By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
Even though New Order has officially split up, bassist Peter Hook isn't exactly resting on his laurels. The 52-year-old now travels the world as an in-demand DJ, in between writing and recording new music with Freebass, a project he's formed with ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke, ex-Stone Roses/current Primal Scream bassist Mani and ex-Haven vocalist Gary Briggs.
Before New Order's dissolution, however, Hook and his bandmates oversaw a new DVD, New Order: Live In Glasgow. The two-disc set features interviews, a gig filmed in October 2006 at the Carling Academy and archival concert footage of the band dating back to 1981 — soon after it formed from the ashes of Joy Division. Remastered versions of New Order's early albums — with b-sides included — are also due later in the year.
Annie Zaleski: You are a very busy man. I was reading your MySpace blog, and it made me tired just reading it.
Peter Hook: [laughs] Well, the unfortunate thing about DJing is you tend to have to do a lot of traveling. I've only been DJing for four years, and after four years of doing it, I must admit I do get used to it. It always amazes me when I get to the airport and see people who are really excited that they're in an airport. Literally the week before, when I went to Asia, I did nine flights in three days.
I know, it's amazing what you can get used to, isn't it? I do six flights in a weekend, that's just normal for me. It's hell, I must admit. It's become a big part of my life. In fact, I do admire the way that Roger Sanchez, God bless him, he said, "Listen, man, I play for free. People pay me to travel." It's so true.
Is it easier DJing or having been in a touring band?
DJing is easier...it's just you. But again, you have the problem that it's quite lonely. And also, if you have a great gig, there's no one to share it with. And if you have a shit gig, then you just feel like shit. It's interesting DJing, because every gig's different, whereas with a band — especially when you're an established group — each gig's the same. The recognition level from the audience is the same, they know your stuff, they're there because they're your fan. Whereas DJing, you can put yourself in some very, very tricky situations.
What's the trickiest situation you've ever been in as a DJ?
God, there was one in Italy, when I got bottled off. Really pissed me off. So I put the Sex Pistols on. [laughs] And then sat back and hid under the desk with all these bottles raining down on me. Fucking 'ell, mate, it was really scary. I came off and the guy said, "Oh, maybe I should have put you on Saturday night." I said, "Oh, fucking thanks a lot."
Just like 30 years ago — you're playing the Sex Pistols, you're getting stuff thrown at you...
Oh yeah, it was great! It's true the Sex Pistols can have that effect — thirty years later. That was wonderful. It just made you always think, there's that thing about being a punk and liking to annoy people. And I thought, "What can I do here?" not to protect myself or anything, "I know, I'll put 'Anarchy in the U.K.' on!"
You've been looking back a lot, on this audio and video footage of New Order. What's surprised you the most, looking at all this stuff?
Probably the haircuts. It's like an endless line of dodgy haircuts. No, I mean, what has amazed me a lot of the time is how good the material is. Listening to the remastered New Order LPs, as I've been doing recently, getting ready for those coming out, I was amazed at how good they sound, how powerful. The remastering's really helped them, which has been great.
We were so pissed off, Stephen [Morris, New Order drummer] and I, with the way [2002's Live at] Finsbury Park turned out, the editing and the sound, that we wanted to be involved in this one, which we were. Luckily it came before New Order split, so we managed to amicably work on it well together and enjoy it. It was a matter of making it look good, and making it easy and enjoyable to watch. [Some videos] it's like they've been edited by a hyperactive five-year-old after [having] a bowl of [British chocolate candy] blue Smarties. I'm going, "Who watches this shit?" because I cannot watch it. It's frightening.
Thank you! It's just like, it's so fast. Am I just getting old?
I can't believe it, we had so many arguments with the guy. We were going, "Don't fucking cut! You hold it, let people watch what you're doing. Why are you doing it?" It's just like, "Well, that's what everybody does." "Fuck everybody." We wanted it to be much more Old Grey Whistle Test. I think it's a really sad aspect, I think it ruins performances, and it ruins New Order Live at Finsbury Park. Stephen and I were adamant that we wouldn't let that happen again.