Playing Hooky: an interview with Peter Hook, Front magazine, 2002

Playing Hooky: an interview with Peter Hook, Front magazine, 2002


Two gigs coming up over summer and starting a new album in September? Bloody hell, are New Order a proper band again?

[When I got into this journalism malarkey, all I ever really wanted to do was interview somebody from New Order. That opportunity finally arose in 2002 when I was at Front magazine, where I’d reached the position where I could interview whoever I pleased, whenever I pleased. The very lovely New Order PR Jayne Houghton sorted this interview when the film 24 Hour Party People was being previewed. I thought that film had been made specifically for me. Never meet your heroes? I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed meeting a hero – and Hooky always gives good copy.]

Front, 2002

“Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, ba-ba-bum-ba-bum.” New Order bass guitarist Peter Hook is explaining how the bass line went in Joy Division’s 1977 track “Leaders Of Men” – Joy Division, of course, became New Order after the singer lan Curtis hanged himself. “That was more Barney, that,” Hooky is quick to point out. “It’s got a great chord in it – dern-ner-ner-na-newww” The Japanese tourists in the hotel bar we’re in, just off Trafalgar Square, look round and wonder what we’re talking about. Beers are ordered.

Are you a nu-metal fan?
I am actually through my kids. My kids play it all the time Blink-182, Sum 41. To me, I find the music quite punky, like old Clash stuff. It’s like a pop vocal on punk, which I like more than the Pearl Jam-type phase. But they make me laugh, all that fingers stuff.

The devil’s horn… what’s that all about?
I don’t know. I don’t get it. I remember the funniest thing that ever happened. We were at a pub in Manchester. Marky Mark’s been on and his support band came in the pub, and they were all doing the fingers and like, saying, “Get me a f***ing drink,” to this woman behind the bar, and all my mates – the Salford gang – were there. So we watched this support band doing all the fingers and we were like, “Ha, what are they doing, f***ing b******s?” So we had a word. And they were like, “Don’t f*** with us man, were from The Bronx.” Now my mates are from Salford, and we just had ’em [cracks fist into hand]. They left, went straight to the airport and flew home, ha-ha-ha!

With all the Pop Idol stuff on telly, have you lost interest in modern British music?
Yes. Do you know what made my Christmas? When Steps split up. I’m just really against manufactured things, like music, and I’m not being elitist or snobby or anything, but when I started it was to express yourself. It was something that you believed in, to move people. And as a musician, I’ve always admired that. And everybody who I’ve admired as a musician adheres to that. The Chemical Brothers, Echo And The Bunnymen, Sex Pistols, you did it to move people and annoy people. I hate this f***ing kiss-ass f***ing Hear’Say group. They’re taking money off babies.

The phone-call scam of Pop Idol as well. “It’s so close, keep ringing in!” Disgusting.
It’s like This Morning and that shit question. The calls are 50p each. All we’re waiting for now is S Club 7 to f*** off, cos actors becoming musicians and thinking they’re musicians, that’s a tragedy. As a musician I just don’t get it. It’s about your instrument. It’s about that force. When I f***ing play my guitar right, cos it’s hollow-bodied, it resonates. It comes out the portholes and it blows the hairs on your hands. And that to me is what it’s about. If it doesn’t f***ing blow you away, then why do it?

Did you invent your rock-guitar stance with the bass down low?
I stole it from [The Clash’s] Paul Simenon. I throw it around more than he did, cos he played low and I play high. And I do more shapes in the lead guitar. [Hooky is joined by his wife and young ’un.) Hello, darling, are you coming to join us? This is my wife Rebecca and my daughter Jessica. [To Jessica] Do you want to come and sit with Daddy for a minute?

Hooky, who do you support?
Er United. I had a season ticket last year, but I was so p***ed off with them playing shit. I felt embarrassed. And I thought, “I’ve paid to watch this.” Two grand for a season ticket, you know? They were taking the mickey. Now I don’t go into it that much. If it’s there, I’ll watch it, but I don’t live and breathe it. People find that hard to believe, like, “How can you do a World Cup song and not live and breathe it?” It was just a great idea. If someone asked us to do the Eurovision Song Contest. I’d do that an’ all.

You haven’t got a beard today, but why do you normally?
I think I look better with it. I started growing it when I was 21 and never stopped. I’ve shaved it off once while I’ve been with Rebecca, and she hated me. Hated me without me beard, didn’t you? [To daughter] You’re gonna have a beard when you grow up, aren’t you?

If you could be in any other band, which would it be?
lggy Pop, definitely. But I got asked by Killing Joke to join them, and I was all set to do it, and Youth, the bass player came back. As soon as Youth found out I was doing it, he came back.

Have you been back to Ibiza since making Technique there in ’88?
We almost made it for my mate’s 40th. I’m not too sure I’d want to return, because I had such a great time when I was there with New Order. I think we’d go somewhere a bit older. Cos I’d just be going round, “Oooh, that’s where we crashed. That’s where we wrote that Escort off. That’s where we used to get our thingies from.” We wrote off eight cars.

How did the rental company take it?
They were all right. They’d just give me another one. The funniest thing was, when we had six 18-30s in the back, I ripped the petrol tank off on a bump and drove on to the villa, and when we got to the villa, Barney [Bernard Sumner, New Order singer] was like, “What’s all this running out under the car?” And it was petrol. There were eight of us in it.

Were Es really better in the 80s, and is it true there wasn’t a comedown?
I used to always get a comedown. If you borrow from the bank you’ve got to pay it back. But it was proper, yes. In Australia it’s the same at the moment.

Did you have some over there recently?
Ha! Err, certainly bloody not. That’s for the youngsters and idiots.

Were drugs a problem for New Order?
Sometimes we went weeks without getting any.

When New Order toured America in the 80s, Bernard came down with a perforated stomach. What the hell were you doing?
Drinking Pernod. We actually thought it was gallstones, and when I phoned up I said, “Send the gallstones, and keep Bernard.” It was funny, because that’s when we really badly hated each other and our American manager phoned up, and he said, “Hi,” and I said, “Where’s that c***?” And he said, “He’s ill. He’s ill. He’s not well, and he can’t speak to you.” And said, “I’m gonna rip his head off when he gets here. I’m gonna kill him!” And he was, “Right, I’ll pass on your kind wishes.” Ha-ha-ha, we’re a lot better now.

Were there any big punch-ups between you and Bernard?
No. We smashed up Glasgow Barrowlands dressing room with each other. We smash around one another, but not at each other, which is quite funny. We don’t argue really. I just told him off for being horrible. And he said, “Well, that’s the way I am.” And said, “If you’re gonna do it, don’t do it in front of me. Do it anywhere else you want, but not in front of me.”

Kylle performed a version of “Blue Monday” at The Brits, Are any plans to do a New Order-Minogue record?
Heh-heh-heh. Do you know what, it’d be a lovely thing to do, but I can see it being very complicated. I thought that track was great. I really enjoyed it, and it was such a surprise. It was top. You’re a fan of ours, aren’t you?

Oh yes.

24 Hour Party People soundtrack is out on London Records. Hooky is on eight out of the 18 records.