Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Order: 1980-2007

It's taken me a while to process the demise of one of my favorite bands, New Order.

Formed in 1980 in the shadow of Joy Division after singer Ian Curtis' suicide, New Order -- Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris... later joined by Gillian Gilbert -- went on to make what would shape dance and "alternative" music for 25 years.

Their minimalist, non-image intrigued me for years, and the fact that Bernard Sumner COULD NOT SING amused me to no end. But the layers of electronics and Peter Hook's bass line-as-melody had emotion (at least to me), which captured and held me. I'm not the only one... Gwen Stefani did whatever she could to get Bernard Sumner and peter Hook to appear on her first solo album "Love.Angel.Music.Baby.", in the form of the track "The Real Thing," which subsequently sounds very New Order-esque. And lonely Smashing Pumpkin leader Billy Corgan appeared on "Turn My Way" (guitar & vocals) from "Get Ready," and even toured with the band in 2001 when Gillian Gilbert took leave.

I started with "Brotherhood" in 1986 and when the band released Technique in '89, I went to Tower Records at midnight to be among the first to get it. I got all the side projects, too: Electronic, with Bernard Sumner, The Smiths' Johnny Marr and some help from the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, as well as Peter Hook's side band, Revenge.

My New Order devotion slipped slightly when they recorded the official song for the England national football team (er... soccer to us Yanks) in 1990 for their World Cup campaign, released an "eh" album in 1993 ("Republic"), and then went on a hiatus. But I got to meet and interview that motherfuckin' PIMP Peter Hook for his latest endeavor, the band Monaco and its one album, and I was giddy. He's a sweetheart, and kind to his fans. Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris got married and released a side project too, aptly called The Other Two. Then came a "best of" CD, but then a good album called "Get Ready," which I happily spun endlessly.

But then another "eh" album and another compilation... and the only person seemingly wanting New Order to continue was Peter Hook. It took a while for them to finally admit officially that it was over, and they did, in June.

I came across this video, for "The Perfect Kiss" -- directed by Jonathan Demme -- which, to me is the essence of New Order. Four painfully shy people making "cold" electronic music in a small room. Bernard Sumner can't sing (LOL), Gillian Gilbert looks like she wants to cower in the corner, Stephen Morris does his best to ignore the camera, and Peter Hook is the MAN with his low-slung bass and electronic drumming. Barney is even hitting that cowbell OFF (more cowbell!! LOL), but it's all so charming.

"Tonight I should have stayed at home/playing with my pleasure zone..."

I came across this clip too, for perhaps my favorite New Order song, "Temptation." It's from 1984, and Barney looks "happy" in those white shorts. Peter Hook is still the motherfuckin' MAN:

Sigh. New Order, you will be missed.

No comments: