MySpace | Getty Lol Tolhurst, former drummer/keyboardist of the Cure and one…
- Posted on Dec 10th 2010 2:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
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No one understands this better than Peter Hook, Joy Division's founding bassist. Hook has spent much of this year staging top-down performances of the group's 1979 debut, 'Unknown Pleasures,' and while his first thought was to enlist guest vocalists -- folks more capable than himself -- he ultimately changed his mind. Now, Hook is front and center, singing songs too dear to delegate.
"I felt I couldn't really hand it over to another singer," Hook tells Spinner. "It didn't feel right, and I must admit I've been really flattered by the response, because people are saying the spirit and the passion comes across and I don't think you can ask for anything more."
Hook has dabbled in singing over the years, but he's best known for his bass playing. In both Joy Division and its more pop-oriented offshoot, New Order, he pioneered a simple, highly melodic style, approaching his instrument as one might a lead guitar. Hook's influence can be heard in many of today's indie bands, including the Drums, Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing, and while he rates himself a passable singer, he admits he's no Curtis.
"It's certainly not a vocation," Hook says. "My vocation is bass player, but I can sing, and the people that matter to me are the people that tell me it's OK. As long as my wife tells me it's OK, then I'm quite happy to get on with it. I know how to sing, and I can pull it off. It took me a long time to get to the point I can enjoy it. There were a lot of nerves on my part. I felt I was picking up one of the world's most important records, so I was very wary of it. But I'm getting to the point where I'm enjoying it. We just did a wonderful tour of Australia and New Zealand -- it went down an absolute storm. I wish I'd done it 30 years sooner, but in my life now it felt like the right time to do it. It has to feel like the right time."
As one might expect, the 'Unknown Pleasures' shows have proved emotional -- partially because they remind Hook of Curtis, and partially because Hook's son Jack, a bass player in his own right, is part of the band.
"He's 20," Hook says. "He's the exact same age I was [in Joy Division]. It freaks me out."
"Because I'm singing, because I don't trust anyone else to do it justice, there's a lot of feeling and passion involved in what we're doing, and the band is great," he adds, defending the project against those who would accuse him of profiting on Curtis' memory. "They're great friends of mine. If anyone comes to the show and wants their money back because I'm a robbing bastard, they can have their money back."