New Order released “Be a Rebel” this morning. It’s their first new song since 2015’s Music Complete.
“In tough times we wanted to reach out with a new song,” frontman Bernard Sumner said in a statement. “We can’t play live for a while, but music is still something we can all share together. We hope you enjoy it… until we meet again.”
New Order were supposed to play American dates with Pet Shop Boys this year, but the pandemic forced them to delay the gigs until 2021. They’ve been touring steadily since re-forming in 2011 with Tom Chapman taking the place of estranged bassist Peter Hook.
One of their most memorable gigs since then took place at the annual Tibet House benefit at New York’s Carnegie Hall on March 11th, 2014. Iggy Pop was on the bill that night and he joined the band (minus drummer Stephen Morris) for “California Grass” along with the Joy Division classics “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Joy Division singer Ian Curtis was a huge Iggy Pop fan. He famously listened to Pop’s 1977 LP The Idiot in the early morning of May 18th, 1980, while he hanged himself. It was still spinning on his record player when his body was discovered.
Perhaps by coincidence, Iggy played the first two songs from The Idiot (“Sister Midnight” and “Nightclubbing”) in sequence during his brief set at Tibet House that same night in 2014. Three years later, he joined up with New Order again at Tibet House for the Joy Division standard “She’s Lost Control.”
New Order plan to kick off their co-headlining tour with Pet Shop Boys on September 18th, 2021, in Toronto. Iggy Pop’s schedule is largely blank except for three European festival dates in the summer of 2021. Like all concert dates in 2021, these should be seen as provisional until mass gatherings become viable once again.