While this man hardly needs an introduction, we’ll briefly go over the background of his busy music career. Joy Division. New Order. That’s right, our very own Kyle Butcher had a chat with the legendary, one-of-a-kind Peter Hook about his role in inspiring musicians for the past three decades, the feud with New Order vocalist Bernard Sumner and his upcoming tour to Australia with his band The Light, where he will play New Order’s seminal albums Low-Life and Brotherhood in full.
“To be able to give the records the respect they deserve is wonderful. It’s funny, on Brotherhood in particular, Bernard [Sumner] wanted to go all electronic, and I wanted to be all rock, so we actually split the rock tracks on the A Side, and all the electronic tracks on the B Side. Then, I loved the rock, and hate the electronic. Now, I love the electronic, and I’m thinking ‘Oh my God!’ At least maturity has given me that. They are great songs to play.”
Peter Hook is clearly ambitious. The last time Hook touched down in Australia he played Closer and Unknown Pleasures in full, and so he thought it was time to bring New Order’s early albums down to Australia. Playing two iconic albums each night wasn’t enough to satiate Hook, so he added a selection of New Order favourites to the repertoire, along with a supporting set of Joy Division hits. Hook spoke gleefully about the upcoming tour and his chance to reconnect with the earlier tracks.
“When I moved into playing the New Order stuff I was reluctant to move away from the Joy Division songs again, because I didn’t want to lose it again. When we play New Order, we support ourselves as Joy Division, and when we play Joy Division, we support ourselves as New Order. My son writes the Joy Division sets for each night, and believe you me, I walk on stage and I see the set and I’m like ‘f**king hell!’ [laughs]. Some of them are very exciting, depending on how many you haven’t played for a long time. We’re also able to change the New Order set quite a lot as well, because there are so many A-sides and singles we wrote so it is quite exciting.”
Hook is no stranger to writing outside lyricism. He has crafted two books outlining his music career and a third is on the way, detailing the rise (and internal fall) of New Order. Despite being the close friends since the age of 11, lead vocalist Bernard Sumner and Hook have fallen out of touch quite publicly over the last few years, with multiple legal disputes being up in the air. Sumner reformed New Order without Hook, and allegedly left Hook a dismal slice of the royalties from New Order. Although this only happened in the last four years of the band’s 35 year lifespan, there is no doubt the topic will be mentioned in his upcoming book.
“I’m doing the re-writes at the moment. Luckily for me, Bernard’s book on New Order was, in my opinion, so full of sh*t that I think I read more fact in The Hobbit (laughs). In my opinion, Bernard played his role in New Order down in his book to have a go at me, to try and convince the fans that I am a b*stard!”
Along with members of Monaco, Peter Hook’s son Jack Bates fills out the band known as The Light. Peter Hook heads the band of course, however the interesting thing is that Bates steals the role as bassist in the band, which creates a very fresh experience for the founding member of Joy Division and New Order.
“I am in a pretty strange position here. We play music from two bands that my bass lines exist in, but I’m not the one playing the bass lines! He [Jack] does very much remind me of me when I was younger, and I do have some spooky moments when I look at him and hear the music at the same time. Music is so powerful, especially when it is played live. It is also so evocative of a period, and what we’re trying to do is recreate that period. I’m not pretending to be Joy Division, and I’m not pretending to be New Order – I’m celebrating these records as I heard them and as I hear them.”
We could have talked all day to Peter Hook, simply due to the wealth of knowledge and stories he surely holds. Fortunately, Peter Hook will be over in Australia soon to show us just why these albums are truly timeless.
Peter Hook and The Light are playing The Tivoli on Wednesday, February 18. Tickets available via Ticketmaster for $71.00 + BF.