Peter Hook: “Prince Andrew’s Secret Service men shot out New Order’s amplifier”

In Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember. This week: former Joy Division and New Order bass legend Peter Hook

In Shaun of the Dead, a zombie is killed by a thrown copy of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. Can you name any of the other records that are hurled?

“I thought he didn’t throw ‘Blue Monday’ because he treasured it so much that he put it back in the box? I can’t remember any others – although I’m hoping The Stone Roses was one of them!”

WRONG. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is upset when Ed (Nick Frost) chucks ‘Blue Monday’ – the others tossed are Prince’s ‘Batman’ soundtrack, Dire Straits and Sade. The Stone Roses’ ‘Second Coming’ is saved after some debate.

“If it was a fucking zombie attack, I’d have thrown ‘Blue Monday’ too!”

Didn’t New Order once spurn an invitation to Prince’s Paisley Park mansion?

“We did. We played First Avenue in Minneapolis in 1983. Afterwards, the manager said: ‘The club’s owner wants to know if you’d like to go to his house to hang out. You’ll love it – everything’s purple!’. We thought it was a Gary Glitter or Jimmy Savile type thing and went: ‘Listen, tell the old perv we’re busy’.

“We’ve missed the chance to meet loads of great people – including Ennio Morricone. Whenever we were writing, our first ports of call were Kraftwerk and Ennio Morricone, and we got offered the opportunity to play with him. If I ever did see Barney [New Order frontman and former friend Bernard Sumner] again – and we were talking – I’d ask him why he turned that down because I never understood.”

The cover of which rapper’s 2015 album is based on Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ artwork?

 Stormzy? ‘Cause he’s about the only one I know!

WRONG. It’s Vince Staples’ ‘Summertime ‘06’  debut album

“I haven’t seen that album, but I’ll look it up on Spotify. The bloody places that iconic pulsar crops up! It has the dubious accolade of being the most bootlegged symbol in rock‘n’roll history. The only person to ever be sued for using that design illegally is me – by the other three members of Joy Division!”

What was the working title of New Order’s ‘World In Motion’?

‘E for England’.


“I’ll never forget [Factory Records supremo] Tony Wilson’s face when Keith Allen, who wrote the lyrics, said that to him. He knew he wouldn’t get away with it. Tony was wonderful at being the independent one-of-the-people record company guy, but by his own admission he loved a limo and the fruits of success. With the World Cup song, he saw us – and therefore Factory and The Haçienda – going to another level. Luckily for us we didn’t get our own way and the record was our only Number One in England.”

 Ever want to do any other occasion songs after that?

After ‘World In Motion’, Noddy Holder actually said to me: ‘You need to do a Christmas record. You get paid every year instead of every four. Get on it, Hooky!’.”


What animal did New Order once let loose in The Pogues’ dressing room?

“A donkey.”

CORRECT. At the WOMAD Festival in Essex in 1985

“It was Shane MacGowan’s fault for taking the piss out of us because there was nothing else in our room apart from a donkey. When they went to soundcheck, we pulled it into The Pogues’ dressing room. It absolutely wrecked their buffet (Laughs). We couldn’t stop laughing for hours – they found it so unfunny which made it even better.”

Did you have a favourite practical joke you played?

“Joy Division were considered to be very intense and serious, and yet we would fucking do anything. When we toured with the Buzzcocks, me and Barney put a chair on four Coke cans and I pretended that Barney wanted to talk to Pete Shelley. When he came in, he sat on it and it collapsed on the Coke cans. Once we got into drugs, all that crazy fun we used to guard so preciously disappeared. And yet those innocent-fun days were the best part of it.”

What total do you get if you add the Factory Number of ‘Blue Monday’ to the number of chart places it famously dropped after New Order played it live on Top Of The Pops?


WRONG. It’s 83. ‘Blue Monday’ is FAC 73 – and it dropped 10 chart places after Top Of The Pops.

“Bloody hell – I didn’t think it’d be that high. When it dropped, we were delighted and felt like we’d achieved one in the arm for punk. We’d tried so hard to pull it off and it was an absolute fuck-up. It was one of the only records ever to go down after a Top Of The Pops appearance – every group was guaranteed to go up 15 places. But we looked so bad and sounded so shit.”


For a bonus half-point, complete the following lyrics: ‘How does it feel / When a new day has begun…’?

And you’re drinking in the sunshine / Sunkist is the one.”

CORRECT. From an advert for the fizzy drink.

“What pissed me off was Barney’s book [2007’s Confusion: Joy Division, Electronic and New Order Versus the World] makes out like I wanted to do it – which is untrue. None of us wanted to, but [manager] Rob Gretton was having his nervous breakdown at the time and wasn’t around. We were offered £350,000 to change the lyrics to ‘Blue Monday’ for a Sunkist advert. The ad guy came to the studio to convince us, and wrote out the lyrics and held them up so Barney could sing them without learning them – we were all howling with laughter. He’s writing ‘$350,000’ on a piece of paper and waving it at him. We threw him out of the studio and told the engineer to wipe the vocal.

“For whatever reason, he didn’t. Sunkist got it and put it on an advert, and didn’t pay us. It was years before we spotted it and got it pulled.”


Which two Perry Farrell Satellite Party tracks do you appear on?

“‘Kinky’ and ‘Wish Upon a Dogstar’.”


“I’d done a couple of tracks with a band called Hybrid. They bumped into Perry Farrell surfing in LA, who told them what a Joy Division fan he was. They said: ‘We’ve got loads of Peter Hook leftover riffs’, and he said, ‘Bring them to the studio tomorrow’. I was over the moon because they’re both great songs.”

In your book Substance: Inside New Order, you list musicians you never got to play with even though you were asked – including John Lydon and The Streets

“New Order toured with Public Image Ltd. Considering he’d inspired me to start, it was a good bromance and we got on well on that tour, even though he was a complete pain in the arse – he made Barney look like Little Bo-Peep. We were anti-image, so it used to piss him off that we could wander around a sold-out concert and nobody would recognise us, whereas he couldn’t walk out for a second without being pounced on immediately.

“He later said to me: ‘You should play on my next LP’. When musicians meet, the first thing they say is, ‘We should do something together’, but you never hear from them again. One that got me in trouble was Johnny Marr who said “the best guitarist in Manchester should do a record with the best bass player’. I said, ‘No thanks – I’ll stay with New Order.’ Then did the same with Barney – who took him up on it! [with their project Electronic]. I said in the press, ‘He asked me first’, and he denied it. He’s never spoken to me since. If I go anywhere he is, he just looks away. Which is weird, but I suppose he’s Team Bernard.”


Which Scottish band covered Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and New Order’s ‘Hurt’ on a Manchester-themed EP called ‘FACT 2002’?

“For some reason I have the name Blue in my head?”

WRONG. It’s Bis.

“When a Haçienda DJ asked me if he could remix ‘Blue Monday’, I nearly ran him out of town for the sheer insult I felt at the time. As I’ve got older, I absolutely love remixes and covers. Even the German heavy metal ones!”

It’s the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ this year. Through playing live with Peter Hook And The Light, has your relationship with those songs changed at all?

“When it was the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis’s life in 2010, I thought it was weird we never celebrated anything to do with Joy Division – New Order rarely played the songs live, and we never celebrated 10 or 25 years. I was fucked if I was going to let 30 go. And it was wonderful. I felt like I’d had something missing and now I got it back – particularly with ‘Closer’. We closed our minds and hearts to it when Ian died, and it was easy to look at ‘Closer’ as somebody else’s record. To play ‘Unknown Pleasures’ then ‘Closer’ felt like I was back in my own skin.

“The memories are the most evocative when you’re learning the songs. My son’s in my band and looks like me at that age.  When we redid ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’, because he was the same ages – 21 and 22 – that I was when I first recorded them, looking at him is like seeing me back then, and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck because of some memory. When we toured Australia with ‘Closer’, it was emotional – if I saw one more old bloke cry, I was going to pack it in!”

“In fact, the only people in the world who don’t like me playing it are the other members of Joy Division…”


In 1998, you played Reading festival twice – in your band Monaco and later in New Order. Name any band who played between your two sets.

“God! Garbage?”

WRONG. Though they did headline that year! You could have had: Gene, The Divine Comedy, Shed Seven or The Bluetones. Will there be any more Monaco material?

“We did a song specifically to celebrate the Joy Division Classical gigs and talked about it but lockdown’s got in the way and it hasn’t happened, which is a shame.”

Who once mistook New Order for fashion designers?

“Prince Andrew and Fergie.”

CORRECT. Did he get sweaty to New Order?

“No – the manager of a Los Angeles club called Stock Exchange was given an open budget to entertain Prince Andrew and Fergie on their trip to help English fashion designers. This guy was a mad New Order fan and paid us a fortune to play five songs. He did the unspeakable and gave us a huge bag of marching powder to ruin the night for everyone – which it did! We were completely out of our minds – it was fantastic. When we started to play, we were so loud that the Secret Service men ran over to the PA and shot it out.”

For a point, can you identify any of the following items by their Factory numbers?

FAC 191?

“Fuck! That’s gotta be the Linder and Lucas art installation, because I know what you’re like!”

WRONG. It’s ‘Feline Groovy’, aka The Haçienda cat!

FACD 267?

(Clue: It’s one of yours….)

“That means nothing to me! (Laughs)”

WRONG. It was the CD single of ‘Pineapple Face’ by your band Revenge.

“(Laughs) You lousy bastard! Mate, maybe I’ve tried to forget Revenge – but saying that, I had a great time doing it.”

FAC 61?

“That’s early because ‘Unknown Pleasures’ was FAC 10 and [New Order album] ‘Movement’ was 50. Oh God, it was [producer] Martin Hannett’s court case wasn’t it?

CORRECT. It was Martin Hannett’s legal writ to Factory.

“Who sued Factory for exactly the same thing I sued the other members of New Order for.”

People will always crave a full, original line-up New Order reunion – but at the moment, is there even a glimmer of hope that you and Bernard could even just sit down and talk about everything that’s happened [including the royalty dispute]?

“We should have done, but it’s ongoing, and what they did in reducing my 25 per cent share in New Order to one per cent is unforgivable.”

It seems so sad after everything you both went through together…

“Believe me, I think that every day. To start a band in 1980 from the ashes of your lead singer’s suicide and then have it cruelly taken off you 31 years later by the other members of the band? I defy any human being not to bear a grudge. If wasn’t for the wife, I’d probably be in prison now.”

The verdict: 5.5/10

“Yes! I beat Shaun Ryder! I can’t wait to see him and rub it in!” 

The ‘Closer’40th anniversary celebrations continue with a Peter Hook In Conversation With  Dave Simpson online broadcast event in support of Epilepsy Society this Friday 24 July at 8pm.