Judging by the stories I’ve heard from people who’ve worked with Peter Hook and interviews with him I’ve read, the guy is about as awful at being a person as he is amazing at writing bass lines—i.e., he is apparently pretty much a shitty dude. So my first reaction to hearing that Hook was embarking on a tour playing songs by Joy Division with a band that includes neither of his former Joy Division bandmates—who recently reached some sort of breaking point after several decades of putting up with him and finally booted him out of New Order—was to mentally roll my eyes and make barfing motions.
Earlier today, after I remembered that Hook’s tour desecrating Ian Curtis’s memory makes its Chicago appearance tonight at the Metro, I tried to look at it again from his side. Your old band, which ended tragically with the death of a friend and maybe never reached its true potential, becomes 20-some years after the fact one of the single most important influences on an entire decade’s worth of new music—and suddenly far more popular than it’s ever been. The temptation must be insane to make a quick swoop around America collecting what are basically piles of money waiting to be picked up. You could forgive somebody, especially one personally estranged from the former members of the group, for just saying “fuck it” and going for the payday regardless of how tasteless it might seem from the outside. I almost empathized.