Chances are that most drummers’ favourite drummer will be someone from the heavy rock set. Acts like Led Zeppelin with John Bonham, Cream with Ginger Baker, The Who and Keith Moon, Rush’s Neil Peart will dominate the answers. But here at Far Out, we think to overlook one crucial drummer from the post-punk giants Joy Division and later New Order, AKA Stephen Morris would be a serious mistake. In this clip below, we prove it.
The footage arrives as part of one of New Order’s impressive shows at their adopted home and their part-owned club The Hacienda. But rather than revisit the entire performance, one which is jam-packed with New Order’s increasingly illustrious catalogue of eighties hits, we are looking back at the rehearsal footage as we see Morris’ metronomic pneumatic hands thud through a rhythm for a soundcheck. It may sound small but once you see the video, you’ll understand.
As a founding member of Joy Division and New Order, Stephen Morris remains one of the most legendary drummers of all time, despite being so routinely overlooked. His work with Joy Division will see him in the annals of rock and roll history forever but it was with his next band, New Order, that Morris grew immeasurably.
Formed as a way for himself, Bernard Sumner, and Peter Hook to cope with the loss of their friend Ian Curtis and still live out their collective dream, New Order was a way of letting go of those demons. A way of moving on without moving out of the music world. When Gillian Gilbert joined the band, New Order were a complete setup and ready to change the musical landscape with their pioneering electronic sounds.
The band were frontrunners with the fusion of electronic music and rock and roll. Their albums would go on to create a space which would allow creativity to triumph over everything else, synthetically produced or otherwise. But while Morris was once happy to give his spot away to a drum machine on the band’s seminal song ‘Blue Monday’, he wasn’t so happy to do it on stage and clearly relished performing live.
Famed in both bands for his searing speed and expert precision when playing, Morris displays it all in the brief clip below. Thundering through a soundcheck, Morris is purposeful and powerful in equal measure, hitting with metronomic regularity and firecracker ferocity. It’s a sight that seemingly captures the imagination of Hooky and his young child and one we’re equally enamoured by.
The entire collection of videos capturing these rehearsals can be found on YouTube but watching Stephen Morris leather some skins is certainly the pick of the bunch for us.