Hooking up with a rock legend

Peter Hook. Photo: Mark McNulty.
Peter Hook. Photo: Mark McNulty.

DON’T miss the chance to see one of the Manchester scene’s true legends live on stage, when Peter Hook performs as part of the Four Four Time 2012 Festival of Live Music.

Hook, legendary bassist with seminal Manchester bands Joy Division and New Order, comes to Buxton Opera House with his band, The Light, on Saturday February 25, at 7.30pm, to play Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures in full, as well as other songs from his back catalogue.

Here he answers a few questions ahead of his Buxton gig:

What made you start to revisit the classic Joy Division albums: Unknown Pleasures and Closer with The Light?

There was a festival being arranged in 2010 to commemorate Ian Curtis’ life which fell through and I was quite upset about that, so I took it on myself to organise something. I decided to play Unknown Pleasures in full with The Light at The Factory in Manchester. Reactions were great and then people began to ask us to perform it in the UK and then all over the world.

How has it been, returning to Joy Division material?

For me I love the music and I am really happy to have rediscovered it after all those years when we studiously ignored it. When I decided to do the album shows, it had been more than three decades since I’d played most of the tracks.

Tell us about your band The Light?

The band features my son Jack Bates on bass, who is the same age now as I was, when I wrote the songs. We also have two members of Monaco (my other band, formed in the 90s) – Paul Kehoe on drums and Andy Poole on keyboards along with Nat Wason, the guitarist from Freebass. Rowetta is also guesting with us at the Buxton concert, as she sings tracks across the set, which thankfully gives me an opportunity to play bass. She does great versions of New Dawn Fades, Insight and Atmosphere.

Is it gratifying to be performing with your son?

Yes, Jack really is a great guy and he really does look after me. I’m lucky really as it’s not every father who knows exactly where his 22-year-old son is all the time, do they? Ha-Ha! He is a great bass player as well and very dedicated and devoted to the band.

Why did you decide to focus on playing Unknown Pleasures and Closer in their entirety?

I prefer to play the records in the order that they are on the albums. I think it’s more respectful to the work and we take great care to replicate the albums as faithfully as possible, even to the point where they start with the sound of the needle hitting the album. Artistically it’s a lot more satisfying and hopefully for the audience as well. Also we get to play a lot of the lesser heard tracks which we wouldn’t get to play otherwise.

You have one of the most distinctive bass styles in music – is it true it came about because of cheap speakers not picking up the low end, or is there a more aesthetic reason behind it?

No there was no deliberation about it, so that’s true about the cheap speaker. What happened was that Ian (Curtis) loved it and pushed me to develop it. Ian always had great ideas and really encouraged me to use it all the time.

What do you think is the secret behind Joy Division’s continued popularity – Ian’s untimely death, or something more inherent and universal with the music?

As a musician I would have to say the music. It is a great testament to Ian and the contribution of the entire band that it remains so popular and influential some 30 years on.

l Peter Hook & The Light perform as part of Four Four Time 2012, the 10th Buxton festival of live music. For tickets, priced £18 and £20, contact the box office on 0845 127 2190 or visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.

The festival opens on Saturday evening with Echo & The Bunnymen and Mary Coughlan.