Peter Hook has a few stories to tell, and he is very good at telling them.
In a career that has spanned two of the most influential bands of the 20th century, he has earned millions — and blown millions. He has lived through the Joy Division years, the break-up and reformation of New Order, the opening and closure of the legendary Hacienda nightclub, the opening and closing of his own Factory record label. He has had a career long enough to make the top 10 in every major Western market in the world. All this done with a typical Manchester attitude that was mean and moody. This, coupled with the current legal wranglings with the other members of New Order, mean there is much to talk about. We caught up with Hook ahead of his DJ slot at the Step On indie night at Media One hotel on Friday.
Q. You’re back in Dubai for a third time now as a DJ. Is that turning into a real love for you?
A. Getting paid to play your own music is great and getting paid to play other people’s is a close second. I, like everyone else, underestimated how hard it was, though I was lucky to have two great teachers — Mani from the Stones Roses and Clint Boon of the Inspiral Carpets. Mani taught me how to not care and Clint taught me to care.
Q. You once owned a club in the shape of the legendary Hacienda. Wre you not tempted on the decks there?
A. No, back then I thought DJs were overpaid, pompous and full of their own self-importance. I now realise I had all those qualities, so I fit in perfectly. Bernard [Sumner, New Order vocalist] encouraged me in the ’90s but I didn’t start until 2004. I now realise what an art it is to read the crowd and give them a good night — in fact, it is underestimated.
Q. You have your own band Peter Hook and the Light. You are playing every Joy Division and New Order album in its entirety. How difficult is it?
A. It’s challenging for the band and the audience. We are putting together a new set all the time and the crowd don’t get the greatest hits set, it is more of an art piece than a typical concert. I feel a lot of the songs never got played by New Order so it is good to give them an airing. It requires more from us and the audience, it kind of feels new as some of the tracks we haven’t played in over 20 years.
Q. You were a band plagued with stories of disaster, be it clubs, record labels or personal tragedy. What one thing would you change?
A. I would only change one thing and that’s to go to see Ian [Curtis, Joy Division frontman, who committed suicide] on the Saturday night May 17 and look after him. I wonder what could have been if he was still alive today.
Q. You seem to hold Ian Curtis very close still even after all these years.
A. I do and maybe more now because as New Order we ignored the past and never celebrated any anniversaries. It seemed right at the time as we had to move forward and ignore it. You became distant and I felt like that until the band split in 2006.
Q. Million dollar question: Would you ever reform New Order.
A. I would play with Bernard and Stephen [Morris, the band’s drummer] as they are fantastic musicians. I am still though going through a legal process for the abuse of a minority shareholder. It is like a messy divorce that’s still going on.
— Mark, aka Sparky, presents Drive With Sparky on Radio 2, weekdays 4-7pm.
Don’t miss it
Peter Hook DJs at Step On, Media One hotel, Dubai, on Friday. Entry free before 11pm, then Dh100; 04-4271000.