Article by Mary Boukouvalas.
Peter Hook’s scene these days revolves around his computer and being nudged by his dog to take her out for a walk.
Quite a different scene to the Peter Hook most of his fans would associate him with. Hook, founding member of iconic bands Joy Division and New Order, with his wicked signature bass lines, is in Australia at the moment, completing a tell-all book about New Order, the band he calls “the independent Motley Crue”. Hook states, “When I did the Joy Division book, Joy Division were a very serious band, there never got tainted by any temptation, there was never any money, there was never any indulgence. When we got in to New Order, we certainly made up for that. And I’ll be delighted to let everybody’s indiscretion get a good public airing. Even my own”.
Hook’s sense of humour, honesty and courteous nature shines through the interview even though Hook says “I’m in one of my disgusted days today. They’re not all like that. Sometimes you look at it philosophically but today I’m in one of my disgusted”. His reasons and attitude stand fitting as he tells me “Don’t bother putting a positive slant on a bunch of bastards… I’m sat here doing the New Order book and, to be honest with you, I’m going through all the things we’d done together and funnily enough today is one of those days where I say you bunch of bastards after all we’ve been through you turn around in 2011 and reform the band without asking me, or telling me, and then decide to throw me five cents as a payoff”.
[pullquote]I’m in one of my disgusted days today. They’re not all like that. Sometimes you look at it philosophically but today I’m in one of my disgusted[/pullquote]Hook is resolute that a real New Order reformation is not occurring. “Judging by all the hatred in all our eyes, it looks to me like it (a permanent split). I mean I am pursuing a legal battle for what I consider an illegal use of the name but it hasn’t been tried yet. So I doubt it. It’s like you’re going through a very nasty divorce. A definite no”.
Since parting ways with NEW ORDER in 2007, Hooky has been busy touring with his band THE LIGHT with sell-out shows around the world. THE LIGHT have taken out extensive tours of Europe, Australia & New Zealand and the United States to rave reviews. “I’ve always like touring” Hook states. “One of the big problems I had with New Order, especially towards the end, was Bernard’s hatred of it, although he does seem to have been kidnapped by aliens these days because now he keeps saying he loves it. So I don’t know what happened to the Bernard I knew, the miserable bastard. Yeah so it was always a problem, with me and him, but I guess that’s just one of those things that makes bands interesting. If they all got on, it’d be very boring”.
Hook, who celebrated his 59th birthday on the 13th February, has come a long way since he first began playing bass in Joy Division. He states, “My influences are quite simple – from the Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, The Clash. Punk did have a lasting effect. Musically we went passed that. For a band, we were young, 20, to be writing Unknown Pleasures, we were really ahead of our time. I don’t think we even realised it. I’m amazed the reaction that [my own music] is getting and for me to find a career playing the stuff the others won’t play is a bit bizarre. It’s very New Order actually, it’s very unique situation. We’re really unique in finding these weird things to do. From Hacienda Nightclub, to Factory Records, to now having two New Orders if you like. When we were with New Order it seemed quite normal to not celebrate anything to do with Joy Division and as New Order it had paid off. The ignoring of Joy Division turned New Order into a huge international success. It worked. Focusing on that group worked. When you were outside the band, in 2007, Joy Division was getting bigger and it occurred to me that we had never celebrated Joy Division, not five, ten, 15, 20, 25 years and it was approaching 30 years, of Ian Curtis’ life. And because I had my own club in Manchester, FAC 251, I put a night on to celebrate 30 years of Ian’s life and it was as simply as that. I got a few ex-members of Monaco, and because I’d had no relation with Bernard and Steve for years, since 2008 when he took to lawyers. So there was no question of doing it with them, and they weren’t doing anything. So I got the band together to celebrate 30 years of Ian Curtis’.
“Bernard and Steve did complain at the time actually. Which was quite ironic because they had already toured and played a bunch of Joy Division and New Order songs without my permission, so they’re a bunch of bastards as I’ve said before. It was always the same with New Order. It was never do as I do, it was always do as I say, especially with Bernard. Steve was very quiet to be honest. Steve seems to have found his voice since we split up. So yeah, they played it before me but I was the bad guy. So it naturally went from there.
[pullquote]The odd thing, the New Order set, in my opinion, towards the end, the set was getting really unadventurous, It was getting really boring, we were playing the same stuff over and over.[/pullquote]“The odd thing, the New Order set, in my opinion, towards the end, the set was getting really unadventurous, It was getting really boring, we were playing the same stuff over and over. Bernard didn’t want to play any of the old stuff and I found that annoying because I felt the old stuff had got us our following and yet we were just ignoring it. It was a just a real inflexibility and in my mind, a treading of the boards and doing as little as you possible could to get away with it. And it was just really boring to be honest, and frustrating.
“So when I came back, the idea of playing the LPs and celebrating the LP as an art form I stole off Bobby Gillispie of Primal Scream, who was doing it with Screamadelica. I dug these songs up and some of them haven’t been played for 25 years. There’s a fabulous website that you can go on and see the last time a particular band has played a particular song and I was looking at Way of Life off Brotherhood and it had been 28 years since it had been played. And I just thought that this is fucken ridiculous and it was as simple as that and it’s been fantastic to get them again and hear them, and play them with my boys, and literally my boy, because my son plays with me”.
Hook doesn’t like to take the easy way out. “I like [playing the LPs] because it’s more difficult to do. You’re asking a lot more from your audience. It’s not a greatest hits show, which as I’ve said before is like the easy way out.
It’s quite interesting because as I’m doing the book I’m looking at the history of the group. And New Order was always awkward. Very rebellious, very anarchic attitude through everything they we did up until we split up in 1990 and then we came back together to do Republic, it became really boring.And it’s nice to get some of that awkwardness back for me. And to play the LPs you do have to concentrate more. Some of the songs are difficult to translate and some are easy. The way we dealt with that in New Order was we dropped the difficult ones. And just played the easy ones, and if you go see New Order now, that’s what you get – the easy ones. I mean the set is no different really to what we were playing when we got back together in 1995. Quite strange for me to witness”.
Last in Australia in 2009, Hook performed Joy Division’s classic Unknown Pleasures. He is back with his band The Light, for a very special evening comprised of New Order’s Low Life & Brotherhood albums performed in their entirety with a special opening set comprised of Joy Division material. Hook always has a great time in Australia and loves to come back. He says, “I’ve here a lot over the years – about ten times at least. Always had a great time.
When you look around and the quality of life, it’s always difficult to go back to England, but I’m lucky you see cause I get to travel the world and I have done for most of my life, so it doesn’t have the same impression on me cause luckily for me I’m off to something equally as nice usually and when I do get home it’s usually to recuperate. I’m a very lucky boy”.
PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT perform NEW ORDER’S third and fourth albums, Low Life and Brotherhood for the first time ever in Australia and New Zealand in February 2015.
Support for these shows will be Peter HOOK AND THE LIGHT performing a
selection of seminal JOY DIVISION classics.
Australian / New Zealand Tour Dates:
Saturday 14th February 2015: Astor Theatre, Perth, Australia
Sunday 15th February 2015: The Gov, Adelaide, Australia
Wednesday 18th February 2015: Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane, Australia
Thursday 19th February 2015: Metro, Sydney, Australia
Saturday 21st February 2015: Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Australia
Sunday 22nd February 2015: Wrestpoint, Hobart, Australia
Wednesday 25th February 2015: Churchills, Christchurch, New Zealand
Thursday 26th February 2015: Bogeda, Wellington, New Zealand
Friday 27th February 2015: The Studio, Auckland, New Zealand
Presented by Metropolis Touring and Select Touring
Get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/HookTix