With Peter Hook & The Light, the music of Joy Division and New Order lives on

Peter Hook, formerly of Joy Division and New Order, pays tribute to the bands with The Light. He'll perform two singles collections called “Substance,” one by each group May 25th at Cat's Cradle.
Peter Hook, formerly of Joy Division and New Order, pays tribute to the bands with The Light. He'll perform two singles collections called “Substance,” one by each group May 25th at Cat's Cradle. Paul W. Dixon

Peter Hook loves to tour, which may have resulted in some of the conflicts he had with his former band, New Order.

“I’m about to play my 500th show tomorrow night,” Hook says. “I’ve played as many shows solo in eight years as I did with New Order in 27 years. Crazy isn’t it? We were on a different page.”

New Order and Hook, 62, reached a financial settlement over royalties in 2015 but don’t expect a reunion any time soon.

The former New Order bassist has been estranged from his former bandmates since the act reformed in 2011 without him. There have been a number of issues between New Order and Hook.

“I’m fine doing my own thing,” Hook says while calling from Los Angeles.

Hook always has been a bit different than his former mates. The bassist always rocked the hardest in New Order, and he has re-embraced its earlier incarnation, the late beloved band, Joy Division.

“We all came out of Joy Division,” Hook says. “Why not reconnect with it?”

Vocalist Ian Curtis and drummer Stephen Morris formed Joy Division with Hook in Manchester in 1976. On the eve of the band’s American tour in 1980, Curtis died by suicide.

“I’m still shocked by it,” Hook says. “We all have our theories why Ian did it but we’ll never know the truth.”

The surviving members of the dark Joy Division formed the lighter, more accessible New Order. “Both bands have an incredible legacy,” Hook says.

On Hook's current tour, he delivers a set from each band with his group The Light, which stops May 25, at the Cat’s Cradle. Hook will render two singles collections called “Substance,” one by each group.

“I enjoy playing both 'Substance' albums since the songs are so different,” Hook says. “They each have so much meaning for me. New Order’s 'Substance' means so much since that’s the album that broke for us in America.”

The album went platinum in America, courtesy of such catchy gems as “Bizarre Love Triangle,” “Temptation” and “True Faith.”

“That album had such an impact in America,” Hook says. “We were completely embraced by Americans during the ‘80s. It was amazing.”

A devoted audience supports Hook’s project as well as New Order. “That’s because New Order is part of the ‘80s," Hook explains. "Americans are obsessed with the ‘80s, which is good for me. Music fans love New Order. They love the music and the history of the band.”

When New Order formed right after the demise of Joy Division, why did Bernard Sumner become the vocalist instead of Hook?

“It just happened that way,” Hook says. "Bernard, Stephen (Morris) and I were all capable vocalists. Bernard couldn’t sing and play guitar (then). It just worked with that formula.”

New Order worked as a collective until “Technique” dropped in 1989. “With “Technique” we wrote songs on our own,” Hook says. “'Technique' is my favorite New Order album.”

Hook is planning on an autumn tour in which he will play “Technique” and 1993’s “Republic” in their entirety.

“'Republic' is my least favorite New Order album due to the atmosphere making it,” Hook says. “But I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the songs from those albums. I'll make them beefier. I’ll make them more rockier.”

One of rock’s great “what ifs” is what might have been with Joy Division if Curtis hadn't died.

“I believe the band would have sounded similar,” Hook says. “There would have been a darker 'Blue Monday,' a darker 'Temptation.' Ian loved the keyboard aspect of Joy Division. We definitely would have gone the same way musically. He loved the synthesizers of Kraftwerk and Donna Summer. He loved the disco beat.”

Curtis, like many rockers who died too soon, including The Doors' Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, still looms large.

“I’m still shocked at all of the worship,” Hook says. “There is so much reverence. You look at all that is posted about Ian on social media today and it’s truly humbling.”

It’s been more than a decade since Hook was part of New Order. “But the music lives on,” Hook says. “With me, New Order and Joy Division lives on. I’m proud to keep these songs alive.”


Who: Peter Hook & The Light

When: 8 p.m. May 25

Where: Cat's Cradle, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro

Tickets: $28 in advance, $31 day of show

Info: 919-967-9053 or catscradle.com

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