Peter Hook on why he loves Taylor Swift and Rihanna, but hates Simon Cowell

"What would Simon Cowell have said to Ian Curtis or Ian Brown?"

Peter Hook has spoken out in praise of the ‘maverick spirit’ of Taylor Swift and Rihanna, but cursed the impact that Simon Cowell and the X Factor have had on the music industry.

The former Joy Division and New Order bassist, currently touring with The Light, told NME that he admired Swift and Rihanna for their attitude and defiance. He paid tribute to Swift for her court battle against a  radio DJ who groped her – which recently won her the shared title of ‘Person Of The Year’ from TIME Magazine.

“You admire them for different reasons,” Hook told NME. “You admire someone like Rihanna who takes a lot from dance music.  Without what happened in England in 1986/87, there would be no Rihanna. I like her attitude, I think she’s like a cooler Madonna.

“If you look at someone like Taylor Swift, god bless her, why you might not like her music, she took stand against that guy for the sexual misbehaviour. She took a stand against Spotify because they were basically ripping musicians off. Musicians and unions would never do that, but Taylor Swift did it.”


Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

He added that figures like Simon Cowell and shows such as the X Factor were not conducive to independence, and that Joy Division or Stone Roses would never have stood a chance under his guidance.

“I think it is important to stand up for yourself in music and not be mollycoddled,” Hook continued. “You should never be guided and moulded in the way that X Factor do. I think that’s terrible, terrible for music. It just makes me laugh every time that I watch any popular music programme and watch someone like Simon Cowell.

‘I always think ‘what would Simon Cowell say to me and Ian Curtis?’ ‘What would he have said to Ian Brown?’ ‘What would he have said to Shaun Ryder?’ To me, that sums up how much he knows.”

Meanwhile, Hook also spoke out in praise of The 1975 and Blossoms, but added that he believes Manchester’s music scene has “lost its way a bit“.

Hacienda Classical on tour


Hook will be on the road with Haçienda Classiçal next year. Full dates are below and tickets are available here.

Saturday May 19, 2018 – GLASGOW Braehead Arena
Saturday June 30, 2018 – MANCHESTER Castlefield Bowl
Saturday August 18, 2018 – EDINBURGH Royal Highland Centre
Friday September 28, 2018 – LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Saturday September 29, 2018 – LEEDS first direct Arena