Peter Hook Details Joy Division’s Meeting After Ian Curtis’ Death
Joy Division bassist Peter Hook recently looked back on the moments that followed the death of lead singer Ian Curtis, explaining how the rest of the band soldiered on in the face of tragedy.
It was May 18, 1980, when Curtis – Joy Division’s talented yet tormented frontman – died by suicide. The band was preparing to release its sophomore album, Closer, and was about to embark on its first U.S. tour. Those plans immediately came to a tragic halt.
“We went to the inquest [a formal investigation by police into the death] on a Thursday and we all went out for dinner afterwards, and nobody ate much,” Hook recalled on the Vinyl Guide podcast, looking back on the days after Curtis died. “Rob Gretton [band manager] simply said to us, ‘Well, what do you want to do, you three? Are you gonna go back to work or are you gonna try and carry on?’ And unanimously we said, ‘We’re gonna try to carry on.’”
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In agreement, Hook, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris wasted little time pushing things forward.
“We were in the practice place the next Monday,” Hook remembered. “I wrote ‘Dreams Never End’ on Sunday afternoon in my back bedroom at home. So we went in and we had the first New Order track, really, with ‘Dreams Never End.’”
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After rebranding as New Order, the group went on to score several major hits throughout the ‘80s, including “Blue Monday.” Meanwhile, Joy Division's material remained heavily influential, impacting the careers of generations of musicians.
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In hindsight, Hook expressed regret for how quickly he and his bandmates moved on following Curtis’ death.
“We very cleverly buried our grief, so my therapist keeps telling me. She says, ‘You never faced it at the time.’ And she thinks it reoccurs and fires back probably on all of us all throughout our career because we never took any time off,” Hook explained. “We never took any time to grieve. And I think the thing is that sadly, as an older person, you realize how important grieving is, and also what a mark of respect it is as well.”
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Still, the bassist, who now performs Joy Division and New Order material with his band Peter Hook & the Light, remains eternally thankful for the time he had with Curtis.
“I’m very happy that I knew Ian,” Hook explained. “I’m deliriously grateful for the gift that he gave me, which has enabled me to do all the things and have a wonderful life. And probably my only regret of it all is that he didn’t get to have that life. Didn’t get to see his child grow up. Missed out on all those wonderful, wonderful things that at that age we knew nothing about.”
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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff