Peter Hook

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Peter Hook, legendary musician and author has a chat with BBM’s Frankie Salt about all things Joy Division, New Order, along with his upcoming book release & tour, which is set to be a banger! Born in 1956, Hooky knows everything you need to know about the British music movement over the past half a century. After the success of his first world tour of the Joy Division album ‘Unknown Pleasures’, he returns to perform their second album ‘Closer’ in sequential order to tell and celebrate the story of Joy Division to the world.

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So are you in the UK right now?
No love, I’m actually in Bratislava at the moment. Sorry if I sound a little slow I’ve just woken up but do not worry, there’s nothing I love more than talking about something that happened 34 years ago!

So after your 2010 ‘Unknown Pleasures’ 30th Anniversary Tour, you return with your band The Light, to play the classic album ‘Closer’. How do you feel about the upcoming tour?
It was quite weird actually; I had only played like four times before I got asked to go to Australia, but when we got there the reception was great, when New Order split, I was at a split. I was DJ-ing, which is amazing but you know my real love was to get back in a band. So doing this saved my life in a way, it gave me the route to get back to my passion.

Do you feel that this tour will bring about a different kind of emotion to the tour of ‘Unknown Pleasures’? Do you have a preference of one album over the other?
Yeah love, the strange thing is, considering the albums were only made a year apart,
they are very different. ‘Closer’, lyrically, is the story of Ian’s deteriation of health and mental wellbeing, but apart from that its one long party – that sounds terrible doesn’t it? Compared to ‘Pleasures’ it’s more mellow, melodic and fragile, but the thing is it’s more difficult to play to an audience but the reward is better. The Light, my group, for us all to transcribe and learn it is tricky as it is a lot less rocky than the first. You can hide behind ‘Unknown Pleasures’ as it’s so in your face and confident but ‘Closer’ is definitely a lot shyer, but the relief when you get it right is outstanding.

Why do you think it is so important to play the album in sequential order?
Well when I came back to do this musically, I guess you’re kind of straying into tribute band territory if you just start playing the sets. This is one of the things, which confuses me about the New Order reformation. They go and do exactly the same thing as what I was doing with the Joy Division tour, but I got slated at the beginning for what I was doing by the other members who were really quite vocal about my tour. I don’t want to be a tribute. I want to be arty and play the LP from the start to tell the honest story. Joy Division lived only for two and a half years from start to finish, but it’s the music, which lives on and rules all these years later. Like last night for example, we played in front of 1000 people and I looked and three quarters of the crowd weren’t even alive when Joy Division were. I believe that this is mainly down to what Martin Hannett did for the band. It was only when I came to transcribe the LP for the thirtieth year celebration that I realized how much he did for the band. I was very critical before this. Back in the day I just wanted to sound like The Sex Pistols, the Clash and I wanted to rip your head off! Martin gave it something so wonderful and made it timeless.

So you believe that the music world would be a better place if there were more people like Martin Hannett to produce?
Well it’s interesting as he was so good at what he did with an old fashioned concept. It’s just a shame now that everyone has a recording studio in their computer or phone, but with this you’re not a master. Martin was fantastic at what he did. His sound mixed with Joy Divisions music. He taught us a lot. It had been so long since I had played the Joy Division music I ignored since 1980 and whilst in New Order, this felt ok but then when I came out of New Order after the split, this gave me the strength to celebrate Joy Division and it’s music.

Well I’m so glad you made that decision…
Well Macclesfield never celebrated their most famous son, you know. Ian is a legend. They never acknowledged him, I think you can go to the crematorium to see where he’s buried and that’s it. So when they decided to celebrate him and have Manchester bands to play Joy Division songs, I was over the moon but then this fell through. They asked us to help and I suggested that I pay but it fell by the waste side and I was really annoyed. We never celebrated 25, 20, 15, 10 or 5 years, but I was determined to celebrate the work of Joy Division. However, I never thought I would get further than your house in Chesterfield and so for Australia to ask us to play was so great.

So how do you feel about the rave culture now?
Yeah kids today still want that bit of hedonism and want to relive that time. That’s why the Stone Roses are selling out. Everyone is looking to be part of the resurrection and the explosion, and this hasn’t done any harm has it? I believe you can see Mani’s wallet from the moon [laughing].

Why do you think ‘Factory records’ and the club went under even though they were such a huge success?
Well they changed the world of clubbing. Manchester was the best place in the World. But I know exactly why it went bankrupt. We didn’t have a clue how to run a club as a business because that just seemed dull. We needed someone to be the sober one at the end who counts up and makes sure that the money is going where it needs to. That just didn’t happen. We were too busy shouting “COME ON MANCHESTER” off our heads and loving every fucking minute of it. There aren’t many bands that have entertained a whole city for as long as we did.

You’ve obviously inspired so many people, is there an artist who inspires you in the current music world?
I’m a fan of artists like Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal. They create such great singles, not so much LPs but that’s not the fashion nowadays. Artists like Ed Sheeran have such a wonderful way with music too, and yeah, we inspired people and people inspired us too. I actually used to spend a lot of my time in Leeds when I fancied a break, with Back to Basics. Now, that’s a place.

So what’s coming up for the rest of the year?
The book release and we have the 30th anniversary CD and night in May coming up. The rest of the tour to look forward to which of course is the best day job, which pays me to do the crazy stuff with the Hacienda. And if we don’t celebrate the 30th I might look a bit daft at the age of 66 celebrating the 40th or the 60th with my zimmer! I got a call from a young lad the other day that told me he had done a model of the Hacienda and let me tell you, it’s like the real thing. When you look in it you can’t believe the detail he has done it in and you just want to dive in it and dance your head off. So that’s going to be the centerpiece of the event and we are going to do an exhibition. It’s going to go with a bang!

Australia Tour Dates 2012 – Peter Hook & The Light

Thursday 12 April- Palace Theatre, Melbourne
Friday 13 April- Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane
Saturday 14 April- Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Monday 16 April- HQ Adelaide, Adelaide

By Frankie Salt

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