around june 1980 (just over a month after ian curtis' suicide), hewick was booked to go into graveyard studios (famous for a certain ratio's marvellous "graveyard and the ballroom" cassette) to record 5 tracks for the planned double 10" (which later became the aforementioned "factory quartet"). the night before, tony wilson phoned hewick and suggested that "the jds" go into the studio to back him. wilson told hewick that the jds wanted to carry on as a band and playing someone else's material would ease their transition back into recording.
no one ever told hewick that this might have been a try-out session for a lead singer of the soon-to-be new order. much later, when terry christian suggested the idea on a bbc radio derby interview in 1983, hewick was hurt enough to be unable to go to a new order gig for quite some time afterwards. "well you're a better singer than any of them aren't you?" said christian. the rumour would appear to be substantiated in the liner notes to "from brussels with love", although hewick maintains it was not the case.
to quote kevin: "i was picked up at piccadilly station by bernard and stephen in a really old car. they were really friendly, good humoured and i soon felt at ease - for a while--- forgive my memory but i seem to recall it was only on arriving at graveyard that i was told that martin hannett was going to produce the session! at last i met peter hook who privately i held in most fanlike awe - he soon came over as the one who took the lead with things, who pulled things together into shape. we worked on two songs "haystack" and "a piece of fate". it was decided to do "haystack" first."
the resulting song, "haystack," a stalwart of hewick's live set, appears on the "from brussels with love" compilation on les disques du crepuscule (cd, cassette, and lp formats). the recording suffers from a complete and utter lack of production. kevin indicates that this was the result of hannett showing up halfway through the session, pronouncing that the assembled group of musicians (hewick, bernard, peter, and steven) sounded like "fairport convention" [ouch!] and curling up under the mixing desk for a bit of a sleep. hewick was told hannett was exhausted from working through the night on a john cooper clarke recording session. he remembers hannett leaving before the end and doubts whether hannett actually twiddled and knobs on this recording at all!
the assembled "backing" band told the engineer at the beginning of the session that they'd decided to call themselves "new order". when hewick pointed out that rob asheton (former member of the stooges) had formed a band called the new order, a clearly annoyed bernard shot back "only you would know that."
the song is inspired by a scene with jack lemmon and lee remick in "the days of wine and roses", with loads of heroin addiction imagery (which i can't even believe i missed in favour of a sexual interpretation!). hook's bass rumbles along, bernard knocks away at the polyphonic synths, stevie bangs the drums, and hewick delivers a langorously lounge-y vocal performance and plays guitar. he doesn't sound nearly as nervous as he must've been, although the beauty of his voice fails to show through.
the "other" song
the assembled band worked on a second song that has never seen the light of day. "a piece of fate" was the track - later reworked by hewick into a song called "no miracle" in 1993. hewick, who was utterly in awe of the backing band assembled for his humble session, pointed out to bernard that the two note guitar solo he was playing was from buzzcock's "boredom" and was stunned when bernard, threw his gibson sg down on the floor and stormed out. this so unnerved hewick that he was unable to complete any other songs for the session. wilson, still wanting to feature the young kevin on a factory record, replaced the session with the live tracks on the factory quartet. all in all, not an auspicious recording for the young lad's first "professional" recording session, but a story for the grandkids!