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

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Music

The Handsome Family on 'True Detective' Emmy and…

When asked to describe The Handsome Family’s latest album, Rennie Sparks channels Rust Cohle of “True Detective.” “A strange problem that humans have is that…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.