Peter Hook is in a peculiar situation. The founding member and bassist of Joy Division and New Order is championing the legacy of the former while banished from the latter. Hook's 2006 fallout with New Order has dragged out in the press, in ongoing spats with Bernard Sumner and accusations that the remaining members of New Order have voted to reduce his band royalties to nothing. While New Order tour the world — this week releasing a rarities album, Lost Sirens, comprising sessions that included Hook circa 2003 — Hooky has been doing tours of his own, controversially performing the two iconic Joy Division albums in their entirety with his son and a new band, the Light. He hits Boston this week to promote a new book, Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division (It Books), which details the band's early years in late-'70s Manchester and culminates with the suicide of iconic 23-year-old front man Ian Curtis in 1980. I caught up with Hook a few weeks ago to discuss the "new" New Order, Curtis's legacy, and yeah, his latest book.
Hey Hooky, how's it going? Where are you at right now?
I'm in Cheshire, England. Just outside Manchester.
How's the weather over there?
We just got two inches of snow. It's freezing, but the dog's been enjoying it.
My cat loves the snow, sometimes I take her out in it.
It freaks them out the first time
Indeed. But — congrats on the new book,Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division. I was a big fan ofThe Hacienda: How Not To Run a Club from a few years ago. So what inspired you to tackle the early stages of Joy Division, and get into the first record?
The confidence I got from doing the Hacienda book was the biggest thing. And then, unfortunately, it's a kind of weird one, but I read one too many books on Joy Division by people who weren't there, Mick Middles and Lindsay Reade. So I've got that dubious honor, and I thought, "aww this is crap," do you know what I mean? It sort of concentrated too much, in my mind, on the sort of cold industrial north, and the deification of Ian Curtis, and the mystification of Joy Division, and it really just made me feel that it was the right time to tell the story from the inside, and it was as simple as that.
Do you feel you're carrying the torch, so to speak, and telling the story that Ian can't tell, at this point?
That's an interesting thing, but you could say you're carrying the torch for the story Bernard [Sumner] and Stephen [Morris] won't tell. That's a difficult one, the thing is . . . I was reading an interview, probably your country, in America, last week, with Gillian [Gilbert], and she said that I've "spoken ill of the dead." She said she read my book, and that I've "spoken ill of the dead." And I thought: is she reading my book, or is she reading somebody else's? And it just shows you the effects that it can have on the people that were closes to us.