Volume two of New Order percussionist Stephen Morris’s look back at his life picks up where 2018’s Record Play Pause left off, with Joy Division, rocked by the suicide of Ian Curtis, on the cusp of their transformation into New Order. Readers of the previous book will know Morris is a good storyteller, self-deprecating with a dry sense of humour, and this bodes well for a very interesting and enjoyable read. Of course, he covers the recording of their run of mega selling albums after the success of Blue Monday thrust them in front of a whole new audience, inevitably accompanied by money spinning world tours. There’s also plenty of detail on his obsession with computers, sequencers, synthesisers and drum machines as he relentlessly pursues the latest in electronic technology. A key figure in the narrative is his girlfriend, later band member and wife, Gillian Gilbert, perhaps on the surface a somewhat peripheral figure musically, but actually a vital cog in the band’s sound and of course in Morris’s personal life. All the topics you’d expect are covered – the chaos of Factory Records, the ill fated Hacienda Club, the unexpected death of long time friend and manager Rob Gretton and the inter band fallings out as Hook and Sumner began to dominate the band. Indeed it was this latter circumstance that led to the increasingly long hiatuses in the band’s activities, leaving Morris and Gilbert feeling rather sidelined, although they took advantage of the down time to produce music for TV shows and eventually their ‘The Other Two’ albums. When the band does eventually reconvene, Morris finds himself reluctantly cast in the role of unofficial peacemaker between the two opposing camps in the band, a thankless task if ever there was one! The book effectively ends with the release of the Waiting For The Siren’s Call album and Hook’s decision to leave. I would have liked another chapter or two to bring the story right up to date with the subsequent lawsuit from Hook, Gillian’s return to the band after a long absence and the recording of the Music Complete album – perhaps another time? Notwithstanding that minor gripe, this is a very entertaining read for fans of New Order, which gives some fascinating insights into the band’s dynamics.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
For those who enjoyed working their way through the Spotify playlist at the end of the previous book, Morris has produced another instalment, this one being even longer and more diverse! Full marks awarded for including one of my personal favourites, Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks.
One thing you’ve learned
As Hooky sprayed on his bass cab on his final tour with New Order ‘Two Little Boys Formed A Band. It Fell Apart. The End.’