Q&A: Peter Hook's Joy Division Book, Feuding with New Order

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As eccentric as he was, the late Martin Hannett really did masterful production on Unknown Pleasures and Closer. It's been said that you and Bernard weren't thrilled with his mix on Unknown Pleasures back then because both of you wanted a more raw and rocking sound.
Now it pains me to realize what a genius he was. But I didn't have the maturity to recognize the beauty in what he'd done. I was 21. I wanted the LP to rip your fucking head off in the same way that the Sex Pistols, Richard Hell and the Clash did. I didn't want this mature, wonderful-sounding album that was going to last 30 years. . . I couldn't see past that. I got it with Closer.  Although the bass was a little bit quiet, I thought [Martin] did a wonderful job on Closer. But by that time, Joy Division's chapter was over. Martin was an absolute fucking lunatic, but his ideas were revolutionary.

Before his suicide, Ian went through a lot of stress in his personal life: being diagnosed with epilepsy, having domestic problems with his wife Deborah, being a father for the first time and having an extramarital affair with Annik Honore.
Yeah, he was. And for us to witness it, considering how easy our lives were – we were healthy. We were living at home. We may have had girlfriends, but we didn't [have] half the responsibility he had. It was quite shocking. You're like, "Fuck, this guy's got a lot of baggage." Being in a group and being that poor meant that your life was very difficult. We were actually paying to play. He was going home to his own home with a young baby. The tangled love affair – it could have been any one of us, any of us could have succumbed to a love affair. Annik was such a lovely girl; I'm still in contact with her now. I always liked her. She was no walk-over and she really did try to help Ian and look after him, but he was his own worst enemy. The doctor said to him, when he was diagnosed with epilepsy, "If you live a quiet life, no loud noises, no alcohol, you should be okay." Being in a group does not let you do any of those. And he didn't want to give the group up. He was just as passionate and enthusiastic about it as all the rest of us. He had a terrible dilemma with himself. It must have been awful, and we were absolutely no fucking use.

As for New Order, they recently toured last year without your participation. Did you feel betrayed?
I felt betrayed by the way they did it because they did it without consulting me and without asking my opinion. As Bernard explained in Spinner.com last week, they found a legal way to do it, that I couldn't stop them. Not that I would have stopped them anyway. They just presented it completely as a fait accompli, and I heard in the same way as everybody else heard on the radio. So it's not a good start, is it?

What I am protesting about – what I am still very unhappy – is the business arrangements that they left for the company that owns the New Order trademark. Them three have decided what I should be paid and I think the four of us should have decided what I should have been paid. Them three are happy with the arrangements of what I get paid and I'm not. I'm seeking a legal remedy to that, and that's where we're at the moment. They refuse to cooperate, they refuse to negotiate and that's it.

Do you foresee a reconciliation of some sorts in the future?
Say you went into a really bad breakup, and breakups tend to build up, build up, build up. Then it gets to that bit where [it's like] "Ergggh!" We're still at that bit. It's not coming down.

I suppose I should be complimented by the way Bernard is still having these massive personal attacks on me like in the way he had in Spinner, accusing me of refusing to work on the New Order record, Waiting for the Siren's Call, because I was off DJing. Barney used to do everything on his own anyway. They wouldn't wait for me. He's completely mistaken. That isn't true. They've never waited for me since [the 1986 single] "Bizarre Love Triangle." But I suppose I should be flattered after having New Order back for a year, earning fucking millions, and getting everything that they wanted back –  that they still have to have a stinging personal attack on you every time he has an interview. Maybe he's missing me, do you think?

Is there going to be a New Order book from you?
I wasn't going to do a New Order book because the great thing about the Joy Division book is that even to me, it's not a normal rock & roll book. It's not full of girls and drugs. But I'm afraid the New Order one is going to be a pretty normal rock & roll book. It's like an indie Mötley Crüe.

Still, judging from the Joy Division book, you still got to be pretty proud of the musical history that you were a part of.
Joy Division is a great story and New Order is a great story. The fact that you pulled it out of the ashes of Joy Division and went on to achieve as much as New Order – it says a lot about our strengths and character. And really the saddest thing about the arguing over this past year and the years before that when Bernard and I fell out: it makes you forget the good bits.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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