With Joy Division successfully memorialized on CD and the big screen, bassist Peter Hook would like to see the same done for its successor, New Order. But, he says, there are issues.
“Since New Order has split up, we … aren’t really friends yet,” says Hook. Therefore, plans for a New Order box set and expanded reissues — similar to Rhino’s recent treatment of Joy Division’s three initial Factory releases — are on hold. “Because of our relationship,” Hook notes, “we’re struggling to find a way of moving it forward. Everybody is busy doing their next project.”
Hook says there’s a wealth of rarities to populate any New Order sets — particularly a large passel of live recordings that includes the fledgling group’s very first concert in 1980. Also around is a selection of songs left over from sessions for New Order’s final album, 2005’s “Waiting for the Sirens’ Call.”
“We had seven or eight tracks left over,” Hook recalls. “Our idea was to bring them out very quickly after ‘Sirens,” but because we fell out and weren’t enjoying working together, that idea was just pushed further and further back. Those tracks are still there, still unfinished. And they’re as good as ‘Sirens,’ funnily enough.”
Hook says Bernard Sumner is particularly resistant to moving forward on any archival projects. “Bernard sort of dislikes the past; he’s quite open about that. And he dislikes our live past even more,” Hook explains. “It’s quite sad, really. As I’ve gotten older, I think there’s a lot more value to your history being judged.”
Hook isn’t just living in the past, however. He’s moving forward with Freebass, his bass guitar-celebrating group with Smiths alumnus Andy Rourke and Stone Roses/Primal Scream vet Gary “Mani” Mounfield. The group has recently cut tracks with the Charlatans’ Tim Burgess and rapper Howard Marx and is putting together a schedule for 2008 summer European festivals.
“It’s really coming on and we’re very, very pleased,” Hook says. “As nice as looking back is, musicians of my ilk are really interested in looking forward. I feel very positive about Freebass right now.”