Peter Hook
‘An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures’
April – May 2010
Interview: Steve Bateman

Starting April 11, Peter Hook begins a 16-date spoken-word tour of the UK called, ‘An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures: Tales From Joy Division, New Order & The Haçienda’, which will also be compered by his long-term friend, Howard Marks.

Subtitled, ‘Music, Memorabilia, Multimedia & Memories’, the tour flyer unveils, “Peter Hook, legendary bass-slinger with two of the most influential bands in British pop music history, Joy Division and New Order, and now, having reinvented himself as a respected DJ turned author, takes his own show on the road to tell the tragi-comic tales of Factory Records, Joy Division, New Order and the Manchester nightclub The Haçienda. The evening will include exclusive and previously unseen footage of Joy Division, New Order, The Haçienda, plus outtakes from Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People alongside music and chat. Audiences will also have the opportunity to ask Hooky questions about his life and his starring role in the history, legend and mythmaking of modern Manchester.” There will even be an exhibition of Hooky’s personal memorabilia from Joy Division, New Order, The Haçienda and the early Manchester punk scene as well. For further information, please visit or and see the full list of tour dates at the end of this article.

Bringing Peter’s career up-to-date, his Official Biog adds: “A well respected rock and roll icon, Hooky continues to record and produce new music, and manages his own affairs, both in music and in other ventures. He is also known for his generous support of many charities and organisations, including The Christie, Warchild, and being a director of The Tony Wilson Experience amongst others. Most recently, Hooky has opened a new chapter on his life, as a critically-acclaimed author with his honest to god, no holds barred account of the turbulent times of The Haçienda years in ‘The Haçienda – How Not To Run A Club’. Very well received, the book received 4 and 5 star reviews across the board for its indelibly sharp yet warm portrayal of the characters and chaos that surrounded The Haçienda. The book details the financial disaster but cultural success that accompanied the club and these experiences have equipped Hooky with many a cautionary tale about business, yet seen typically through his wry Salfordian sense of humour. Hooky is presently planning two further books, the next on Joy Division and then one on New Order.”

With his usual down-to-earth manner, wit and charm, Peter generously granted R*E*P*E*A*T an exclusive pre-tour telephone interview, where he discussed how ‘An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures’ came about, becoming a raconteur, as well as his recollections of having spent 3 Decades in music…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.To begin with, if it was R*E*P*E*A*T’s round, what drink would you have and which song would you choose on the pub jukebox?
“Hmm, now that’s an interesting one that is, isn’t it? Well, I’m not allowed to drink anymore, because I’ve been red-carded (laughing), and so what I’d go for, would probably be a Virgin Mojito (laughing), which would be a pile of mint leaves in a glass with ice. And what record would I choose on the pub jukebox (thinking), probably Bobby Goldsboro, Summer The First Time. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, but it was also one of my favourite songs when I was a kid and as both Joy Division and New Order, we spent hours trying to rip it off would you believe, you know the bit that goes (singing repeating pattern), but we never managed to rip it off (laughing)!”

2.The Sunday Times called you “A natural born anecdotalist,” but how did the idea for your spoken-word tour come about – along with having Howard Marks as the compere – and are you excited or nervous about the thought of talking in front of audiences?

“Right, ok, well what happened was, was that a colleague of mine, Phil McIntyre – who does these types of tours – he came and asked me to do it, and I must admit that I was really shocked at first, because it was something that I’d never considered you know, as a career path if you like. But then he quite rightly said to me, because I’d just done 24 Hour Party People, Control and the Joy Division Documentary (pausing), I had attended a lot of the premieres and at the premieres they always have a talk and a Q&A, and these were great fun for me, because I’d never done them before. So, it was just that wonderful thing of getting flown to Canada, to Greece, all around the world doing them you know, it was great and I really enjoyed it! Some of the questions were great and some of them were a bit wild, but it was always entertaining! Then Phil quite rightly said to me, “Well, you’ve been doing it for nothing and the only difference is, is that this time you’ll get paid for it.” So I thought, well you know, it’s true! I must admit though, I was still very nervous about it, I thought what can I do to allay my nerves if you like, and I thought I know, I’ll get Howard who’s an old friend of mine from 1990, because he does them all the time – I’ll get him to come with me and then I can hide behind him! But then lo and behold, when I did get Howard, he was more nervous than me (laughing), he was terrified! I went, “Howard, you’ve been doing it for years” and he went (doing an uncanny Marks impression), “Oh yes boyo, but I get so frightened!” So I thought, bleeding hell! But anyway, in a weird kind of way, we’re sort of holding each other up. Then we sort of tried to get an idea for the gig really and because I’ve got so much memorabilia, and now at our age, a lot of our fans are really into what happened and they still have such a fondness for the time and such a great melancholy for it all, that everybody likes to see it. The Haçienda Exhibition that was held at Urbis in Manchester, was the most popular exhibition that Urbis have ever done! It had something like 4x more people per day, than any other exhibition that they’ve ever done and the next most popular one below that, was Peter Saville’s Exhibition – the artwork, the album sleeves and all that lot. So I thought, hmm, why don’t we take some of this stuff that I’ve got with us and then you’ve got a pair of dusty old relics, talking about a load of other dusty old relics (laughs heartily)! Which I thought was quite a nice theme, and then it sort of graduated from that into sort of breaking the divide between the audience and the stage, maybe letting some people come up and have a look round your exhibition on the stage if you like. Make it that it becomes part of it and also for inspiration – people can see the things that we have, like my Brit Award and the Sex Pistols ticket you know, stuff like that, and then they can ask me and Howard questions about the exhibition, which might prompt us, or inspire us, to discuss things we hadn’t thought of. Then from there, I thought it’d be nice to play a couple of tunes, just on the bass, so I’m doing a couple of instrumentals of lesser known New Order tracks, just so I can hide behind the guitar for a bit really (laughing). I’d rather do anything than talk (laughs heartily), but then of course we will talk! Well, I’m hoping (pausing), I don’t know, you sort of struggle with it, because I’ve never done it (laughing), but I’m hoping that it will be a varied evening and entertaining for me, just as much as for Howard and for everybody else really.”

3.Have you been pleased with the feedback on your book, ‘The Haçienda – How Not To Run A Club’, and your newly-opened venue, ‘FAC251 - The Factory’?
“Yeah, I mean the book took a long time, it took 3 years for me to do the book from start to finish and it was really hard work! It was literally the equivalent of a non-musician deciding to write a pop LP, or something like that. Sometimes, I felt like I was staring up Everest you know, I had such a long way to go. But I was delighted when I did it and to my mind, the story that we’ve all been through – all of New Order, all of the people on Factory – is so fantastic, and so rich, and so diverse, and so shocking, that I couldn’t go wrong with it really.”

4.You’re often associated with rock ‘n’ roll mythology, but how does this make you feel and why do you think people tend to romanticise certain artists and bands?
“That’s an interesting point and I mean what happened was, is that very early on in New Order, I used to have very long blonde hair and a beard, and because of the way I used my guitar, someone nicknamed me ‘The Viking’, because I looked like one (laughing)! That’s what happened and it sort of stuck, and I must admit that I was always a great fan of the film, The Vikings, which stars Kirk Douglas. So I then started playing the theme music (singing song), before New Order went onstage and our fans then decided to call themselves ‘The Vikings’. So our die-hard fans are still to this day called ‘The Vikings’. It was a really nice thing and I’ve just had a new guitar made actually, called ‘Viking 1’, I’m going to be displaying it on the night. But the rock ‘n’ roll world is such an escapist culture and everybody knows that in an insane way, as soon as you become a rock musician, then you can literally do whatever you want in the world – you can act how you like, good or bad, you know? You can play up, you can indulge yourself and everybody just goes, “Oh, he’s in a rock band.” It literally is a recipe to get away with murder and this is one of the wonderful things, that if somebody told me 30 years after becoming a musician in a group, I would be sitting down talking to people about being a musician in a group at the ripe old age of 54, I would have said they were mad (laughing)! The honest thought that you’ve got a future talking about the past, is a great compliment really, to what you’ve achieved. The interesting thing is, especially for a band like Joy Division – in May, Ian’s been dead for 30 years God bless him – but the importance of Joy Division as a sort of cultural measure and as a musical measure in our society, you really have left your mark on history and it’s a wonderful thing! It doesn’t help you pay the bills of course (laughing), I’ve still got to go out and work, but you know, it’s a wonderful thing to think what you created in 1978 after seeing the Sex Pistols, is still as relevant musically and culturally today, as it was 30 years ago. That’s a hell of a compliment to our songwriting skills in Joy Division.”

5.Growing up, what was your biggest source for discovering new music, and can you remember the first press coverage, radio airplay or TV exposure that you ever had?

“Yeah, yeah, I do – I remember it very well actually! I mean I was just into rock music – pop music first of all and then I got into rock, or heavy rock, like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and literally, the first record that I ever heard that made me think that there was more to life than pop and rock, was Cockney Rebel, which is an album called The Psychomodo. Then I got into music, and the only person that I ever really wanted to play our music, was John Peel, and when John Peel did play our music, it was one of the happiest days or evenings of my life! I’ve still got the tape where I recorded the songs that he played of Joy Division, and later in life, John became a great friend of ours and a great supporter, and a great ally really. So our first radio airplay was the John Peel show and it was the only one that I ever wanted our music to be on! We always used to sneer about being on Top Of The Pops, but we did go on it and when we went on it, we played live and we had a great time actually, we were always the last out of the BBC bar (laughs heartily)!”

6.Has working with other musicians over the years – from Joy Division to New Order, to Revenge to Monaco, to Freebass to one-off collaborations – influenced / made you reassess the way you think about your own songwriting?
“(laughing) That’s an interesting question that, and the answer would be yes, but I’ve found that by sticking to what you know and to what you think you know, then your instinct generally pays off better – for me anyway – than listening to other people. I’ve always found that as a group, when New Order listened to other people, we ended up with an unsatisfying experience. Although you make great songs, like True Faith came from what I would consider to be a difficult session with a producer (pausing), it’s quite odd and I always thought and said to Barney, that we should do this ourselves. Because to me, the greatest compliment in the world, was when Quincy Jones signed us to his label in America, Quest, and we said to him, “Well, would you remix it and put it out?” And he went, “No man, you’ve done a fantastic job! It’s great – leave it at that!” We were like, “Wow” you know? To be told that you’ve done a great production job by Quincy Jones, you should never look back should you (laughing)?”

7.A journalist once said that a lot of the music that you’ve been involved with, “piles melody upon on melody and rhythm upon rhythm.” Has this always been your intention?
“(laughs heartily) Do you know what, we’ve never had any intentions! I was actually reading an interview with Bernard yesterday – which I don’t do often – and Bernard quite rightly said that “we never used to talk about music.” We never planned it, we literally just played it and when we did something good, we’d record it or remember it and put it together – we never talked about it. So no, we never had any intentions, other than we just wanted to write great music, we never really manufactured it. We were very lucky, because it came to us easily.”

8.Is it correct, that you prefer music to have more of an edge rather than being softened with studio polish?

“Yeah, that is true. This is one of the reasons why Bernard and I fell out on the last New Order LP, because I felt that he polished it too much and it lost a lot of the spark and spontaneity to be honest. But people are different and I accept that, everybody has different tastes, so you just put it down to experience really.”

9.Of all your songs to date, which one has been your favourite to make from start to finish?

“Um, my favourite song to make from start to finish, I think, would probably be Atmosphere. It’s such a wonderful, wonderful song, but it’s got into this habit now (pausing), people always say that we wrote Atmosphere and everyone plays it at funerals, and Robbie Williams wrote Angels and everybody plays it at weddings. But I’ll tell you what, at some of the funerals I’ve been to, I wish we’d written Angels, because once Atmosphere starts, it’s bloody heartbreaking. I always found it quite uplifting (pausing), the worst one was Tony Wilson’s funeral, right at the end they played Atmosphere and oh my God man, it was heartbreaking. But no, it’s Atmosphere.”

10.I read that Closer and Technique are your favourite Joy Division and New Order LPs respectively. But having also given the world some classic singles, I wondered if you were ever conscious of writing singles, or was the focus more on creating albums to be listened to as a whole, along with being packaged in iconic artwork?
“As an older musician, you tend to only work in albums and I find that iTunes is quite disappointing for that, because it presents albums as a list of tracks and everybody goes for 1 track, which is the single and which really is taken out of context. I find that that is one bit about modern musical consumption that I don’t like, that people and kids specifically, don’t get to listen to an LP. You know, I mean like when I listen to Raw Power by Iggy & The Stooges, when I listen to The End by The Doors, Chelsea Girl by Nico and The Velvet Underground by The Velvet Underground, you listen to them as albums and I find those moments so moving in my life. To think the way digital music is consumed, people don’t get that and I think it’s very, very sad. So no, I always think in terms of albums.”

11.Did you ever imagine that you would make such a distinctive and instantly recognisable bass sound / low-slung playing style all your own + which bass players do you most admire / what are some of your all-time favourite bass-lines?

“Well, John Entwistle is my favourite bass player and he wrote some great bass-lines! In terms of making a bass sound all my own (laughing), no, I mean my mother always said to me, “You do need a gimmick our Peter.” So, I think I found a gimmick she was recommending there, and again, it wasn’t a conscious thing, it just sort of evolved from the way that you play. I was talking to someone the other day about this and it’s amazing really, that Bernard and I met at school aged 11 and formed a band together and made the music that we did. Because the chances of two people coming together, who were going to be that good at making music is pretty rare isn’t it? It’s quite a coup that one!”

12.As ‘An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures’ will also feature an exhibition of your personal memorabilia, what are some of your favourite items?
“Do you know what mate, my favourite memorabilia is my kids stuff, from when they were babies. I was looking at a lot of it last week you know, looking at the Joy Division and New Order stuff, and I was also looking at their stuff and that’s my favourite, their little shoes and things… It’s a bit soppy (laughing).”

13.On a similar note, if the British Music Experience asked you to donate a piece of musical memorabilia, what would you give to them?

“Well, I have got a bass in there already actually, yeah.”

14.Obviously, Factory is one of the great labels of all-time, but is there another particular record label that you admire?
“That’s an interesting one. I suppose Rough Trade mainly, because Rough Trade had such a wonderful idea when they began, working it as a co-op and all being paid the same and all that lot. But unfortunately, it just didn’t work – it was very sad, but they made some great music!”

15.From when you first started out as a musician to where you are now, of all your contemporaries, who do you think will most likely be looked back on as important bands in years to come?
“Ooh, that’s a tricky one. I was listening to Echo & The Bunnymen today, so I’ll go for them, because I think they’re quite underrated actually.”

16.As a Club DJ, which tracks should every aspiring DJ have in their record box / what are some of your personal ‘Club Classics’?
“(laughs heartily) That track by Underworld – Born Slippy, it always gets them going that! If it’s going down shit on a night and they just don’t get me, I always stick that on and think, “If this doesn’t pull it out of the fire, nothing can.””

17.Of all your achievements to date, which are you most proud of and do you ever look back at vintage TV clips, interviews and live performances of yourself on YouTube?

“The achievements that I’m most proud of mate, are my children. With YouTube, I’d like to say that no, I don’t look on it, but I do (laughing)! I can’t resist sometimes sneaking on and having a look at Bad Lieutenant (Bernard Sumner’s new band). I think it sounds like New Order to be honest and I must admit, that both Bernard and I are in a bit of a predicament, because it’s very hard to push new stuff for old stuff, where it’s so heavily like a mantle – you always have a problem there. But I’d say it was ok, I thought there were some good tracks on it, I enjoyed it, yeah.”

18.If you had to place 5 songs from your career in a time-capsule for future generations to hear, what would they be?

“I’d start with our first song, which was called BL Bleeding L, then I’d put in the first song we ever wrote that sort of made people sit up and take notice, which was Transmission. Then Atmosphere, then Dreams Never End, which was the first song we wrote as New Order, and then Blue Monday. I think that just about sums us up, or it sums me up anyway.”

19.What’s next for you after ‘An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures’?

“I’m doing retrospective gigs as The Light, which is mainly music that I’ve played in my career. I’m also working with Mani and Andy Rourke on a group called Freebass – we’ve got our first EP, Two Worlds Collide, on The Haçienda website (, which is hopefully going up either today or tomorrow – at last! I’m delighted, because it means that everybody will be able to hear what we’ve been doing and what we’ve spent all this time on, so it’s good!”

20.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

“Chips, with gravy!”

A very special thanks to Peter, and to James @ Factory Records, for all of their time and help.

‘An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures’

UK Tour Dates

Sun 11 Apr '10 – Birmingham Glee Club

Mon 12 Apr '10 – Bolton Albert Hall

Tue 13 Apr '10 – Worcester Huntingdon Hall

Thu 15 Apr '10 – Milton Keynes Stables

Sun 18 Apr '10 – Middlesborough Town Hall

Tue 20 Apr '10 – Gateshead The Sage

Wed 21 Apr '10 – Durham Gala

Thu 22 Apr '10 – Burnley Mechanics

Sun 25 Apr '10 – Cardiff Glee Club

Mon 26 Apr '10 – Oxford Academy

Tue 27 Apr '10 – Wakefield Theatre Royal

Wed 28 Apr '10 – Gloucester Guild Hall

Thu 29 Apr '10 – Derby Assembly Rooms

Fri 30 Apr '10 – Norwich UEA

Sat 1 May '10 – Salford The Lowry

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