Off the Hook:
Exclusive Peter Hook Interview
By Alistair Cochrane
One might have thought that years of interviews would have left Peter Hook tired of the process. One might have assumed the same after almost 45 years of touring and playing live shows. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
On the phone, Hook’s tone is jovial and chatty, instantly reminiscing about his Joy Division days, and some of his early memories of Saddleworth:
“I actually know Saddleworth really well because we used to go to raves in 1986/87/88. A girl I knew had access to a big PA system and we used to go to Saddleworth so we wouldn’t be disturbed. So, if anyone was kept up in that era by some drugged up lunatics in the middle of the night, then I apologise as I may have been involved.”
As well as these early days, Hook did have some more… wholesome memories of Saddleworth:
“I lived in Moston for 10 years, so we even used to and take the kids up there a lot as well but it will be nice to come back and play it.”
Upon forming Peter Hook and the Light, Hook’s own son, Jack Bates, was instituted as bass player, however, Jack has now moved on to another globally recognised rock piece:
“I lost a lot of, so called, friends from the New Order days, but Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins was a great friend of mine who stuck by me. So, whenever we played near where he lived he would come and sing with us which is obviously fantastic. The only problem is that when he’d seen my son play a few times he decided to poach him! Just goes to show you can’t trust anybody, especially not rock stars!”
Peter Hook was one of the many artists that was supposedly inspired by the famous Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, having gone out an bought his bass guitar following the performance. He and Bernard Sumner then went and formed Joy Division in 1976. The years have not lessened Hook’s love of performing live though:
“It’s always great to play loads of gigs and festivals. One of the big things about New Order is that we didn’t play a lot of gigs and they still don’t. I always hated not playing live so one of the silver linings of New Order splitting up is that I can play whenever and wherever I want because we just love gigging.”
At the time of the interview, Peter Hook and the Light were getting ready to play the Isle of Wight festival, something that Hook himself was especially excited about, however, it’s the north of England that still holds the Mancunian’s heart:
“It’s always nice to play up north though I have a real affinity with certain places up north that we used to gig in the early days of New Order but we got out of the habit once we became big so it’s always nice to go back to your roots if you like. Northern audiences are always such a pleasure.”
Hook’s love for the north also comes because of the amount of great music it has created over the years and urges more local youngsters to get out and make music:
“I can’t think of anything better than being in a Northern group. You can take it anywhere because the whole world is waiting for that music. There aren’t many places like the North of England that has made so many globally famous bands and we’re very lucky to have that. If that doesn’t inspire young musicians I don’t know what will!”
Hook also points to today’s political climate as a reason to go out and make music:
“Politically we’re due a revolution, Boris bloody Johnson… can we not. I really feel for you young kids cos you’re having your future taken away so I hope you find a solution I really do. But that’s just another reason that we need festivals, it sends politics out of the window. It’s just a great step away from reality where people can come to listen to music and have a good time.”
So, what can Cotton Clouds goers expect from Peter Hook and Light’s Friday night headline spot?
“We’re very passionate and very energetic on stage even at my age because we love what we do and we love to get crowds excited. In terms of songs, we’ll sit together and get a setlist together made up of songs from both bands. It will mostly be made up of hits for a festival because no one turns up to festivals for a bunch of dodgy b-sides.”
Peter Hook & The Light will be headlining Cotton Clouds Festival on Friday 16th August.