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
International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.