That’s one of the saddest questions in the world, because we’ll never know,” says Hook. “But I suspect we’d have evolved the same. Ian was very interested in electronic music; Bernard and Stephen really grasped the technology that was coming along. It was only little old me that wanted to be a rock-and-roller. Ian kept introducing us to dance music, and if you listen to the way the synths and the drum machines as they, in their fledgling role, came into New Order through Martin Hannett, I think we would have gone down the same path.”
When Hook dies, one of the first questions he’ll ask Curtis centers on New Order’s biggest hit.
“One of the great mysteries of the world, I think, is what would Ian have sung on ‘Blue Monday,’ ” Hook says with a laugh. “I would love to know, and if I ever get up there and get to sit next to him, you know, outside the Pearly Gates, that would probably be my first question — outside of ‘Why did you do it, you fucker?’ ”
PETER HOOK PRESENTS UNKNOWN PLEASURES | Royale, 279 Tremont St, Boston | December 4 at 6 pm | $22 | 617.338.7699 or boweryboston.com