Sunday, August 08, 2010

Peter Hook's £600 edition of his 'Hacienda' book + Ltd 10 inch

Question: Hi Dig
As a follow on from the new underground metal fan, what's your opinion on heritage acts seemingly milking their audience dry. For example, Peter Hook has been flogging basses made from the Hacienda dance floor and has recently compiled a 10 inch with his book and is asking for £600.
Is this justified because of the downturn in legally bought music or is it musicians sticking their arm in? From:

Answer: I really don't think Peter Hook has to justify his actions to you or me, or to anyone for that matter. Don't forget that for the £600 you get some amazing original artifacts from the original Hacienda thrown in- a piece of the wooden dancefloor and a piece of the granite bar top, this is genuine gold for fans and collectors alike, and I reckon the bits from a genuinely historical UK music site make it a bloody bargain.Peter Hook himself in the liner notes says it might appear to be a gouging of fans, but the time and effort put into the project and its rarity value makes the high price justifiable.

I've never met the fella nor did I ever visit the Hacienda club when it was going but after witnessing a really early Joy Division show in Derby Ajanta with Ian Curtis doing his trademark whirling dervish dance, it was obvious they were destined to become pretty huge. Curtis' tragic suicide and the subsequent rise of New Order on the musical map led to them-rightly- becoming global superstars.Hooky and his band(s) literally changed the whole landscape of music in the UK for over 20 years. The club is famous because it ushered in "Dance Music" to the UK masses for the very first time.
I really can't fault him for trading on his past as a nostalgia trip for the collectors market.Special editions in limited quantities are the only things selling these day-especially, as you say, nobody buys regular CDs anymore, you can download it or get a legal free stream on Spotify anyway.

His book about the club- The Hacienda- How Not To Run A Club is a genuine must-read for anyone remotely interested in music history. It's brilliant, and after reading it you can't help but admire the bloke. Most bands who sell millions of records typically spend their money on big houses or flash cars, but New Order wanted to build a club and do something for the local friends and early fans instead.

Hooky tells in alarmingly frank detail how the band were so wealthy from record sales that it seemed a wheeze to set up a brand new club in Manchester, more or less on a whim, just so they could have a drink and a laugh with their mates in cool, contemporary surroundings, while listening to the latest house music imported from Chicago.

I never bothered treking up to the North West to see it, because the local Nottingham punk/post-punk club The Garage had DJ Graeme Park- he was among the first to start to play House music in the UK, so what was once a cool hangout to hear decent post-punk switched to this new style House almost overnight. I disliked the scene and the music, it was just 'disco' to my ears, so I stopped going. The Hacienda website has great interviews with Graeme Park and more of the original DJ's. By co-incidence, some of the earliest grindcore shows by Napalm Death and Heresy took place at the same 'Garage' club later in the decade. Nowadays its a late night cocktail bar called `Lizard Lounge'.

Back to the Hacienda - unwittingly the New Order co-owners blew millions on the project because high profile club-running is a seriously cut-throat business.For a few years the club and its policy of flying in DJ's from the early Chicago house scene was achingly hip and fashionable, which led to its worldwide fame and success. On the flipside that fame led to extremely violent gangland/ drug dealer type characters gradually infesting the club. The club didn't keep pace with the rapidly evolving dance music scene either, sticking with an 80s House groove while ignoring the 90's UK jungle or German trance/techno scenes. This along with the regular outbreaks of violence eventually caused its slow downward spiral to bankruptcy.

Hey- if you really have cash to splash on a nostalgia trip, for about £50 you can also watch Hooky and his band playing the entire Unknown Pleasures album at the Vintage event at Goodwood racetrack next weekend August 14th.

Watch Peter Hook explain the clubs demise on BBC TV interview

And re-live that Hacienda late 80's boom period by checking the Stakker clip below.It was the period when straight up Chicago House music spawned the more radical UK Acid House scene.A new breed of young UK producers sped up the house beat and added squelchy Roland 303 "acid" noises to create 'Acid House'. Stakker defined the sound.

Stakker- Humanoid


Anonymous said...

I like how it just turned into an ad for Peter Hook

Killing Joke said...

Thanks for your thoughts

It's clear some fans have concerns regarding the "new" Hacienda / Unknown Pleasures legacy being roundly cashed in on at the moment. Personally, I think it's a bit sad watching your hero flogging bits of dancefloor and four thousand quid. It doesn't change that I'm still a huge fan of his work previously and of course yeah, he's entitled to earn a crust.

Before someone says if I don't like it I don't have to buy it. Yes, I know and I won't be. I bought the hardback book (a good read worth releasing), had it signed, bought the Hac compilations... I reckon I know enough about that club now. I don't need a guitar made out of the dancefloor or a china set made out of the urinals. I'm sorted ta.

Anonymous said...

One fact you mised out peter hook accoring to mick harris on the "scum" dvd was a big influence on the basslines of one mr nic bullen, and if you listen to side a of scum or scorn particuarly on evanenesance and a few others it shows.