Joy Division bassist Peter Hook opens up

Bassist Peter Hook talks about Joy Division in his new book.
Bassist Peter Hook talks about Joy Division in his new book.

Joy Division went to great lengths to keep the public in the dark during their brief career as a band. The influential goth rock band from Manchester, U.K., trafficked in album artwork that never featured their name, much less the faces of members, and on the rare occasions they granted interviews, their answers were usually evasive or flippant. The only thing for listeners to go on was the music, similarly dark, mysterious and cold. Bassist Peter Hook wants to change all of that with his new book, “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division” (It Books).

“I was a little bit wary of debunking all the myths,” admits Hook. “I just got sick of reading books about Joy Division by people who weren’t there, and they always seem to focus on the dark and mysterious intensity of Joy Division, which is something that whilst I appreciate, I can’t say that I recognize it completely.”

“Unknown Pleasures” is rife with demystifying tales of a young band on tour for the first time. At one point singer Ian Curtis, whose brooding image would later feature heavily into goth iconography, is giggling at glimpsing a female changing backstage. The band constantly played practical jokes on one another and on other bands — Curtis calls his bandmates “sneaky, japing tossers.” But while Hook’s book revels in fun memories and rides the narrative arc of a band finding their unique identity, the author also comes to terms with signs he should have picked up on that Curtis was in trouble. On a roller-coaster of prescription drugs to treat his epilepsy, Curtis killed himself on a Saturday night when the band were about to embark on their first U.S. tour that Monday.

“He must have gotten to the point on Saturday night, for some reason that none of us will ever know, that he decided that couldn’t cope anymore,” says Hook. “I was with him on Friday and he was absolutely f—ing fine. But that was the thing in Joy Division; it wasn’t as if he was laying in the corner, whimpering, begging for help. He was actually quite normal.”

Insight at a later date

Hook remarks on page 314 of “Unknown Pleasures” that he should have called the memoir, “He Said He Was All Right So We Carried On,” because whenever the band questioned Ian Curtis about his well-being, he would rebuff them and insist they play whatever gig was next.

“He was literally going up and down like a bride’s nightie,” says Hook. “They took Ian’s prescriptions for his drugs to a modern day epilepsy specialist, and the specialist looked at the prescriptions and said, ‘This was guaranteed to kill him.’”

Pat Healy/Metro



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.