Peter Hook: ‘They’re not New Order without me’

News - Published: 24 January 2013

The controversial founding member of Joy Division, New Order drops by Paris

Relations between Hook and his New Order bandmates soured after he bought Hacienda's trademark rights in 2001
Relations between Hook and his New Order bandmates soured after he bought Hacienda’s trademark rights in 2001

Where were you on the 4th June 1976?
Well, you might not have been born; you might have spent the evening sitting on your sofa watching a younger Bruce Forsyth presenting The Generation Game on the BBC. Or, you could have been watching The Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, witnessing music legends in the making.

Many claim they were there (…they probably weren’t). One thing is for sure: Peter Hook definitely was. (So was Mick Hucknall but the less said about that the better). That night saw the birth of Joy Division and, following the tragic loss of Ian Curtis in 1980, New Order.

Many years on, that gig has brought us here: to a very cold and slushy Monday night at Le Motel, Paris, for a meeting with Peter Hook. He is promoting the French release of his two books, ‘The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club’ and ‘Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division’.

“They’re not New Order without me…I thought I’ll fucking show them and so I started my own thing. The world had no New Order for years, and now they’ve got two!”

At 8pm, in walks a well turned out Hooky; Le Motel is bursting at the seams (although if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know this is no great feat).

The discussion begins and we are immediately taken back to that iconic night in 1976 which he sees as a defining moment for his 21 year old self, “It was only when I saw the Sex Pistols that I realised that there was a lot more to what I was doing. Literally, when I walked into that gig, I was normal, and when I walked out, I was in a band.”

Peter Hook crowd at Le Motel
The crowd gathered inside a packed Le Motel on Monday, January 21

Peter Hook is best known as the bassist in both Joy Division and New Order. He describes his unique playing style as “a one-off” and is quick to recognise how “influential” his high bass lines have been in the history of popular music post-Joy Division.

Nostalgia and, unfortunately, a large dose of bitterness over recent legal fall-outs with the current ‘New Order’ were the main themes of the evening. When asked his opinions on the continuation of the New Order name, Hooky did not hold back: “They’re not New Order without me…I thought I’ll fucking show them and so I started my own thing. The world had no New Order for years, and now they’ve got two!”

There’s certainly no love lost between Peter Hook and his former New Order band mates, on Wednesday Bernard Sumner told Canadian magazine Spinner“We did a tour of South America, in which he was a very angry man, and he got really into the celebrity DJ circuit” Sumner said. “I just hope he’s happy; let him get on with his life. We’re happier, without a doubt.”

Peter Hook released 'Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division' on January 17
Peter Hook released ‘Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division’ on January 17

A self-confessed ‘workaholic’, Hooky’s current band, ‘Peter Hook and the Light’, are continuing to tour the UK, playing Joy Division albums in full. “It’s been a great experience for me. I’ve rediscovered so many Joy Division tracks that I just couldn’t get away with playing when New Order toured.”

He retained his sense of humour though, and when asked what he felt made Joy Division and New Order so successful, he joked, “We were either very, very intelligent, or very very lucky… I think it’s lucky.”

Hooky ended the evening with promise of a third book: the story of New Order. Unlike the story of Joy Division, which seemed to dispel a lot of the myths surrounding the band, he assures us that his next book will be a true tale of “sex, drugs and rock n roll.”

All photos courtesy of Le Motel