Tag Archives: Peter Hook

Peter Hook Sues Former Bandmates For Millions

Former Joy Division and New Order bass player Peter Hook is suing his former New Order bandmates for millions of dollars.

The legendary Joy Division bass player claims he is at least £2.3 million out of pocket as a result of “underhand’ tactics by “former friends” Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris.  According to the Manchester Evening News Hook has launched a court action in the High Court, accusing his former bandmates of secretly “pillaging” the group’s name and starving him of cash.

Hook claims that the trio set up a new company which “asset stripped” the New Order name and has earned almost £8 million in the last four years.  Hook claims that only a tiny percentage of that money has made its way to him.

Consequence of Sound reports that in 2011, current New Order members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert dissolved their company with Hook, Vitalturn Company Ltd, and formed New Order Ltd to handle licensing of the band’s name and music. As a member of Vitalturn, Hook was a 25% shareholder and received 12.5% in royalties and other income from merchandising and performances. Through New Order Ltd., Hook claims to receive only 1.25%.

Hook’s attorney Mark Wyeth said “this is not about musical direction or musical differences or personality clashes, but first and foremost about wrongdoers taking control of a company and stripping it of its property.”

The Judge in the High Court has thrown out New Order’s claim that Hook’s “true motive was to get back into the band or spite the defendants.”  Hooks case against New Order will now go to trial.

Mr Hook, who now performs with his son in the group Peter Hook and the Light, says underhand moves by his former bandmates licensed New Order to a new company they formed in secret and the move exiled him from his musical past and cost him a fortune.

Ian Curtis

Don Your Black Arm Band: Pay Homage to the 35th Anniversary Of Ian Curtis’ Death

I can hardly believe that today marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis.  In many ways it seems like yesterday.  Joy Division where the band that kept me sane during the Falklands conflict in 1982.  Their dark mournful post punk sound provided me with an anchor.

Whilst I didn’t really discover the band until after Curtis’s death I still love their albums and I was lucky enough to see Peter Hook and the Light perform a set consisting almost exclusively at last years Bearded Theory festival.

Tonight Peter Hook and the light are playing a show in an old Church in Macclesfield during which they will play Joy Divisions entire 48 song back catalogue in front of 500 people.  Man how I would love to be there.

The proceeds from the gig will be donated to the The Epilepsy Society.  Curtis was just 23 when he took his own life.  I often wonder what the music industry would look like today if Curtis was still around.  I have always been convinced that Joy Division were on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, they certainly left  mark, but how much bigger would that mark had been if Curtis was still with us.

RIP – Ian Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980)

75 Essential Albums – Day #12 Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

Here goes with day 12 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

Released in 1979 by factory records at the tail end of the punk rock revolution Unknown Pleasures is quite simply a masterpiece,  It was a dark, threatening, disturbing angry masterpiece.  I suspect that if Ian Curtis had not hanged himself in 1980 we would now be looking back on a vast cannon of work by one of the best bands ever to emerge in the UK.  As it is Joy Divisions reputation has reached legendary status.  I was lucky enough to catch Peter Hook and the Light earlier this year in a set consisting almost entirely of Joy Division songs.  Whilst the exquisite torture of Ian Curtis’s vocal could never be replicated the gig was one of the highlights of my band watching career.

Unknown Pleasures is an intoxicating mixture of musical triumph and personal tragedy that just sweeps you away with its power and intensity.  Hooks have thumping basslines, Sumners shrieking guitar and Curtis’s tortured vocals combine to create and atmosphere quite unlike anything I have experienced before or since.  Whilst I was in the Navy I served in the South Atlantic and it is no exaggeration to say that losing myself in Joy Divisions Music saved my sanity.

The album’s raw power is still gripping, most notably on the haunting ‘Day Of The Lords’ and ‘She’s Lost Control’, which Curtis, who was epileptic, wrote in sympathy after hearing that a girl he knew with the same condition had died.  Even the more upbeat moments on the album make you feel every pained thought in Curtis’s tortured mind.

This album really broke the mould.  40 minutes of pain filled torturous brilliance.  I doubt we will ever see its like again.

Oops just realised I accidentally included a pingback to the daily post by accident.  Sorry I was trying to do too many things at once.

Bearded Theory

This year was the 7th Bearded Theory and the festival has been on my ‘To Do’ List for a while.  I didn’t think that I would be able to go this year because my lovely wife just couldn’t take any more time off work and my son was still at school.  Some of the other festival chat groups were buzzing with excitement as the festival approached and I gave wistfully at the Bearded Theory website rueing the fact that some of my favourite bands were playing and I would not be there.  I had written off attending until just two days before the event.  We were having dinner when my wife mentioned that she had no idea what to buy me for my Birthday (which is in a week).   I suggested tickets for Bearded Theory.  After a brief conversation it was clear I would have to go alone.  It didn’t take me long to decide so Wednesday found me loading up my Camper Van with my festival essentials, mostly beer, red wine and Whiskey (a very fine single malt) waterproofs, walking boots and wellies.  I did find room for Sausages, Bacon and eggs 🙂

Thursday morning saw me jumping into my trusty Camper Van and heading for Catton Hall on the border between  Derbyshire and Staffordshire.  The  journey was uneventful and I arrived in good time at the festival site.  I was immediately struck by two things.  Firstly the site was already becoming muddy and secondly what a superb site it was.  The festival site is literally yards from the banks of the river Trent and is a very beautiful location.    The approaches to the site were well signposted and it was very easy to find, though I did choke a little at having to pay £10 for 5 minutes on the M6 Toll Road.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On arrival I was greeted by friendly smiling stewards and soon had my armband, parking pass and a place to park, all without even having to get out of my Van.  I was feeling great as I got out of the van and said hello to my neighbours.  Getting friendly with your neighbours is essential at festivals, it helps to ensure that both they and you will recognise people who are out of place if thieves are operating and makes for a great atmosphere.  By pure coincidence when I introduced myself to my immediate neighbours I found they knew me from my posts to the Beautiful Days chat Group on Facebook.  Within minutes I had been handed a beer and we were helping each other to set up and chatting way like old friends.  Festivals are like that.

Music Started before 5pm on Thursday Evening and I was looking forward to seeing a couple of old festival favourites Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs and Dr & The  Medics.  Hobo Jones, Miser Bill and Wino Tyrone treated us to their usual madcap skiffle versions of everything from Greendays’ ‘American Idiot’ to Led Zeppelin.  They are a brilliantly entertaining festival band who never fail to put a smile on your face.  Dr & The Medics are not really my cup of tea to be honest but they did put on a very entertaining show and they did like to remind us that ‘Spirit in the Sky’ wasn’t their only hit as their single ‘Burn’ got to number 22 in the charts.    I was very taken by Charlie Bateman from the band Thinker.  I was expecting to see the band as that was what was advertised in the programme.  Charlie played a short set of self penned songs which made excellent listening.  I was very impressed with his guitar playing.

Friday was always set to be my day by the main stage as I wanted to see every band on the line up.  The day was opened by one of my favourite bands the fantastic Leatherat.  The band played their usual high octane set of  Folk- Rock with an understandable focus on their brilliant ‘Snake Eyes’ album though a few old tunes such as ‘Large One’ were revisited and pleased the crowd, most of whom were dancing a singing along to every tune.  Next up were the Membranes fronted by the inimitable John Robb.  The bands driving punk inspired rhythms soon had me dancing in the mud.  John complained about the heat and had soon stripped off his shirt and leaped off the stage over the barrier and into the crowd.   Great theatre, great fun.  The punk and Ska rhythms of Culture shock and Dub Pistols had nigh on worked me into a frenzy before the highlight of my weekend arrived in the shape of Peter Hook and the Light.  I will confess that I couldn’t imagine Hooky being able to pull off a set of Joy Division tunes without the voice of the tortured genius that was Ian Curtis.    It didn’t take long before I was convinced.  The driving bass lines, the almost overwhelming pulse of the drums, the gruff dangerous edge to the vocals it was all present as Hook and his band moved through classic Joy division songs like  Shadow Play, Transmission, She’s lost control, Isolation and even Love will tear us apart.  If my weekend had ended there I would have gone home a very happy man.  Joy Division were a huge part of the soundtrack to my youth but unfortunately I never got the chance to see them live and with Ian Curtis having tragically ended his own life aged just 23 I never will.  This however was a very good substitute, an evening I will never forget.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe evening on the main stage was closed by Carter USM.  Now I have a confession to make.  I have never (at least in my conscious memory) seen carter perform before.  Bizarre considering they have a huge cult following and have been festival favourites for many years.  Almost everyone I spoke to was looking forward to their last ever festival performance with very eager anticipation and after their set everyone I spoke to was raving about it.  Perhaps I am in a minority of one but (whilst I hate to admit it)  I didn’t get it, I didn’t like them.  Perhaps it was a sense of anti-climax after Peter Hook, perhaps it was the rain dampening my spirits, perhaps I was starting to come down after a huge amount of booze, perhaps a combination of all of these things.  More likely it was because I could see two guys on stage playing guitars and yet I could hear Synth’s, Bass & Drums.  This means sampling and Drum Machines etc.  I have just never been able to get on with this style of music maybe because it means everything is contrived before the artist gets on stage, any opportunity for spontaneity is removed and to me it somehow feels like I am being cheated.  I also felt that the backdrop of high power spotlights was over the top and it started to give me headache.  As I say most people loved them so I daresay I am in a minority.  I left halfway through their set and took my self off to Gail’s Something Else Tea Tent.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Tea Tent was the worst kept secret of the festival small, intimate chilled and acoustic.  The vibe was very laid back with the lineup quite fluid and posted on a blackboard outside the tent.  This was the area where you were guaranteed to rub shoulders with some of the artists and where a number of the artists who had played on other stages came to play acoustic sets.  If Gail isn’t careful her little secret festivals will be secret no more.  Now for a confession!!  One act I was determined to see over the weekend was Gaz Brookfield.  Gaz is rapidly becoming a festival legend as he puts on a superb show with acoustic tunes about life that would not be out of place in a Levellers set.  His set was due to be on at midnight and I was in place ready for it when I fell asleep.  The combination of too much booze, a long day and too much excitement meant I just could not keep my eyes open.  As a result I toddled off to bed before his set started.  To make matters worse everyone told me the next day how brilliant it was!!

I awoke on Saturday morning to very heavy rain, strong winds and a distinct chill in the air.  I was wasn’t too concerned to be honest.  Friday had been my main stage day and Saturday was set to be a day in a large tent (Tornado Town) as most of the bands I wanted to see where playing there.  After a hearty breakfast (well OK Lunch) I set off to the arena.  I had donned full waterproofs and wellies and must admit to feeling a little despondent as I framed through the mud.  By this stage the whole site was a sea of mud and the constant passage of thousands of feet was not making things better.  We are talking serious mud, the type that gets everywhere.  My waterproof trousers quickly turned from black to brown all the way up to my crotch.  It was sticky horrible mud and my mind turned to thoughts about how difficult it might be to get off the site on Monday morning.  There were hundreds of Camper Vans in my field and I was sure that the passage of all those heavy vehicles trying to leave was not going to help.  To be honest this problem should have been anticipated by the organisers.  We have just had the wettest winter on record, a very wet spring and the forecast for the weekend was horrible.  It should have been anticipated that this would cause problems and the busiest thoroughfares could have had tracks laid before the festival started.  They did try to rectify the issues as the weekend wore on but it was too late.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I started my Day at the  ‘Locked in the woods’ stage.  This was a great idea.  A small stage on a woodland glade surrounded by trees and decked out with lights etc.  Logs had been cut for people to sit on.  It was a very pretty area.  I was really keen to see Doozer McDooze  another who is sure to be a favourite on the festival scene for years to come.  Doozers blend of politically motivated songs has been described by none other than Tom Robinson as being ‘like a scrap between the Pogues and the Levellers being broken up by Billy Bragg’.  High Praise indeed. I love Doozers take on politicians, especially in his aptly titled song ‘I think Politicians should be put on Minimum Wage’.   It is great to sees guy on stage who so thoroughly enjoys what he is doing.  Something he shares with Leatherat and my next Festival highlight the mighty Ferocious Dog.   The dogs played in Tornado Town which was thankfully covered.  Fiddle player Dan Booth had warned fans to get into the tent early as it only held 2000.  It was a fair warning because  the venue was mobbed by the bands ever growing band of followers known as hell hounds.  Now saying that Ferocious Dog gigs get a little bit raucous is akin to saying that it got a little bit damp at this years Bearded Theory.  The rain during Saturday was of biblical proportions it hammered out of the jet black sky driven by crashing thunder and heavenly pyrotechnics.  So came ferocious dogs set, carried along in a frenzy driving guitar, crashing drums and punctuated by flashes of fiddle.  This band are good, no scratch that they are superb good enough to ensure that I missed most of the Wonder stuffs set and a chunk of the Stranglers set to ensure I saw all of theirs..  Their brand of high energy Folk – Punk is right up my street and I am sure the band have a very bright future on the festival scene.  I can’t wait to see them again later in the year.

I did manage to see most of the Stranglers set and have to admit they far exceeded my
expectations.  They played a superb set which included Nice and Sleazy, Get a grip, Peaches, Golden Brown and No More Heroes to name but a few.  Whilst I loved the Stranglers set I must confess I was put out to see that their T Shirts were on sale in the Merchandise tent at £20.  Most of the other bands had priced their T shirts at £10 – £12 and the festival T shirts were similarly priced.  I find it ironic that a band who grew out of the punk & new wave era are now embracing the type of commercialism that the punk movement rebelled against.

I finally made my journey back to Tornado Town through the pouring rain to catch the end of a set by The Men they couldn’t Hang.  I had seen them at festivals before and really enjoyed them, to be honest I had sort of forgotten how good they are live.  My final act of this years Bearded Theory was a set by the marvellous Hayseed Dixie.  Now if you have never seen this band they are hard to describe.  A lot of their music is cover versions of famous songs but performed in a bluegrass country fashion.  Now if you imagine Motorheads ‘Ace of Spades’,  Queens ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ done with crazy banjo’s mandolin and fiddle etc you begin to get the idea.  Of course no Hayseed Dixie set would be complete without the Bizarre “I’m Keeping your Poop in a jar”.

On Sunday morning I made the decision to come home a day early even though it meant I would miss Mark Chadwick and Dreadzone.  I was worried about the bank Holiday Monday traffic and getting off the site after a nights heavy rain (not very Rock and Roll I know).  My final comments relate to three closely related subjects.  The bar, the food and the toilets.  The bar was good value with most drinks under £3.50 which is reasonable for those of us who live in the South of England and are used to paying more.  The for was generally £7 – £8.50 a portion which was a bit more than last years prices at the festivals I attended but I suspect will be the norm this year.  There was a good range of food stalls, something for everyone.  My one criticism of Bearded Theory is the toilets. There were nowhere near enough of them and they were not cleaned regularly enough (especially overnight).  Suffice to say they were the worst I have seen in some time at a festival.

So that was my weekend at Bearded Theory.  In all I saw a total of  28 Bands, made some new friends and had a brilliant time.  I am already looking forward to a return visit (hopefully in better weather) next year.