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Friday, 23 January 2015


New Order split up, sort of, for the first time in the late 80s, splintering into several bands who all sounded a bit like New Order. After ten years together they needed some space from each other. Depending on who you believe a) Bernard had had enough of Hooky's habits and wanted to make music without having to have his bass on everything b) Hooky thought Bernard was a big-headed, lead singer who was trying to take over the band to make dance records. And so began the intermittent sniping at each other which, despite a massively successful reformation in the mid-90s and again in the early 2000s, has led to New Order touring and making records without Peter Hook. And whatever he's done and however he behaves, it doesn't really seem like New Order without Hooky on bass.

Bernard and Johnny Marr recorded a handful of great singles- Getting Away With It and Get The Message- and their first album was a good 'un from start to finish. Having abandoned The Smiths Bernard had to coax the best guitarist of his generation into playing the guitar at all on the debut. The rough and funky guitar break on Feel Every Beat, last song on the album, make 'em wait, is signature Marr. The song also has Barney rapping and getting away it. Just about.

Feel Every Beat (12" mix)

Hooky formed Revenge/took Revenge. He claimed Johnny Marr had promised to work with him first and then left him in the lurch. Now, now children, play nicely. Revenge's debut single was also good, full of sparkling guitars and NO-esque keys and singing. I don't have it on the hard drive at the moment and can't be arsed ripping it so it's video only. The album had a few moments too but nothing as fresh as 7 Reasons. 7 Reasons had an opening line as arch as anything Barney could come up with... 'It's good to be young and gifted again, to see if it all happens twice'.

He went on to find more chart success with Monaco (with David Potts). I was less fussed about Monaco and don't own anything by them- they sounded like a photocopy of New Order. A photocopy of a photocopy of New Order. But I don't begrudge Hooky that. I saw Revenge playing at Cities In The Park, in Heaton Park, in 1991. They played in the middle of the afternoon and sounded like a dance Sisters Of Mercy. Electronic played later, with both Pet Shop Boys turning up. They were much, much better.

Stephen and Gillian shrugged, tutted and then got on with making music as The Other Two. Their debut was also a little slice of joy. Sounds a little dated now I think. Kylie should have covered this. It is in lots of ways a long way from Transmission.

Factory lost New Order and gained three sub-bands, none of whom (Electronic excepted occasionally) could match New Order's record sales. Then Factory went bust, waiting and hoping for the band to put an lp out in time to save the label but it didn't happen. Electronic, Revenge and the Other Two had all put out their records on Factory. By the time they kissed and made up, Factory was gone.


Anonymous said...

Nice mini series here, Swiss Adam. Without Joy Division/New Order the music world of the last 30 odd years would have been bereft of a special kind of genius. I've never really caught up with Gillian and Stephen's side-line but now will try to track it down.

Echorich said...

Thank you SA, I too, somehow feel that without Hooky it's not really New Order. Not even sure I consider it New Order without Gillian.
I loved the first Electronic release, liked those tracks on the next one where Karl Bartos was involved, and thought everything else released quite boring.
Revenge was great - you hit the nail on the head - Sisters Of Mercy making dance music!!! Brilliant. Monaco was a bit too Britpop/New Order influenced for my ears.
The Other Two's work was quite listenable, if a bit unchallenging.
As for Hooky and Barney...I have always been in Hooky's camp. Even back to seeing them in NYC in the very early 80's there was always this dismissive attitude emanating from Sumner and it seemed to cause tension with Hook. That Sumner has sniped about Hook's recreational drug & drink usage has seemed ingenuous since I always considered Sumner the most chemically altered member of the band.

Swiss Adam said...

I agree about it not being NO without Gillian. When I said that an NO fan a while ago he didn't get that view even though he agreed re; not NO without Hooky.

Barney and Hooky- I think they're both in the wrong.

Anonymous said...

a great set of posts