Bernard Sumner pioneered the post-punk movement when he broke onto the scene as a founding member of Joy Division, and later as the front man of New Order. Heavily influencing U2 and The Cure while paving the way for post-punk revivalists like Interpol, Sumner's has left an indelible mark on punk and rock music that endures to this day.
Famously reluctant to speak out, for the first time Sumner tell his story, a vivid and illuminating account of his childhood in Manchester, the early days of Joy Division, and the bands subsequent critical and popular successes. Sumner recounts Ian Curtis' tragic death on the eve of the band's first American tour, the formation of breakout band New Order, and his own first-hand account of the ecstasy and the agony of the 1970s Manchester music scene.
Witty, fascinating and surprisingly moving, Chapter and Verse is an account of insights and spectacular personal revelations, including an appendix containing a complete transcript of a recording made of Ian Curtis experiencing hypnotic regression under the Sumner's amateur guidance and tensions between himself and former band member Peter Hook.
"Los Angeles produced the Beach Boys; Manchester produced Joy Division," writes former Joy Division band member Sumner. The Beach Boys' music was full of "warmth and sunshine," while Joy Division's music was "cold, sparse, and, at times, bleak," like Manchester. In meandering style, Sumner tells a story that is also sparse and bleak. In the absence of a stable family life, Sumner and his friends, including his future bandmate Peter Hook, discover music on the rough-and-tumble street corners of Manchester; he acknowledges that the music from the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was the first music to "knock him sideways." From his first gig at the Electric Circus in Manchester he learns how to be a performer, and the songs that make up Joy Division's most famous album, Unknown Pleasures, grow out of that gig. Singer Ian Curtis's suicide on the eve of the band's first American tour dramatically alters the musical landscape for Joy Division, but out of the ashes of that band rises New Order, fronted by Sumner and Hook, whose music grows increasingly popular through the 1980s. Rock and roll success leads to excess, as the members of New Order descend into endless partying and drug abuse. Sumner's writing can flatten at times, but to fans of Joy Division and New Order, this will be a mere respite from an otherwise good story,.