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Monaco rule a 'new order' of music



monaco.jpg (13528 bytes)  Hanging out with "Hooky" and "Pottsy" yesterday afternoon, you'd think was on the set of a Happy Days made-for- TV movie.
 Instead, I'm in a Toronto hotel restaurant watching Peter Hook, bass player of '80s band New Order, and his new musical partner David Potts, as they chow down on seafood, pasta and Bloody Marys.
 "Would you like a shrimp?" offered the amiable Hook, before stopping a fly buzzing around by squishing it in his pasta. "Remind me not to eat that bit."
 Culinary activities aside, the lads are here -- with three other musicians -- to play the first North American gig of Hook's new band Monaco at the Guvernment tonight, one of eight shows on an abbreviated tour for their debut album, Music For Pleasure.
 "We're actually playing America before we've actually played in England, which is quite strange," said Hook, 41. "It's just that the record's done really well here. We've only actually played three times. We're actually very fledgling."
 This from a man who revolutionized bass playing in the post-punk era with New Order, the dance-pop synth band whose future is uncertain.
 "We were having really bad business problems when we were doing (1993's) Republic and the whole LP was tarnished completely and our relationship with each other was very badly tarnished," said Hook.
 "The last thing you wanted to think about when you finished was doing something else. You just wanted to get away from it as fast as possible.
 "The group was compromised by the business side and it's just stayed that way really. I've never spoken to Bernard although I believe in NME this week he says we're doing a new single."
 Since Republic, the four members have concentrated on their ongoing solo projects, Hook with Revenge and now Monaco, Bernard Sumner with Electronic partner Johnny Marr and Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert with the Other Two.
 "We're sort of family more than friends," said Hook. "Because it was so sudden when Bernard decided he wanted some time off (before Republic). It was really sudden, I mean I was shocked. It was like one of those secret shows that you see on American TV -- `Peter Hook's in the room backstage and he doesn't know what Bernard Sumner's going to say to him.' "
 With Monaco, the consensus is it couldn't sound more New Order, which doesn't bother Hook a bit.
 "When I did Revenge, I wanted to be free of New Order and I wanted it to be different, which was actually a bit presumptuous really 'cause after working on the same type of music for so long it would have been a radical departure."
 Hook credits the 27-year-old Potts, whom he had hired in 1989 to work at his recording studio in Manchester for returning him to his first love.
 "It was like David that sort of made me go back to doing it, which was sound like New Order, play the bass the way I do, and so now I'm quite happy, and I'm quite proud about it. If someone says it sounds like New Order, I take it as a compliment.
 "One of the nicest moments of all was when they played Shine (the next single) on the radio against (New Orders') Regret and Blue Monday and it sounded great. It didn't sound like it was in the past. It sounded like it was as good as. And I thought, `Well, that's it. I finally achieved what I wanted to do outside of New Order.' "

© Toronto Sun / Saturday, August 2, 1997