||bneat magazine - wed 19 Dec
2001 - AU
Rich Pelley is caught hook,
line and sinker
They love each other. They love each other not. What is it with New Order?
Can't they just make up their differences once for all and concentrate
their talents into making a killer comeback record? What's that? They have?
Now that has got to be worth hearing.
It's hard to believe that through the tantrums, drugs, break-ups, moods,
marriages and side-projects, that two decades on, the same band (nearly)
who gave us Love Will Tear Us Apart are talking to each other, let alone
making records. But as this year's fantastic Get Ready showed, there's
still plenty of life, passion and ? best still ? good old-fashioned tunes
left in the New Order camp. And that's just the start of it.
"This is one of the first times I've ever been happy making an LP," says
New Order's enigmatic bass player, Peter Hook (or "Hooky" to his friends).
"We've had so much shit in the past that we've come back much stronger. We
all sat there, hashed it out between the three of us. In the past we used
to bury our problems so it just used to build up inside into so much
resentment that it just used to drive you mad."
"As our manager used to say, if you fuckers put as much time and
into New Order as you do into your solo albums, you'd be mega. It may have
taken us a long time, but we realized it before it was too late."
And thank God they did. With the side projects now permanently
that's Bernard Sumner waving goodbye to Electronic, Hooky burying the
hatchet on Monaco, and the other putting the lid on the
fantastically-titled The Other Two), it's full steam ahead for New Order.
"I think this album it actually sounds younger than some we did
sounds like you've got a hell of a lot more spirit and it sounds far more
bandy, which is good. It [Get Ready] was written all before we went to the
studio this time, which was a first for New Order. We actually sat there,
we'd get a jam going, Bernard would take it away and put a vocal on it,
bring it back, we'd hone the vocal, do the breaks, start the music up. It
"As Bernard says, you have to be prepared to suffer the boring bits if
you're in a group. You don't just get to stay at home by your swimming pool
with a glass of champagne in your hand until you're summoned. We're very
much a hands on-group, we haven't got to that super-group status of just
walking in to find the piano keys have been polished."
It's been six years since New Order recorded their last album Republic, the
album that ? at the time ? was destined to split them up for ever.
"After Republic, we weren't getting on, we thought the group were shite, we
really couldn't see the wood for the trees. I didn't think for one moment
that five years later we'd get back together again and make a great LP like
this. Maybe it's written in your contract with God when you start out as a
musician that you've got to go through that whole angst-ridden,
"We've just done a tour of Europe, and I was saying to Bernard backstage,
'I can't understand it because before everybody just seemed such a
miserable bastard.' And he said 'you know, Hooky, it might have been us'.
That's the best fucking New Order quote I've heard in fucking ten years."
Gillian Morris ? wife of drummer Steven and New Order's reluctant keyboard
player isn't with them this time around. (Unfortunately Steven and
Gillian's youngest daughter is recovering from a serious illness, so
Gillian is staying home to play mum.) Not surprising, maybe, that there
were some pre-show nerves prior to the recording of Get Ready.
"There was a certain amount of trepidation," says Hooky. "You didn't know
if after all this time everyone would just tell you to piss off. But as the
record grew and the songs came, we developed much more confidence. We all
sat there listening to it ? me, Bernard, Steve, and Steve Osborne our
producer, and we were like, fucking hell ? it rocks. "
"We're just finishing a track with the Chemical Brothers, called Here To
Stay. We're still very much ongoing which is nice. The last time with
Republic, everybody knew we wouldn't do anything else, but this time we're
all much more committed. Because we're enjoying ourselves, because we're
feeling good, it's carrying on. I didn't think to come back two years ago
and find it all at your feet again is such a wonderful compliment. It's the
same thing playing live. We're now playing really well, everyone's really
It's playing live that are giving New Order back their true faith. And from
a band who always admitted to being a bit shoddy on the road, they now ?
indeed ? seem to have been touched by the hand of God.
"We've not done a shit gig yet," says Hooky. "Which is amazing, because
we're renowned for it. We were always a bit hit and miss because we never
really used to practice a lot, and we used to change the set list every
night. Even though a lot of New Order fans used to like the fact that it
was very hit or miss, it wasn't them crying in the dressing room. I'm much
happier with our attitude now."
Escaping the miserable English winter, the band are especially looking
forward to visiting our shores. Heck, they'd almost consider living here.
"The last two times or three times we played in Australia we had a
fantastic time. I think the vibe's fantastic, and it's the same thing with
Big Day Out. I've never been to a bad festival yet. There's always
something vibey, something that's electric and something that's outstanding
and memorable about them all."
"I must admit Australia would be the only place that I'd ever consider
living. Apart from Manchester, I thought Sydney was just amazing. If you
didn't have all those horrible creepy-crawlies and spiders it'd be
fantastic. I had a Huntsman in the room next to me in a hotel and it scared
the fucking shit out of me."
Crickey. But asides from spiders, it's the press who have traditionally
scared the living daylights out of New Order over the years. In comparison,
Radiohead come across as positively chatty.
"Funnily enough we've been sharing the interviews between us quite well,"
says Hooky. "It's a new healthy way of looking at things ? shared labour.
The whole old New Order thing of not doing any made life easier. The fact
that you're enjoying yourself a lot more means that you enjoy talking about
"Why weren't we in the Crystal video? We were never in our videos anyway.
We always thought it was more interesting if they actually stood up as
works of art than have us in them. We went through this with Touched By The
Hand Of God where we dressed as Heavy Metallers. We did a tour of America
afterwards and people were asking for their money back."
"It's the same attitude we had for the covers ? the last thing we wanted to
look at was pictures of our faces. And lo and behold, 15 years later hardly
anyone appears in their videos, in a Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers sort of
way. Music is music, it doesn't matter who makes it. You look at all these
dance records, they're all written by fifty year old fat Swedish blokes.
The Spice Girls are written by old middle aged men. So are Five, Steps, the
list is endless."
So, it's full steam ahead for New Order, if not The Spice Girls. They're
still recording. They're enjoying touring. And ? best of all ? they don't
hate each other. Love Will Tear Them Apart? You never know. But here and
now, New Order are here to rock.
New Order headline Big Day Out, Monday January 28 at RAS Showgrounds.
RUINED IN A DAY
New Order: The Film
24 Hour Party People is the new film from British director Michael
Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo, With or Without You). It tells the story
of the death of Joy Division and the birth of New Order; the death of the
infamous Factory Records; the birth of the Happy Monday Madchester scene of
the early nineties; and the death of the Manchester's Hacienda nightclub
owned by New Order. Four Weddings and a Funeral? Three Deaths and Two
Births, more like.
Tony Wilson (head of Factory records) is played by Steve Coogan (aka Alan
Partridge), Bernard Sumner is played by John Simm (from Human Traffic),
with cameos including John Thompson (from the BBC's Fast Show and Cold
Feet), and Mani from The Stone Roses.
A fundamental character in all this, our Hooky is played by Ralph Little
from the BBC's The Royle Family which ? confusingly ? was written by and
starred Caroline ("Mrs Merton") Aherne who ? double-confusingly ? now lives
in Sydney and used to be married to one Peter Hook. Hence, perhaps, the
slight grudge: "I didn't particularly think anything of him," says Hooky of
Ralph Little. "Everyone told me he was so bad, and even his attitude to it
I found very odd, the way that he kept apologising for playing me. He was
fucking miming anyway. When they were doing the film he played the bass on
Transmission and Blue Monday. At the end he said 'I hope no one noticed,
but I played the wrong ones.'"
Check out the latest 24 Hour Party going ons at
How To Play Air-Bass like Hooky
Playing the bass is a skill that takes years to hone, and further years to
perfect. Unless you're Peter Hook, of course, who's developed a
round-the-ankles bass technique all of his own in order to disguise the
fact that "I can't actually really play".
But, with a copy of Get Ready on standby, how do you go about playing
air-bass in the true style of the greatest non-bass player in the world? We
thought we'd better ask him.
Step 1: Locate prop. A bass guitar if you have one, but failing that, a
tennis racket, broom or Hoover will do fine. Worried? Don't be.
"I don't really count myself as playing bass," says Hooky. "I'm not a
technique bass player. As soon as someone says to me can you follow the
root note, it drives me wild." So don't worry about the fact that you can't
Step 2: Attach bass ridiculously low around knees, with string, shoelace,
or any stringy-like alternative that comes to hand. The maxim here is: the
lower the better.
"The thing about playing it higher up," advises Hooky, "is that you make
less mistakes. The other thing is you just look like some twat out of
Orange Juice. I like to throw it about." Pose, therefore, with your tennis
racket, broom or Hoover at will.
Step 3: Don't worry about slap bass. That's for poofs, and the bloke out of
Level 42. Hooky can't do it either. "Level 42? He's not really a melody guy
is he, he's does sort of perk slap shit. I actually got the guy out of A
Certain Ratio to try to teach me slap bass 'cos there was a point where
everyone was slapping and I though 'shit I can't do it.' But I can't. It's
not in my blood. It's not in my soul."