Friday, September 23, 2011

A brief afternoon dilemma re: Peter Hook

Posted By on 09.23.11 at 04:05 PM

phook.jpg
Judging by the stories I've heard from people who've worked with Peter Hook and interviews with him I've read, the guy is about as awful at being a person as he is amazing at writing bass lines—i.e., he is apparently pretty much a shitty dude. So my first reaction to hearing that Hook was embarking on a tour playing songs by Joy Division with a band that includes neither of his former Joy Division bandmates—who recently reached some sort of breaking point after several decades of putting up with him and finally booted him out of New Order—was to mentally roll my eyes and make barfing motions.

Earlier today, after I remembered that Hook's tour desecrating Ian Curtis's memory makes its Chicago appearance tonight at the Metro, I tried to look at it again from his side. Your old band, which ended tragically with the death of a friend and maybe never reached its true potential, becomes 20-some years after the fact one of the single most important influences on an entire decade's worth of new music—and suddenly far more popular than it's ever been. The temptation must be insane to make a quick swoop around America collecting what are basically piles of money waiting to be picked up. You could forgive somebody, especially one personally estranged from the former members of the group, for just saying "fuck it" and going for the payday regardless of how tasteless it might seem from the outside. I almost empathized.

Then I saw the above photo of Hook's Joy Division merch (via the Metro's Instagram page) and now I'm actually making barf motions IRL just to work out some of how grossed out I am by Peter Hook. It's one thing for him to launch his own traveling mini mall of Joy Division T-shirts, but design-wise these things are basically explosive diarrhea all over the band's impeccable aesthetic reputation. The lack of thought, feeling, or effort that went into the designs—I'm assuming the ones playing on the "Mind the Gap" sign are there somewhere out of frame—is negligent enough to almost qualify as a malicious attack on the band's legacy. Peter Saville is probably spinning in his . . . well, not in his grave, since he's not dead, but maybe in some sort of staggeringly tastefully appointed condo somewhere.

BTW Billy Corgan is supposed to join Hook onstage tonight.

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