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Hello, My Name Is Bernard

| October 30, 2009

Q&A with Bernard Sumner

Bad Lieutenant - 2009

IE: Do you look at Bad Lieutenant as a continuation of your legacy or an entirely new act altogether?
Bernard Sumner:
I look at it as a new band, though there are some faces people already know. [Drummer] Steven [Morris] was in New Order [and Joy Division], [guitarist/keyboardist] Phil [Cunningham] played with us in the most recent incarnation of New Order, and we have a young guy, Jake Evans [on co-vocals] who’s 29, but has been playing guitar since he was 5 and can run rings around me. It’s a product of that really and it’s pretty much a guitar album. There’s not many synths, although there are some . . . We definitely knew we were going to come out and play live and guitar-based stuff always translates better live than watching guys just twiddling knobs.

Appearing: November 18th (at Park West) and 19th (at Aragon Ballroom) in Chicago.

IE: How is the set list shaping up for your first tour?
We’re going to do a couple of New Order songs, a couple of Joy Division songs, and maybe some from my work with Johnny Marr in the group Electronic. They’ll be a couple of surprises really and obviously we want to showcase the Bad Lieutenant album, Never Cry Another Tear, we’ve just written. But we realize people want to hear the old songs and we’ll play some of them, though not all of them.

IE: What made you pick Chicago as one of your two American debut cities?
It won’t be just these two cities [also including New York]. We’re going to come back in the summer. But the response has always been great in Chicago and I get a good feeling from the city. The last time I played there I said it felt like a second home and it does because it has a similar vibe to Manchester where I’m from. I guess it’s a Northern town and kind of a working town really. People don’t take any bullshit from people.

IE: How do you feel about so many younger bands crediting Joy Division and New Order as such major influences?
I’m flattered by it and I’m glad people remember. I also remember back myself to when I was a 21-year-old musician in Joy Division and we had the records we were influenced by in the rehearsal room, like Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, and Kraftwerk. I don’t think any musician writes brilliant music from a vacuum and I’m glad people have chosen us. There’s a value to our music and it’s nice to be remembered.

IE: Any chance of a New Order reunion?
I don’t think we’ll get back together because there were too many things said and done. The quick version is we were together for a very long time and Peter [Hook] didn’t want to work with us anymore and he left. We weren’t getting on, and since you sometimes see group members more than your wife or girlfriend, it’s imperative to get on together. We had different points of view and senses of humor by that time and didn’t see eye to eye, so there’s no point carrying on.

IE: Do you consider Bad Lieutenant to have a more artistic or commercial vibe?
People should come to gig and make up own minds. We’re just locked in the present and tried with 100 percent of our abilities to make an album people would be interested in. I’ve never been a careerist, which is part of the reason I joined a rock, pop, and electronic group. When I was a teenager, I was horrified of modern society’s rat race, which is why I became a musician.

Bad Lieutenant headline come the 18th at Park West and open for the Pixies at the Aragon on the 19th. Q&A by Andy Argyrakis.

Category: Columns, File, Monthly

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