Peter Hook Celebrates Joy Division and New Order

Writing three autobiographies might seem like overkill. When you played bass for two of the 20th Century's more significant bands  as Peter Hook has, though, there can never be too many memoirs. It doesn't hurt his cause that interviewing Hook is reminiscent of those Dos Equis ads featuring the most interesting man in the world.

You would figure the book about his time in Joy Division, the group of post-punk masters who dissolved after the suicide of singer Ian Curtis, would have the most painful memories to dredge up. Not so, Hook said. "The book about New Order was the most difficult. We did a lot of pretending everything was fine even though we couldn't stand each other. It was dysfunctional — especially when Joy Division was so natural and solid."

His remembrances of Joy Division come through with a glow of nostalgia. Bernard Sumners and Hook were inspired to start the band after seeing the Sex Pistols play. "Quite soon after we got together, we wrote great music that belied our age." The dark and moody tone of their songs fit for an interesting anecdote he shared from back in 1979 when the band members were questioned by the police over whether they were murderers. "The Yorkshire Ripper was operating in all of England's Red Light Districts murdering women. At the same time, all the punk clubs were in those less salubrious districts. We got pulled in and questioned. [Drummer] Steve [Morris] was so nervous, he got arrested."

Hook's words are far less glowing about the version of New Order that is still touring today: "l call them New Odor because they stink." Despite the hard feelings, his current tour with the Light will pay tribute to both bands, performing the singles compilation albums Substance. "In 2010, after I'd split with New Order for years, I realized New Order never paid proper attention to Joy Division. I started touring Joy Division songs. We play it in the sequence of the record with the right passion, faithfully to the recorded versions."

Besides the tour, Hook is keeping busy. He has a song on the upcoming Trainspotting 2 soundtrack and is in discussions to collaborate with Kraftwerk's Wolfgang Flür. Perhaps there is material to come for a fourth volume? "Not one of my books has a happy ending. I might have to have one in a book about my old age."

Peter Hook and the Light
8 p.m., Friday, November 18, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-564-1074; Tickets cost $25 via
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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland