Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division Summary Õ 102

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Iendships fights fallouts; the rehearsals and recording sessions; the larger than life characters told by the band's legendary bassist Peter Ho. Okay I'm a massive Joy Division fan and in the days before everyone around the band or in it rushed wrote a memoir or made a film I was scrabbling around for any little clue about the band from clippings in the music press or whatever I bought all the bootleg tapes of live gigs and listened to them for hours on end drawing my own interpretation of what was going on psychologically between the band members And now that I've only slightly less desperately devoured the films and the books that have come out in the last decade I feel they have added very little new insight to those I'd culled for myself twenty years ago Which is odd because one of the books was written by the singer's wife and this one by the bass guitarist

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Unknown Pleasures Inside Joy DivisionJoy Division changed the face of music Godfathers of the current alternative scene they reinvented rock in the post punk era creating a new sou. “Demystify” This word never appears in Peter Hook’s memoir of his former band but it definitely describes the Joy Division bassist’s project Hook’s raunchy and funny book demystifies Joy Division presenting them as a postpunk Mötley Crüe a band that partied hard and reveled in all the filth and the fury that the Sex Pistols left in the wake of their demiseAfter finding out what Hook has to say you’ll never stereotype Joy Division again They’ll never only be the gothic and artsy band that took lyrics from Dostoevsky Kafka and William S Burroughs novels made machine age dance punk about urban decay and whose effete lead singer and resident “genius” Ian Curtis hanged himself to death on the eve of their first American tour the victim of chronic epilepsy bad prescription drugs and a failed marriageThis last point about Curtis is crucial to the success of Hook’s book Previous books such as Deborah Curtis’ Touching From a Distance and Mick Middles’ Torn Apart and films such as Anton Corbijn’s Control and Grant Gee’s Joy Division present the Joy Division story as a series of events leading up to Curtis’ suicide These books and films depict Curtis as a tragic figure a tremendously gifted young poet whose feelings of guilt over his epilepsy marital problems and extramarital affair lead to a suicide that’s somehow fated And because Curtis’ suicide as tragedy makes for such overwhelming pathos it overshadows Joy Division’s true identity as a band of four eual collaborators and songwriters that – surprise – had a hell of a lot of fun being young guys in a rock and roll bandLet’s take fun first Hook writes about how Joy Division participated in all the rock and roll debauchery that’s always been associated with bands like Led Zeppelin and the Crüe but never artsy goths like Joy Division To mention just one of the many great stories that populate Hook’s profanity ridden text is to do an injustice to all the rollicking and hilarious memories that the bassist shares But here goesOnce while on tour as an opening act for the at the time popular Buzzcocks Hook and his bandmates decided to jape their fellow Mancunians What was involved in the jape Maggots the Buzzcocks’ drum kit rats and the Buzzcock’s tour bus Who was involved in the jape Hook Joy Division’s manager and crew and the rest of the band including a certain Ian CurtisSo it turns out that Curtis was a lot complex than his “tortured poet genius” image would have us believe One of Hook’s fondest memories of Curtis is of the singer walking the Rue Saint Denis in Paris in search of prostitutes “Girls” Hook recalls Curtis asking passersby as he held his arms to his chest in the form of breasts “Where are all the girls”Just as Curtis drank and partied with his bandmates he collaborated with them on the creation of Joy Division’s songs Transmission She’s Lost Control Disorder Atmosphere and even Love Will Tear Us Apart – these were not the work of an individual genius Rather as Hook shows in his insightful track by track breakdowns of the songs on Unknown Pleasures and Closer – Joy Division’s two albums – the band worked together on everything When Hook started playing melodic bass lines up high on his fretboard he came up with many of the band’s most famous tunes The bass lines were so melodic that many times Curtis would just sing the vocal melody and lyrics over them With Hook and Curtis handling melody guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner could add color and atmospheric effects and drummer Stephen Morris under the tutelage of producer Martin Hannett could craft beats that were at once mechanically precise and danceableAll of this isn’t to suggest that Hook doesn’t write about Curtis’ suicide But he doesn’t dwell on it throughout the book This isn’t because he’s crassly cold and only interested in presenting the good times Rather Curtis’ suicide perplexed Hook at the time and continues to do so to this dayBy his own admission Hook was never close to Curtis and neither bothered to understand his interest in literature and art nor actually listen to his lyrics which on Closer can be read as an extended suicide note Hook just knew that Curtis’ voice and words sounded good Besides he and Sumner just wanted to be as loud as the Stooges the Velvet Underground and the Sex Pistols They wanted to lop your head off when they played live and were until recent years disappointed that the albums emphasized art over punkBut in stressing artistic innovation over raw punk Unknown Pleasures and Closer Hook concludes are timeless classics And his memoir while not scaling the heights of Joy Division’s masterpieces is a tiny gem written by a monster musician It’s the best document yet to be produced on Joy Division There’s nothing like hearing the story straight from Hooky’s foul mouthA version of this review will appear in Rock Cellar Magazine

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Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division Summary Õ 102 ¸ Joy Division changed the face of music Godfathers of the current alternative scene they reinvented rock in the post punk era creating a new sound dark hypnotic intense that would influence U2 Morrissey REM Radiohead and many others This is the rollercoaster story of Joy DiviNd dark hypnotic intense that would influence U2 Morrissey REM Radiohead and many others This is the rollercoaster story of Joy Division the fr. Joy Division and New Order meanmeant a shit ton to me I can't imagine my life without them and beyond hyperbole only three or four other bandsmusicians land in this personal category Their history is so much bigger than the Ian Curtis killed himself mythology and Peter Hook's both bands' bass player and don't think he was just a bass player his sound was integral to their sounds chatty sitting next to the man in a bar while he tells story memoir fleshes out the picture in a heartfelt humane manner Unknown Pleasures reads like an oral history although I can't find any evidence this was an as told to deal of a man looking back at his professional life with pride regret er no pun intended NO fans humility and as much honesty as he can musterThere's no love lost er no pun intended JD fans between Peter Hook and his former bandmates He takes shots at Bernard Sumner every few pages deserved or not I can't tell as I wasn't there and if Sumner writes his own version I'll read it Hook's perceptions of Curtis are fascinating He breaks down the legend while acknowledging Curtis's otherworldly talent I mean seriously Curtis wrote his lyrics while in his early twenties And perhaps better than anyone else I've read Hook breaks down Curtis's perceived desire to be everything to everyone at the height of his success and disabling epilepsy Either extreme the sordid rock star or austere artist fits the truth although Hook's assertion that the 24 Hour Party People portray of Mr Curtis is accurate than the arty uiet Control portrayal seems like a good call Hook makes it sound like Joy Division were friends playing music until one of the guys killed himself under intense familial medical and professional pressure and he looks back with love anger and empathy I've read a slew of books fromabout musicians and this to my surprise is one of the best And if Hook sounds like he's feeling sorry for himself here and there driving the van all the time etc well think of him on a barstool after one too many beers talking about the old days Of course his old days are rock and roll lore about a great band who perhaps has been frozen too much in Ian Curtis's suicide Unknown Pleasures surprised me with its depth