Peter Hook says playing Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ live was one of his greatest career moments

Despite ongoing fall-outs, Hook says it's meant New Order now play Joy Division live

Former Joy Division bassist Peter Hook has spoken about playing the band’s album ‘Closer‘ (1980) in full for the first time, labelling it one of his “greatest” moments as a musician.

Hook, who played in New Order – the band formed from the ashes of Joy Division – until 2007, and now heads up Peter Hook & The Light, has said in a new interview that the rare chance to perform Joy Division’s final album was special.

“I must admit, one of the greatest moments as a musician I’ve ever had was to actually play ‘Closer’ in its entirety and to get it back,” he told Rolling Stone. “I mean, I’ve never stopped arguing with the other members of Joy Division since I started playing [Joy Division’s music live] but the only good thing to come out of it is that now they play Joy Division. So that’s been great for the fans.”

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He continued: “And if there’s one thing that I probably wish Bernard [Summer – ex-Joy Division guitarist] and Steven [Morris – ex-Joy Division bassist] could go through is getting that LP back. It’s so fantastic to do it, and it was so wonderful because a lot of the songs were finished in the studio, most of the parts were written in the studio, some of the vocals were written in the studio, and we never got to play them.”

Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook in Joy Division
Various

Hook played the album in full in 2011 at The Factory in Manchester. The record had never been performed live, since it was released in the wake of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’ suicide in 1980, which led to the band feeling “detached” from it. “Once Ian had hopefully gone to that better place in the sky,” Hook said, “what me, Bernie and Steve did was almost disown Joy Division in a really weird, grief-driven way”.

Hook was due to play two special gigs this month with his band to mark the 40th anniversary of ‘Closer’, however the shows at London’s O2 Brixton Academy and Manchester’s O2 Apollo have since been postponed until January 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The bassist was to perform both Joy Division’s debut album ‘Unknown Pleasures‘ (1979) and ‘Closer’ in full with his & The Light band, which he formed in 2010.

Elsewhere in the Rolling Stone interview, Hook talked about how amazed he is now at the fact that he and his Joy Division band members didn’t take a break after Curtis’ death.

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“Now, it absolutely amazes me that we didn’t take any time off. I think that when you’re young, you have a very different look on life. Like if you don’t do something quickly, someone’s going to snatch it off you,” Hook said.

Peter Hook, Joy Division
Peter Hook, Joy Division CREDIT: Carla Speight/Getty Images

“Truth is that we could have had time off and New Order wouldn’t have suffered. But we were drowning. We felt that we needed to grasp at straws to pull ourselves out of it, and did that by banding together, disowning and putting away Joy Division. Ignoring ‘Closer’, ignoring ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, ignoring anything that came after it, and concentrating solely on New Order,” he added.

“I must admit that I never had the thought — and I was actually surprised when our manager expressed the thought — that, like The Doors, Joy Division would be more popular in five, ten, 20, 30, 40 years. I just told him to fuck off.”

In other news, a remastered edition of ‘Closer’ pressed on crystal clear vinyl was released today (July 17). It follows the reissue of ‘Unknown Pleasures’, which was released in 2019.

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