Exclusive Excerpt: Peter Hook on the Boston riot New Order sparked more than 30 years ago

Photo Credit: Julien Lachaussee

More than 30 years ago this summer, New Order allegedly and infamously inspired a riot in Boston, the result, according to lore, of an unruly crowd upset that the British band didn’t play an encore at the end of their performance at the Opera House.

The legend has been discussed and debated here in town ever since, and when Peter Hook played the Sinclair in Cambridge several weeks ago with his new band The Light, on the latest stop on his Substance tour, the journalist who was traveling with the band even jokingly referenced it in his on-stage introduction.

Today, as Hook releases his latest book, Substance: Inside New Order, and prepares a four date United States book tour, we are thrilled to publish an exclusive excerpt from the tome that specifically addresses the Boston riot.


Substance: Inside New Order, is Hook’s third book in his legacy series, following 2009’s The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club and 2012’s Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, and the massive 752-page volume traces New Order’s emergence after the death of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis to their rise as pioneers of modern electronic-pop.

It’s one hell of a read — and that night in Boston, August 2, 1985 at the Opera House, is one small part of the legendary story.


From the book Substance: Inside New Order by Peter Hook. Copyright © 2017 by Peter Hook. On sale January 31 from Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

2 August 1985
New Order play Opera House, Boston, supported by A Certain Ratio.

‘There was a huge riot after this gig. We had finished the gig and retreated to the dressing room as usual. But this time it was miles away from the stage, a real Spinal Tap moment. We were right in the gods. We just sat there blissfully unaware that downstairs the audience had got upset because we hadn’t come back for an encore, so they smashed up the seats then invaded the stage and smashed the equipment. It then became a massive battle that spilled out onto the street. In the end, they had to call the mounted riot police. It went on for ages but the first thing we knew about it was when one of the roadies came in all bloodied and battered about twenty minutes later. We wondered where they were. So we had to stay in the gig for our own safety.

Outside, our crew bus driver was desperately trying to keep the bus from being damaged. He was a Vietnam vet and he had to chase loads of kids away. His catchphrase was, “There’s going to be an inquireeey!” And when we came out later, when it had all quietened down, that was the first thing he said, “There’s going to be an inquireeey, Peter! There’s going to be an inquireeey!”

‘So we got in our small van to go back to the hotel. As we started to drive off, someone began throwing stones. I looked round to see about five kids, two girls and three boys.

‘The driver stopped and we got out, going, “What are you fucking doing, you cheeky bastards?” and they were going, “Fuck you, man, you assholes, you didn’t do an encore, you caused a riot, fuck you.”

‘This girl threw another stone, and a certain member of our entourage, for some insane reason, which is not like him because he’s such a shithouse usually, started running after her. He had a half- empty bottle in his hand and was chasing this girl, waving it over his head.

‘I took off after him and after a few yards caught him up, just as he went to swing the bottle at her head. I managed to grab his coat and pull him back and it missed her by a whisker. We stopped and she carried on. When we got back to the van, the promoter had come out, and guess what he said…’

Check out details on all four dates of his upcoming book tour, which hits New York City, Long Island, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Featured Peter Hook photo up top by Julien Lachaussée.

Substance Book Dates