“Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division” – US Media Reactions And Reviews

Posted on Monday, 11 February 2013

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Following a very successful run of media and events in the United States for the publication of "Unknown Pleasures - Inside Joy Division",the reaction to the book Stateside has been very favourable and Hooky has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Rolling Stone and other top US press outlets. For links to some of the coverage and quotes see below.

To purchase the American Edition by It Books, the direct Amazon link is here - http://amzn.to/11aB6kI - with Barnes & Noble here - http://bit.ly/14tvjVf

Inside Joy Division – United States Media Reaction – Jan / Feb 2012

Rolling Stone

“The book does not deal exclusively with the group's dark image and music; there are some light-hearted and funny moments in the book, including the musicians' practical jokes on each other and on their fellow touring band the Buzzcocks. While Hook describes Curtis as "poetic and romantic and soulful," he also writes that Curtis "was still a guy in a band and he liked to do what guys do in a band. Which is to cop off with girls and have a laugh."


New York Times

“I recently got offered the tape of that session with Rushent. Eden Studios was taken over by a firm of solicitors, and left in a storeroom, hidden in the bowels of it, were the Joy Division masters. One of the staff members claimed to have them and offered me the tape through a third party. He wanted £50,000 for it. This was in 2006 or something. Even then there was no way on earth you could make a record and hope to recoup 50 grand. I offered him a finder’s fee, two grand, but he said no, and I’ve never heard from him since; it’s never appeared. Ah, well. It’s a funny thing, people trying to sell you back bits of your own past. But I’m getting used to it, to be honest.”


Los Angeles Times

Bassist Peter Hook offers a vivid portrait of his influential English post-punk group and bandmate Ian Curtis. It is a solmetimes heartbreaking, always engrossing memoir...a honest, punchy and rought-hewn document of that period "Unknown Pleasures : Inside Joy Division".

"Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division" is a portal into a vivid moment in rock history as well as the life and times of a working band (and) Hook is the perfect guide.

He provides a raw, detailed chronological account of those days with an admirable directness, Hook tells his story without any preciousness — in fact, he seems to revel in his abrasiveness throughout (in) this sometimes heartbreaking, always engrossing memoir.....


Wall Street Journal

"Unknown Pleasures" is Joy Division bassist Peter Hook's tragicomic account of the rise and fall of his former group. Mr. Hook tells a raffishly charming and, in the end, heartbreaking story, full of the burning ambition and abject blundering that accompany any band's road to glory. "I'm a working-class yobbo," he declares, and he delivers proletarian pragmatism in an affable tone dosed with British slang and copious cussing. Yobbos, it turns out, can make revelatory, enduring art.

To his great credit, Mr. Hook doesn't revise his life story in retrospect, and his candid, plain-spoken approach is a valuable complement to previous portrayals of the band: two romanticized biopics (Anton Corbijn's "Control" and Michael Winterbottom's "24 Hour Party People"), a profound film documentary (Grant Gee's "Joy Division") and the gloomy but potent memoir by Curtis's widow, Deborah ("Touching From a Distance")—as well as 30 years' worth of cerebral critical appreciations by outsiders.

Just about anyone who has known a suicide obsesses about what they didn't do. But, as Mr. Hook notes in a moving passage, "What's harder—what's much, much harder—is to accept what you actually did do." Still, it is hard to pin too much blame on Mr. Hook or the band—they were all in their very early 20s, after all, and northern England in the late 1970s wasn't the most enlightened time or place. "Great thing, isn't it, hindsight?" Mr. Hook remarks. As "Unknown Pleasures" shows, hindsight truly can be great. It is also heart-rending, ruthless and redemptive.



Joy Division belongs to myth these days. There have been two movies and several books, designer sneakers, and even Mickey Mouse shirts designed in the band’s distinctive look. Interest grows with every new boxed set, or as every gloomy and atmospheric band from Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails to Interpol talks about their importance.



“Hook delivers the secret of the oft-imitated, magically ineffable Joy Division sound. Oddly, it was Curtis, the band's lone non-instrumentalist, who deserves the credit. "[Curtis] said, 'Oh, Hooky, when you play high [on the neck of the bass guitar], it sounds really good. We should work on that. Barney [Sumner], you play the bar chords. Hooky, you play high and Steve do some of them jungle drums . . . That was how we got it — the Joy Division sound."


Washington Post

Joy Division bassist Hook delivers touching, insightful memoir about seminal band

“Unknown Pleasures” works on a completely different level, though. At its core, the book is more character study than band bio.

"And for that, the pleasure is all ours."



Hook is reaping the rewards of his new life as a musician and author. When "Hacienda" was delivered, he walked around with it. It "had a lot more gravity than having an LP." It has also opened a dialogue with his fans. When he was in a band, he didn't have a lot of contact with the fans. Now when he does events for his books, he's meeting people face to face.

"It's wonderful with them telling stories about how important it was and how it (Joy Division) was part of the soundtrack of their life. Which is interesting because it's the same thing with me with Led Zeppelin or David Bowie. That's the same feeling I get, so it's really nice to hear."


LA Record


Dig Boston

You’ve got to trust what you’re doing, and believe in what you’re doing yourself. As long as enough people like it so that you can carry on performing, that’s all that matters.



“I was a little bit wary of debunking all the myths. I just got sick of reading books about Joy Division by people who weren’t there, and they always seem to focus on the dark and mysterious intensity of Joy Division, which is something that whilst I appreciate, I can’t say that I recognize it completely.”


Associated Press / Yahoo Music

What sets Hook's memoir apart is its painful honesty and well-positioned focus on Curtis, who is, without a doubt, the star of the show (and the book).

"We were individuals, me, Steve and Bernard," Hook writes. "The glue that held us together, the driving force of the band, was Ian."

It may sound strange to read that, considering the critical and popular success the lads enjoyed following Curtis' passing, but the pages of "Unknown Pleasures" are filled with equal parts reverence for him and regret over what could have been done to prevent his demise.


Boston Globe

For music fans of a certain age and outlook — old and misanthropic — there is nothing quite like Joy Division, the brooding yet strangely buoyant British band that oozed from the punk movement of the 1970s.

In “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division,” a new and, for fans at least, entertaining memoir by bassist Peter Hook, we learn that a group famous for seeming oblique and arty, dangerous and doomed, was actually an unpretentious lot, just four working-class lads from Salford, a suburb of Manchester. OK, maybe this isn’t a revelation but Hook, whose low-slung bass laid the bedrock for the band’s songs, has a credibility and perspective the others do not.


Big Wheel

“Well ya know the thing about using music as an inspiration is that the art in it is what you finish with isn’t what you started with. I was doing an interview earlier today where “Shadowplay” which was inspired by The Velvet Undergrounds “Ocean” was played and then “Ocean” was played by the interviewer, they were poles apart. But we did start with The Ocean by The Velvet Underground as inspiration. And that’s the skill I suppose you would have to say, you start with, something like every musician does”


Big Wheel At LA Signing Review


Boston Phoenix Michael Marotta Interview


Punk News

“It means a great deal when someone says "You were an inspiration." It's nice to entertain and inspire. I'm a little bit too humble in that I'd never say those kinds of things about myself, but I am very proud of what I've done.

“Bass is always considered the instrument that hobbles behind the guitar and doesn't get above its station. I'm delighted to say"Let's go to the fucking bollocks!"With playing music, it is all about ego. And not only did I have an ego, I was a self-taught musician who made some great riffs.”


Yahoo Music Lori Majewski Interview

For all the morbidity surrounding Joy Division, Hook manages a colorful and surprisingly upbeat read for much of the book. Indeed, the charming, straight-talking, working-class Englishman serves up a number of laddish, laugh-out-loud moments as his band ascends from Sex Pistols-inspired punks in the late '70s to the indie-rock trailblazers whose canon of classics include “Atmosphere,” “Transmission,” and the oft-covered “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

Unknown Pleasureshas been embraced by fans looking for the gritty, detailed reality behind what is usually romanticized as a Shakespearian musical myth.


Huffington Post – Mark Hillary Interview


Dayton Daily News


Joy Division fans will anticipate that tragedy that haunts this influential band’s brief existence, knowing how this story will end. It is still an enthralling read. The author’s own personal memoir serves as a prelude to the timeline that delineates the band’s formation, performances and recording sessions....This book is a smorgasbord of anecdotes and revelations.

2 Comments (Hide)

1 | oaklandishdetroiter | 7th February 2013 at 08:19

I won't be able to read the book for a while, but CONGRATULATIONS on the book, it's gorgeous!

I have to comment that at the 31 Jan event in San Francisco, I saw something wonderful: a little girl in a Hello Kitty shirt dancing to Joy Division with a huge grin on her face. She was with (I presume) her dad at the cafe; they weren't there for the event, so I'm guessing it was just her gut response to music she was likely hearing for the first time. And people call JD dark. I say if a little girl in a Hello Kitty shirt is dancing to it with a big grin on her face, it's not dark or depressing music. It's just great rock'n'roll!

2 | peteh67 | 24th February 2013 at 21:13

Yes i echo the the thoughts and comments that JD NO and the other asociated bands that Hooky and co have progressed with have become a definitive sound track to my life and like minded souls i meet along the way ! Can not wait for the The Brook (Soton gig) Will pick up a copy of the book , still reading /enjoying The Hacienda!

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