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Peter Hook

+ {Revenge} + {Monaco} + {Freebass} + {Peter Hook & The Light}

As equally important as Tony Iommi’s doom-laden guitar licks for 70s metal pioneers BLACK SABBATH, Hooky’s chunky bass riffs for JOY DIVISION, NEW ORDER, REVENGE, MONACO, FREEBASS, et al, set the bar for followers of the somewhat undervalued instrument.
Born Peter Woodhead, 13th February, 1956, Broughton, Salford, Gtr. Manchester, and after living with his maternal grandmother after his parents divorced, he took the surname of his re-married mother’s husband, Hook; one thinks that his nickname derived from the school playground.
From early 1977 to the 18th May 1980, Peter and JOY DIVISION carved out several seminal cuts over the course of two classic LPs (`Unknown Pleasures’ 1979 and `Closer’ 1980), although their tenure was all-too-brief with the tragic suicide of enigmatic frontman Ian Curtis. Rising from the ashes, the remaining alumni (Hooky, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris) updated the alt-indie formula into NEW ORDER, taking the genre further into 80s electro and beyond – `Blue Monday’, etc.
In March 1984, with Lindsay Reade, then wife of Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, Hooky (alongside label band STOCKHOLM MONSTERS) performed and produced Ad Infinitum’s unique and one-off version of the Joe Meek classic, `Telstar’; HOOK curtailed all further side-projects until around the turn of the decade, when Sumner was rather busy with Johnny Marr in ELECTRONIC.
Featuring Peter on distinctive bass, former technical engineer Chris Jones (CJ to his friends) on keys/synths and Dave Hicks on Sumner-like vocals and guitar, REVENGE was his next port of call. With songs premiered at a bondage nightclub gig, ONE TRUE PASSION (1990) {*4} was initially panned by the critics and ultimately NEW ORDER fans who mostly steered clear of making this a hit. The rather risque and raunchy S&M cover shot – plus other such noughties captured inner sleeve – disguised the fact that attendant singles `7 Reasons’, `Pineapple Face’ and `Slave’ (the latter double-A flipped with their take of JOHN CALE’s `Amsterdam’) were decidedly limp-fisted; if titles made good songs, maybe `Fag Hag’ and `Surf Nazi’ might’ve just Carlsberg’d it. Probably perturbed at all the criticism, Hicks bailed out and was superseded in April ’91 by David Potts; the `Gun World Porn’ EP couldn’t mend the damage. While live sets featured re-treads of NEW ORDER’s `Dreams Never End’ (Hooky sang lead on the 1981 debut), The ROLLING STONES’ `Citadel’ and The VELVET UNDERGROUND’s `White Light/White Heat’, time was up for REVENGE in 1992 when Hooky opted to re-group with NEW ORDER. His first marriage to Iris Bates now over (they had two children, Heather and Jack), he wed “Royle Family” actress/writer/comedian Caroline Aherne (he appeared as Hooky on her Mrs Merton spoof talk-show), but this only lasted between 1994 and 1997; he subsequently married a third time (to Becky Jones) and has another child Jessica.
Spurred on by the old sound of his former electro-meisters, Hooky (and Pottsy) re-kindled their musical partnership with MONACO. Loved for their Britpop-styled aural connections and Peter’s subliminal sonic soundscapes, MUSIC FOR PLEASURE (1997) {*7} caught the mood of the record buying public. While both the album and the accompanying single, `What Do You Want From Me?’, only just missed out on a Top 10 placing, others, too, such as `Sweet Lips’ and minor hit `Shine (Someone Who Needs Me)’ bridged the gap between OASIS, LIGHTNING SEEDS and er, NEW ORDER. The eponymous MONACO (2000) {*6} took Hooky and Pottsy on yet another enjoyable mission of pure-pop-meets-disco; check out `I’ve Got A Feeling’, `Black Rain’ and the acoustic folk-beat number `Marine’.
The lure of NEW ORDER dragged him back for two further sets (`Get Ready’ – 2001 and `Waiting For The Sirens’ Call’ – 2005), but with long-time member Gillian Gilbert already out of the picture (she was married to their guitarist Stephen Morris), the group just sort of fizzled out. Or did it?
Manchester had been at the core of the indie-dance scene from time and memorial, and when supergroup FREEBASS formed in 2004/5 (featuring a triumvirate of bassists Peter, Gary “Mani” Mounfield from The STONES ROSES and PRIMAL SCREAM, Andy Rourke from The SMITHS; vocalist Gary Briggs from Haven was added in 2010), one could see this team meant business. On the back of an EP for Hacienda Records, `Two Worlds Collide’, their belatedly released pop’n’dub set IT’S A BEAUTIFUL LIFE (2010) {*5} found the combo a little shy of great songs; examples `Not Too Late’ and the LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY-esque `Stalingrad’. Credentials and CVs aside, the set was rather average and disjointed for most acolytes of all parties concerned; Briggs’ Haven pal, Nat Watson, was drafted in almost immediately when Rourke spun off to New York.
In between activities, Peter also authored his first book, How Not To Run A Club (2009), detailing his time spent as co-owner of The Hacienda. Having embarked on a succession of extracurricular session work for the likes of PERRY FARRELL’s Satellite Party, Hybrid and The CRYSTAL METHOD while FREEBASS took shape, Hooky’s next mission was to re-create his best JOY DIVISION period. Marking the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death, and billed as Peter Hook And The Light (the name of his Manchester nightclub), the group performed every song from the group’s debut. After a one-off MAN RAY EP alongside Phil Murphy, Hooky and his band took stage show abroad; UNKNOWN PLEASURES: LIVE IN AUSTRALIA (2011) {*5} showcased Peter as a very competent deputy for a very sadly-missed Curtis. While Rowetta Idah (from HAPPY MONDAYS and The X Factor fame) augmented The Light on a JOY DIVISION-infused EP, Hooky was embarking on taking his old muckers NEW ORDER to court – they’d re-formed without telling him – oops!
Unperturbed, PETER HOOK AND THE LIGHT continued to spread the word of NEW ORDER by playing concerts performing whole sets such as the twinned MOVEMENT & POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES (2013) {*6} and LOW LIFE & BROTHERHOOD (2015) {*6}. Peter stirred the pot even deeper and revised JOY DIVISION’s UNKNOWN PLEASURES & CLOSER – LIVE AT HEBDEN BRIDGE (2015) {*6}. A triple-CD dedicated to the late Ian Curtis gave some credence to SO THIS IS PERMANENCE (also 2015) {*6}, though the sprawling nature of subsequent bootleg-type performances left discographers pulling out what was left of their hair. If disciples of Pete’s seminal combos were happy to see “The Light” uber-perform their sounds (method to his madness maybe?), subsequent selective releases came in the shape of SUBSTANCE: THE ALBUMS OF JOY DIVISION & NEW ORDER {*6} – a triple-CD live at the Apollo Theatre, Manchester 16/09/16; then JOY DIVISION’S UNKNOWN PLEASURES & CLOSER / NEW ORDER’S MOVEMENT (2017) {*7} – live at the Roundhouse Camden; then NEW ORDER’S TECHNIQUE & REPUBLIC {*6} – live at Koko London 28/09/18. If it all seemed rather weird, petty and downright disturbing to follow, there was one near certainty… and that there would probably be even further re-sets to come!
© MCS Strong/MCS May2012-Jun2019

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