Joy and Division: Peter Hook (Interview)

Peter Hook talks New Order, Joy Division and women in yoghurt.

Peter Hook and the Light, Kentish Town Forum September 2016

It seems unlikely that New Order will retake the stage in their full and original lineup any time soon.

Nevertheless, for their dauntless fans, the gigs go on. Balanced on the fracture lines of what feels like a messy divorce, Trebuchet has variously reported on New Order’s current incarnation as well as the closely-related setup: Peter Hook and the Light. Hooky too, finds the divorce comparison apt, admitting in his interview with Nick Henderson below that it’s always the kids (or in this case, the fans) who get hurt.

Somewhere in it all is grounds for optimism, light at the end of the tunnel of animosity. To stretch the divorce analogy as far as it can possibly go, it’s worth remembering that usually it’s when the arguing stops that things become irrevocable. (Note also the names on Hook’s invite list to his dream dinner party below.) There is a rich vein of memory in the Joy Division/New Order story, and one which allows room for both sides to mine. As Henderson put it in his notes from Peter Hook and the Light playing at London’s Forum last Autumn:

‘His voice is completely different to Bernard’s, playing a lot of stuff fans want to hear that New Order don’t have the time to play, well loved b-sides etc. It’s a real shame about the animosity between them all.’

Torn apart? Love’ll do that.


Nick Henderson: Hi Hooky, how ya doing?

Peter Hook: OK, Ta. My security has just picked me up [lots of laughter].

NH: So where are you? You sound miles away.

Urm, I’m not miles away, I’m just leaving Manchester on my way to Hull.

Oh just over to Hull. So are you playing Hull tonight?

Well sort of. We’re doing a boat trip, we sail from Hull to Rotterdam and everybody has the day in Amsterdam, and then they come back and sail back to England, so god knows what state they’ll all be in.

We were just wondering if there will be any women there, cos it’s such a daft thing to do.

Yeah, sounds like a lads’ break doesn’t it? Get pissed on the boat then get stoned in the Dam and look at the brasses, or shag them, and throw up and feel like shit on the boat trip home.

I’ve heard that sort of thing goes on [laughs].

I’ve seen you are doing Unknown Pleasures and Closer down at the Roundhouse on 18th December. I can’t wait for that one.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to that myself, haven’t played it for a long time. Playing Substance Joy Division has been very popular. I’m a bit surprised that it’s gone down as well as it has actually. Even the gigs have gone down really well, because for Joy Division Substance was a bit more about lesser-known tracks really, where as Substance New Order was the better-known tracks.

I was at the Forum gig, I photographed you there for Trebuchet Magazine.

Oh cool! Yeah, it’s nice to get the chance to play there actually.

It was a blinding set, you started off with Lonesome Tonight, then Procession and Cries and Whispers.

Yeah. Yeah, great B-sides.

Some of us that have been fans since Joy Division, and New Order after Ian died in 1980, think and talk like you are family that we have never met….

Hahahaha! Make sure you’re home early tonight.

I assume there a lot of people who feel like that especially with the break up with you guys.

Well yeah, it’s always the children that get hurt, isn’t it?

I think the bass in New Order has always been the bloodline, and without the bloodline….

That’s very kind of you to say, I think I know a few people that would disagree with you…but they are twats.

It must be great to play Joy Division again.

Yeah. I mean, it’s so great to play them. I find it unbelievable that them three are so against me doing it. Which just about sums New Order up. It was never do as I do, it was always do as I say.

I saw that, I’m reading your book at the moment.

I’m preaching to the converted then aren’t I? [Laughs] The contradiction is what pisses you off. It’s still right at boiling point, we are both getting ready to go full court.

Oh Christ.

At least you’ll be able to hear about it all because it will be in a open court, so that will be interesting. It will be in the New Year but it’s a very slow process.

Are you and the Light likely to do any new stuff?

Well, the thing is, I do a lot of new stuff on my own, but The Light is just a vehicle to play the old stuff. I think it would be really cheeky. How would you feel if I said at the Roundhouse, hang on a minute, we are just going to play a new song?

Yep. Point Taken

I can hear the bleedin’ groans from here, you know what I mean?

I just done a track with one of Kraftwerk. I’ve also done another track, a cover version (funnily enough) called Dancing Madly Backwards by Captain Beyond. It’s a song from the 70s from a record label in America. It turned out really, really well. The guys phoned me up and said ‘Fancy doing an LP in that style?’ [laughs]. I do a lot of new music, but I’m pretty shit at letting people know about it.

Foxy and I are talking about doing another Monaco album, he’s just had a baby so it’s gone down the list a little bit, but it’s still there.

Do you think you will write any more books or will you wait until after the court case?

What I would love to write is a book with an happy bleeding ending. I’ve written three books and not one has got a happy ending. Maybe we’ll see what happens next January.

Reading your book, you had lots of happy endings while you were out on tour.

Ha ha! Well, you know, the interesting thing about that… obviously I wanted to portray the fact we worked hard, we also played hard. That’s why the Geek Alert bit’s as important as the naughty bits, as I like to show a balance. I don’t justify any of it and I’m highly embarrassed at the ripe old age of 61, but when you are a kid you don’t worry about it. You’re like a kid with two dicks…. It’s the most obvious thing in the world, innit.

The first time I saw you was 1986, Hemel Hempstead Pavillion.

Oh my god.

Yeah, I was 16. Then I saw you at the Albert Hall the same year, and I remember Bernard saying thank you motherfuckers, we are never coming back here again. Someone threw a shoe at his head.

Ha ha! Hemel Hempstead or the Royal Albert Hall?

No, it was the Hemel Hempstead one he said that. The Albert Hall I don’t really remember much of, I was right at the front being crushed.

Do you remember the support band?

The Larlars wasn’t it, or Lolos?

Yeah the LarLars or the LouLous. Summat like that. She covered herself in yoghurt.

Yeah they rolled out a plastic sheet for her to stand on, and then she poured this milky stuff all over her chest and rubbed it in.

Yeah mate, yeah! Our old tour manager kept booking them… ha ha ha! There you go, a bit like a wet t-shirt for indie bands, innit.

When you’re doing the Joy Division stuff do you feel like Ian Curtis is with you?

I do think Ian would have been very happy about taking Joy Division music all around the world. You know, the thing is Joy Division got Europe. A few gigs in Holland, Ian was so ambitious and so full of love for the group he wanted it to go everywhere. That was the whole point of us agreeing to go America, we were going to America to tour, we were going to lose a lot of money but he wanted to. I look at it in my own way that he would be really happy. We were playing the same venue as the Stone Roses in Mexico, there were 5000 people, we were doing fantastically there and I think he would be very happy about it. It just makes me wonder again why people think the only two people in the world that seem bothered about Joy Division’s continued success are Barney and Steve. It doesn’t make any sense.

They play it in their set when they play Forever Joy Division.

I don’t know, it’s really nice that when you get to these places. We were doing a gig in Brazil and I thought the audience would be like me, you know, fat bald bastards, but then you get there it’s loads of young kids who are all getting into Joy Division, its very strange. You get asked some really strange questions, like what was Ian Curtis like?, stuff like that. That fascination ultimately is fuelled by the music. I love the music, I love the group.

I love both groups.

Yeah, absolutely.

It’s just fantastic to play, it’s like a gift from God. I always though that, and the frustration, when you are in New Order and not being allowed to play [Joy Division material] was unbelievable. Its like my wife says, if you were there now you’d be dying.

Its so weird, because with Closer, you know, we never got to play it as a group because Ian died just as we made it. So to actually get to play that again was amazing, it really was. The fact that Jack my son is actually the same age as I was when I did Unknown Pleasures and Closer in the first place. That was spooky and beautiful at the same time. That’s quite mad.

Proper mental. I wonder what Rob Gretton, Tony Wilson, Martin Hannett would have to say about it all.

Oh my god! If I could have anyone at a dream dinner party, yeah, it would be me, Barney, Tony, Rob and Martin.

You were talking about the crowd, it’s such a mixed crowd these days. My 17 year-old daughter is like, ‘Next time can you take me?’. She saw my Loitered Lens shots for Trebuchet and showed some of her mates at school.

That’s good, isn’t it?

It’s a generation thing. Wouldn’t have happened in my generation.

My mum would never had come to a gig. She came once then when I asked her the next time she said, ‘Would you mind if I don’t?’ [laughs]. It’s too much. For that generation it was too much to do. But this generation of parents and the kids don’t mind. My Daughter took me to see Drake. I like Drake, it’s my fault. I listened to iTunes…. My god, the guy can hold the stage. Got to give him that. Playing on his own to thousands of people.

What else do you think is good?

It’s such a weird time, the internet puts everything in your lap. There are so many bands, especially dance tracks. I use Spotify a lot and I always find myself harping back to old ones. Leonard Cohen’s New LP is fantastic. The first track is just amazing, the one he did just before he died.

Alright then Hooky, it’s been lovely to talk to you.

Same to you mate, hope to see you in the pit being loony in the nicest possible way.

See you there!

Photos by Nick Henderson, taken at Peter Hook and the Light’s show at the Kentish Town Forum. September 2016.
Intro by Sean Keenan


In his first public Manchester signing since the release of “Unknown Pleasures”, this Joy Division book in October 2012, Peter Hook comes to Fopp Manchester Friday 5th May from 530pm onward for an appearance to mark the release of four live albums by Peter Hook & The Light on vinyl, CD and digital.
 
Each title featuring the band performing a classic Joy Division or New Order album in its entirety with songs added that were not on those albums: singles, demos and other rarities. All four albums are to be first released as strictly limited edition colour deluxe vinyl versions for Record Store Day 2017 on 22nd April on the Let Them Eat Vinyl label.
 
This will then be followed by the CD and digital release of all four albums on 5th May 2017.  Both the vinyls and CD editions of the releases will be available at the Fopp signing which is currently Hooky’s only confirmed signing for these releases.
 
The titles are;
 
The Light        “Unknown Pleasures- Live At Leeds Cockpit – 29th November 2012
The Light        “Closer – Live At The Factory” – 18th May 2011
The Light        “Movement – Live At Dublin Academy” – 22nd November 2013
The Light        “Power, Corruption & Lies – Live At Dublin Academy” – 22nd Nov 2013
 
For full details and to order the releases check the Westworld Recordings site here – http://bit.ly/TheLightWestworldReleasesMay17InfoOrder


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