Onetime Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook has read the autobiography of Bernard Sumner, his ex-bandmate in both bands and – given the bitterness of their falling out in 2007 – was not impressed. In a book review for Billboard, Hook claimed that in Sumner’s recently released Chapter and Verse [New Order, Joy Division and Me], some of Sumner’s stories shocked “even me” and that he felt that Sumner’s “vitriol” toward him obscured his recollection of the things New Order achieved.
Hook, who has written books about his time in Joy Division and the influential club The Hacienda and who is writing his own account of New Order, opined that the book was a “a shame, not just for us and the fans, but maybe also for the bookstores who won’t know whether to file this under fantasy or tragedy.”
“Reading the book, I began to wonder if Bernard ever had an argument with anyone who wasn’t called Peter Hook?” the bassist wrote. “He neglects to remember that in 1993, he fell out with Steve [Morris] and Gillian [Gilbert] over an interview where they said they wrote most of Republic. Bernard went mad and refused to speak to them or work with them again. He used to fall out with [New Order’s now-deceased manager] Rob [Gretton] all the time – mainly about money – and he used to fall out with [Factory Records’ now-deceased cofounder] Tony [Wilson] all the time, too. Yet, according to Chapter And Verse, he’s never had an argument…with anyone but me? Come on Barney….”
Hook claimed that he read passages where Sumner alleged the bassist had picked a fight with someone, though it turned out not to be the case when he called that person up. On a more positive note, Hook said he enjoyed reading about Sumner’s childhood, but mostly complained about a “disappointing lack of revelation or attention to detail.”
The bassist ended his review by jokingly suggesting that he should rejoin New Order since “now they’re all so happy.”
Sumner and New Order are currently working on their first music without Hook’s songwriting contributions. “We’re coming out in small bursts and writing in small bursts at home, so we’re constantly here whether you like us or not, we’re here to stay,” the frontman told Rolling Stone last year.
Hook’s initial response to the new New Order was predictable. “Everyone knows that NEW ORDER without PETER HOOK is like QUEEN without FREDDIE MERCURY, U2 without THE EDGE, SOOTY without SWEEP!” he wrote on his website.