Peter Hook & The Light will be performing songs from New Order’s Low Life and Brotherhood albums live on stage at Neumos. Peter Hook of Joy Division fame and New Order history is bringing some of his vast catalog of music to Seattle tonight. There are still a few tickets available. Click here for attend this amazing show.
ED: Your career has spanned almost 40 years and covered many genres from Punk to Electronica. Is it hard to stay that relevant musically?
PH: That is an interesting question. Relevance is really in the eye of the beholder. The interesting part is that the last New Order record still stands whether it was recorded by New Order or someone masquerading as New Order. It was released back in 2004. That being said, most of the music has lasted and stayed relevant. The simple reason you have a 40 year career, which almost pains me to say, is because your music sort of stands the test of time. We played Joy Division last week in Mexico to three and a half thousand people. I would say that 50% of them were under the age of 25. Our music still has relevance today with younger people who are discovering it for the first time. That comes down squarely to being good musicians and writing good music.
ED: You write a large volume of songs for other artist as well. Didn’t you co-write “Shut Up and Drive” for Rihanna?
PH: The thing is, we didn’t actually write that song. They “stole” influences. We have been sited with a lot of influences. People very kindly acknowledge that and give us publishing credit. Well usually, before they get caught. We aren’t actually one of those groups that sue people if they sound like us. Otherwise, we would be bloody millionaires wouldn’t we… You do get paid a great compliment by songwriters when they use you for inspiration. “Shut Up and Drive” was based on “Blue Monday” by New Order. Kylie Minogue very graciously gave us publishing credit on a track that she did as well.
ED: Is it true that you were influenced enough by the Sex Pistols that you bought a bass guitar after their second show in Manchester?
PH: It was after the first show. I didn’t have a musical bone in my body at that moment. I just loved their attitude. It was so much different to go see a band like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple. When you watched the Sex Pistols, you felt like could do it. I went to see Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple even David Bowie but I never looked at them and thought that I could do that. When I saw the Sex Pistol I just thought, I can do that. Yet, I had never played an instrument or written a song in my life. It was insane. To think about it in the cold light of day, how mad is that?!? You walk in there as an audience member and came out as a musician. Then you go on for another 37 years as a musician and still enjoying your career. What is the chance of one person doing that? In Manchester there were a lot more than just one. It was really a bit of a cosmic happening, really.
ED: How do you feel about Joy Division being compared to The Doors and Kraftwerk?
PH: It was quite interesting. Ian Curtis was a great fan of Kraftwerk and The Doors. Neither Bernard Sumner nor I had ever heard The Doors. We mentioned it in a band meeting one day and Ian loaned us a record. As Joy Division we actually used to play “Riders on the Storm” at some gigs but it never got recorded. A lot of people didn’t get it at the time. They just thought it was a Joy Division song. Ian eventually introduced me to Kraftwerk as well. They became a big influence on us as well. They are just a fantastic group. Ian used to play “Trans-Europe Express” before we went on stage. He always used to insist on playing it because he thought is set the perfect atmosphere.
ED: What was it like to perform on television for the first time in 1978?
PH: Terrifying! Everything was so new. At the same time, everything was fantastically exciting. A gig was exciting but to go to London for a gig you were beside yourself. It just kept coming and coming. We were just blown away to go on television and play our music live. We were so young and it was all so fresh. Joy Division was a fantastic group and wrote great songs. To think, that their music is appreciated as much today as it was 37 years ago is such a fantastic compliment to the members’ talents.
ED: How did the band heal and become New Order after Ian’s death?
PH: I don’t know. It is just something we were young enough to shrug off. I don’t think we ever healed, to be honest. I don’t think you will ever find a group as dysfunctional as New Order. I think obviously it did damages. How else would you explain this insane way of treating each other that we have now? It is absolutely unique in a true New Order fashion. It is ridiculous. I think the best idea would have been for us to play separately and go our own ways.
ED: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
PH: There has only ever been one person actually. It is Iggy Pop. He is my hero and I love his music.
ED: Do you have a favorite song in your current show?
PH: Well, my favorite song actually changes from night to night. It depends on if we fuck it up or not (laughter). I am enjoying the Electronic ones, which is insane. I really like the slower ones on Brotherhood like “All Day Long”, “Angel Dust” and “Every Little Counts”. Singing them has given me a whole new perspective on them. They are immensely beautiful. Brotherhood is quite a contrasting album because it is half Acoustic and half Electronic. We couldn’t decide in fact we fell out about it. That is why we have two sides of the LP. Bernard wanted it to be just Electronic and I wanted it to be just Rock. New Order was always a compromise. That is what made them great. It was quite funny that we were fighting so much yet we called the LP Brotherhood.