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Andy Rourke of The Smiths Talks About Peter Hook and His Favorite Joy Division and New Order Music

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Try to imagine one of your favorite Smiths’ songs – say, “This Charming Man,” “Cemetery Gates,” “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” “Barbarism Begins at Home,” or any of them, really – without Andy Rourke’s signature bass work and you’ll have a hard time.

This is because what made The Smiths such a veritable melody machine was that Rourke and his bandmates – singer Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, and drummer Mike Joyce – worked together as a cohesive unit, whose seamless songs are stunningly beautiful, inimitable, and instantly catchy. Their four studio albums and singles collection – 1984’s The Smiths, 1985’s Meat Is Murder, 1986’s The Queen Is Dead, 1987’s Strangeways, Here We Come, and 1987’s “Louder Than Bombs” – are all the evidence you need.

 

When bassists Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division and Mani of The Stone Roses decided to join forces as the group Freebass in 2005, they admired Rourke’s playing so much that they asked him to play with them.

Three bassists in one group? You bet – Mani handled the low parts, Rourke the middle, and Hooky the high, until Rourke left the band.

Freebass played together until 2010, with Rourke contributing to tracks on the EP Two Worlds Collide and the LP It’s a Beautiful Life.

 

It turns out that the admiration is mutual. Rourke admires Hooky’s music just as much as Hooky admires his.

Rourke told Stereo Embers that he “loves ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’” as his favorite song by Joy Division, which isn’t surprising considering that the 1980 single possesses the same melodicism that The Smiths specialized in.

But Rourke also likes the dance-oriented material in Hooky’s catalogue, with 1989’s dance-inflected Technique being his favorite New Order album.

 

Having worked with Morrissey, Rourke knows masterful lyrics when he hears them, so it’s no surprise that he’s a fan of Hooky’s Joy Division bandmate Ian Curtis’ words. When asked for his favorite Curtis lyrics, Rourke simply said, “I love ‘She’s Lost Control’.”

Rourke went on to say that he “loves all of Hooky’s bass solos,” which is high praise when one considers Rourke’s own wonderful playing.

Finally, Rourke told us that “Dead Souls” is his favorite Ian Curtis vocal performance.