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Peter 'Hooky' Hook

by Chris Sharratt, December 20th, 2002 (

60 SECONDS EXTRA!: Peter 'Hooky' Hook is the bass-playing, leather trouser-wearing member of New Order and previously Joy Division. He's also integral to the story of Factory Records and The Haçienda nightclub. After regrouping to release a new album, Get Ready, this year has seen Hook immortalised in the film 24 Hour Party People. The band have just released their first box set, Retro.

Extra and exclusive:
Are New Order back together for good?

I don't know. I can't get my head round still doing it when I'm 50. When we started this thing at 21, 50 was like being dead and buried - it's the old punk ethic. But age creeps up on you so easily. I mean I love it; I'll probably still be doing it when I'm 65 in the pub, boring the arse of everybody playing old Joy Division songs, saying: 'I'll just play She's Lost Control again'.

Is there a certain age you have to stop wearing leather trousers?
Well, there's a certain age you stop buying them. Funnily enough, I've got a pair in the house.

Do you still wear them?
Only when I'm out on the motorbike. It was one of those things you could only get away with in America, because when I wore them over here all me mates would laugh at me. So as soon as you got on a plane to go and play somewhere out came the leather kecks; walking round Manchester you'd have no chance.

Alright in LA, but not in Manchester?
Yeah, in Manchester they'd rip the piss out of you.

Did hearing the old songs in 24 Hour Party People prompt you to do the box set?
It re-introduced us to Joy Division. It wasn't until we went to see it that we heard She's Lost Control and Digital again, and the three of us just went back and started playing it all. But the box set was Rob's idea [Gretton, New Order's manager who died in 1999]. He wanted to do a collection of the singles, because a lot of them had never been released on CD, and he wanted to do them with the B-sides, the sleeves, everything. The record company couldn't really cope with that, so we needed to get an angle, and we came up with getting other people to compile the CDs with their idea of New Order.

Did you really just leave it up to them to pick the songs
Yeah, except the live CD which we worked on with Bobby [Gillespie, of Primal Scream], for the other three they just got on with it. Miranda Sawyer's selection was great - like a compilation you'd make for your car - and Mike Pickering picked some remixes that I hadn't even heard before.

Isn't it just New Order being lazy, getting someone else to compile it?
Lazy's fine, yeah, lazy's all right! It was a bit self-indulgent getting other people to do it, but it works. If it hadn't we wouldn't have gone along with it. I think it sounds really good and I'm a difficult man to please because I'm f***ing sick of a lot of the songs.

A box set's a very grown-up thing to do..
It's a bit like getting one of those lifetime achievement awards isn't it?

Does it draw a line under the band's past?
Not really, because at the moment we're all happier than we've been before with New Order. I was so unhappy with how we'd ended in 1993 that I just couldn't listen to New Order because it depressed me. I could listen to Joy Division but not New Order.

And now?
Now I've been listening to things that I haven't listened to for years. I was laying a laminate floor recently, funnily enough, and I had a CD on that my four-year-old daughter didn't like. She went and put Brotherhood on [1986 New Order album], so I got to hear it for the first time in ages, which was great. I was really proud of myself!

Did you start playing air-bass?
No, but that laminate flooring didn't half get a hammering, I'll tell you. There's some great riffs on that album.

Things have changed a lot since you recorded that record..
Yeah, it's very difficult for me now when I go uptown and I see The Haçienda as it looks now. Manchester's changing so much.

What do you feel when you see luxury apartments being built on the site of The Haçienda?
It's just wild, it's the strangest feeling.

And they're even calling them The Haçienda, which you're OK with?
Yeah, I think I was right to give them The Haçienda name, because it will always live on. If someone had bought the club I don't think they'd have been able to open it as The Haçienda and the name would have disappeared. And if it was still there and still a club it'd be like someone going out with your ex-girlfriend, wouldn't it? Like watching your ex-bird have a great time with somebody else. So I'm glad they knocked it down.

So it's city centre living rather than city centre raving?
Yeah. All I asked them to do was to put a brass plaque downstairs in the foyer for Rob Gretton, which I'm going to open like Prince Charles. The Haçienda was very much Rob's baby and it needs to be remembered as that.

What's next for New Order?
We're going to get this album written and finished and hopefully we'll do something live for the summer. I'd like to anyway; all I've got to do is persuade Bernard [Sumner].

So he's still not too keen on playing live?
Put it this way, let's hope someone buys me a shotgun for Christmas. Then there might be a New Order gig next year.

No plans to do another club in the future, then?
Once bitten, twice shy. What I do now is go to other people's clubs and bars and relax, without having to worry about the bloody general public. I mean, they're more trouble than a barrel of monkeys. Somebody asked me to get involved with a bar a while ago and I was nearly daft enough to, but my wife stopped me.