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Peter Hook

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Peter Hook
Hook performing at Nocturnal Culture Night on 13 January 2018
Hook performing at Nocturnal Culture Night on 13 January 2018
Background information
Birth namePeter Woodhead
Born (1956-02-13) 13 February 1956 (age 68)
Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
  • electronic drums
  • synthesizer
  • guitar
  • melodica
Years active1976–present
Member of
Formerly of
Spouse(s)3, including
(m. 1994; div. 1997)

Peter Hook (born 13 February 1956) is an English musician, best known as the bassist and co-founder of the rock bands Joy Division and New Order. Hook often used the bass as a lead instrument, playing melodies on the high strings with a signature heavy chorus effect. In New Order, he would do this, leaving the actual basslines to keyboards or sequencers.

Along with Bernard Sumner, Hook formed the band which was to become Joy Division in 1976. Following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis in 1980, the band reformed as New Order, and Hook played bass with them until 2007.

Hook has recorded one album with Revenge (One True Passion), two albums with Monaco (Music for Pleasure and Monaco) and one album with Freebass (It's a Beautiful Life), serving as bassist, keyboardist and lead vocalist. He is currently the lead singer and one of the bassists for Peter Hook and the Light.


Early life[edit]

Hook was born Peter Woodhead on 13 February 1956, in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England, to Irene (née Acton; 1928–2000), and John Woodhead (1926–2005). His parents divorced in 1959 when he was three years old. He and his brother Christopher were brought up by his maternal grandmother Alicia Acton (née Chapman; 1896–1968) until 1962, when his mother remarried Ernest William Hook (1914–1988). Like his bandmate Bernard Sumner, he took his stepfather's surname, although in contrast to his friend he kept it, even creating his nickname, "Hooky", from it. Because of his stepfather's work, he spent part of his childhood in Jamaica before returning to Salford,[2] where he attended Salford Grammar School.

Joy Division (1976–1980)[edit]

On 4 June and 20 July 1976, childhood friends Bernard Sumner and Hook attended a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. The following day Hook borrowed £35 from his mother to buy his first bass guitar.[3] Inspired by the performance, Sumner and Hook formed a band with their friend Terry Mason, who had also attended the shows.[4]: 571 

Their band, originally called Warsaw, debuted on 29 May 1977 at the Electric Circus, supporting Buzzcocks, Penetration and John Cooper Clarke.[5]: 68  The band played their first gig as Joy Division on 25 January 1978 at Pip's Disco in Manchester.[6]: 19 

New Order (1980–1993)[edit]

In 1980, after Joy Division, the remaining members formed New Order. The band continued until they first broke up in 1993.[citation needed]

In 1984, Hook recorded the single "Telstar" with the short-lived band Ad Infinitum. In the late 1980s, Hook also worked as a producer for bands such as Inspiral Carpets and the Stone Roses.[citation needed]

After New Order disbanding (1993–98)[edit]

In 1995, he toured with the Durutti Column.[7] He has recorded one album with the band Revenge and two with Monaco (both as bassist, keyboardist and lead vocalist) with David Potts, the latter of which scored a club and alternative radio hit "What Do You Want From Me?" in 1997.

New Order reformation (1998–2007)[edit]

Hook playing with New Order in 2005

New Order reformed in 1998.[8]

Hook contributed to Perry Farrell's Satellite Party. His bass can be heard on "Wish Upon a Dogstar" and "Kinky".[citation needed] Inspired by Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets, he started with the Return to New York nights in London.

He contributed a distinctive bassline to Hybrid's 2003 single "True to Form", as well as another track from their Morning Sci-Fi album, "Higher Than a Skyscraper", playing on stage with them on a number of dates of their ensuing tour.

Hook also co-owned the Suite Sixteen recording studio, formerly Cargo Studios, which Hook purchased with Chris Hewitt in 1984. Cargo and Suite Sixteen in Kenion Street, Rochdale were major studios in the history of punk and post-punk music. A blue plaque was unveiled on the Kenion Street music building in Rochdale that used to house the studios in September 2009 and Peter Hook played a special concert in Rochdale on that day with Section 25 donating all proceeds to the Back Door Music Project, a Rochdale youth project for people interested in music.[citation needed]

In the mid 2000s Hook was regularly performing as a DJ, however he was discovered to be playing pre-mixed CDs and only miming the actions of a DJ. He admitted he was only pretending to be a DJ on his Myspace blog, but then removed it due to public backlash.[9]

Post New Order (2007–present)[edit]

On 4 May 2007, Hook announced on Xfm that he and New Order singer/guitarist Bernard Sumner were no longer working together, effectively spelling the end for the band; the band later denied disbanding.[10] He then played and recorded a studio album, It's a Beautiful Life, with a new band project called Freebass with bass players Mani (The Stone Roses) and Andy Rourke (ex-the Smiths).

Hook and Potts reformed Monaco on two occasions in 2007, with original drummer Paul Kehoe and Hook's son Jack completing the line up for two gigs at Manchester's Hard Rock Cafe in March and at the Ritz Theatre in October. He is featured on "Dirty Thirty" and "Blunts & Robots", two tracks off of the Crystal Method's 2009 album Divided by Night. Hook compiled "The Hacienda Acid House Classics" in 2009 following on from his original mix of "The Hacienda Classics" from 2006. In October 2009, Hook published his book on his time as co-owner of the Hacienda, How Not to Run a Club.[11]

Peter Hook and The Light in 2018

Hook then opened a new club and live venue in Manchester, FAC 251 – The Factory, in February 2010 singing lead vocals with his band, the Light. The club is situated in the old head offices of Factory Records in Manchester city centre. On 18 May 2010, the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis' death, the Light performed a set of Joy Division songs including every track from Unknown Pleasures. In 2010, Hook also recorded and released two EPs on American indie record label 24 Hour Service Station as Man Ray[12] with production partner and Freebass keyboardist Phil Murphy. The first, released in April and entitled Summer '88,[13] revisited the staple sounds of the Hacienda nightclub, with the duo using a mixture of classic Roland synths and drum machines to simulate early acid house vibes. Tokyo Joe[14] followed in December, blending Hook's trademark high range bass sound and old school punk inflected vocal chant with Murphy's classic synths, guitars and drum machines to produce an indie dance track reminiscent of classic New Order. The song was also used as the theme to FAC 251 – The Factory.[citation needed]

In 2010, six 'Peter Hook Hacienda Bass' guitars were to be built using the maple dancefloor sections from the Hacienda as the fretboard on the neck of the guitar.[15] In 2011, Peter Hook and the Light[16] released 1102 2011 EP which includes four versions of Joy Division songs, including the previously unrecorded "Pictures in My Mind". The EP took its name from the palindromic recording date of 11 February 2011 at Blueprint Studio, Salford. It featured Happy Mondays vocalist Rowetta who sings versions of "Atmosphere", "New Dawn Fades" and "Insight". Hook sings "Pictures in My Mind", an unfinished Joy Division track discovered on a demo recording unearthed by the band's "bootleg society" from a rehearsal tape stolen in 1977, setting it between Warsaw and Unknown Pleasures. The effervescent and punk-tinged tune was completed for this release, and was declared "a worthy addition to the Joy Division canon" by BBC 6Music DJ Mark Radcliffe.[citation needed]

In 2012, Hook launched a brand new master's degree programme[17] in Music Industry Management and Promotion[18] at the University of Central Lancashire. It provides an opportunity to study the music business at postgraduate level and to get hands-on experience of working within the industry. Students will combine their academic studies with a placement in a commercial music industry institution working on real world projects. The course offers industrial experience which will involve working in the Factory 251 venue in Manchester, providing contact with significant industry figures connected with this culturally important company. Hook was awarded an honorary fellowship from the same institution on 11 July 2012.[19]

Peter Hook performing at Terminal 5, New York, 27 August 2022

On 29 January 2013, Hook published Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division; an autobiographical account of his time in the band.[20] In November 2015, The Guardian reported that Hook was suing his former bandmates for continuing to use the name New Order.[21] The parties settled out of court.[22]

On 6 October 2016, he released the book Substance: Inside New Order.[23] On 9 April 2020, he collaborated with the virtual band Gorillaz's musical project Song Machine, featuring on the song "Aries" alongside English musician Georgia.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Hook has two children from his first marriage with Iris Bates, son Jack and daughter Heather. In 1994, he married comedian Caroline Aherne but the marriage ended in 1997. He later went on to say, after Aherne's death, that it had been a turbulent, violent and abusive marriage.[25] He subsequently married Rebecca Jones.[26] He has a daughter with her.[25] His son Jack toured as bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins in 2015 and again in 2018.[27]

In July 2012, Hook was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire during the graduation of the university's creative art students.[28][29]

Playing style[edit]

Hook has said that he developed his high bass lines when he started playing with Joy Division because the speaker that he used initially (bought from his former art teacher for £10) was so poor he had to play that high to be able to hear what he was doing, as Bernard Sumner's guitar was so loud.[30] With New Order's ever increasing use of sequenced synthesised bass, especially throughout most of 1989's Technique and 1993's Republic, Hook's bass playing became ever more melodic and rhythmic, often exploiting the higher notes on his bass guitars. Hook contributed backing vocals on numerous Joy Division songs in concert and sang co-lead with Ian Curtis on Joy Division's "Interzone". He sings lead on two New Order songs ("Dreams Never End" and "Doubts Even Here" from the 1981 debut album Movement).


Bass guitars[edit]

  • Gibson EB-0 copy – Hook's first bass guitar, bought at Mazel's Music Shop in Manchester in 1976 and used live with Warsaw 1977 (there are photos of him playing it at a 1977 gig at Rafters, Manchester) and on 18 July 1977 Warsaw demos.[31] He still owns it.[32]
  • Gibson EB-1 – He used it after retiring the EB-0 copy, but sold it years later because he had no money after building a custom bass guitar.[32]
  • Hondo Rickenbacker 4001 bass copy – Used on Joy Division's 1978–1980 recordings and used live with Joy Division 1978–1980.[31]
  • Shergold Marathon six string bass – Used with later Joy Division and New Order [33]
  • Eccleshall 335 Style Hollowbody 4 string bass – Used with New Order since early 1980s. This twin pickup 34" Scale Length bass guitar has a hollow body similar to the Gibson EB-2. The neck is glued to the body like a Gibson and built with maple tops and an ebony fret board. The electronics are identical to his Yamaha BB1200S with active and passive pickups. His Eccleshall has standard twin tone and volume knobs each controlling the neck or bridge pickup, in addition with treble, mid and bass controls. Switches to start the active pickups are located between the tone and volume knobs. A 9 volt battery powers the active circuits. The headstock is labelled "HOT 1" or "Hot 2" depending on which model he uses. The name "Eccleshall" has been labeled behind the headstock.[34][citation needed]
  • Yamaha bass guitars BB1200S and BB734. He currently tours with the newer BB734 model. In 2020, Yamaha released the Peter Hook Signature Bass which features details from his BB1200S and BB734.[35]

Amplification and effects[edit]

The main equipment Hook used during the early days of New Order was an Alembic F-2B preamp/Roland rack unit/Amcron DC-300A power amp fed through two large custom built 2 × 15 Gauss loaded flightcase cabinets designed and built by Chris Hewitt of Tractor Music. These can be seen in the "Love Will Tear Us Apart" music video, as can Hook's Yamaha BB1200. The Alembic–Amcron–Gauss system was designed by Hook, Chris Hewitt and Martin Hannett. In the earlier days of Joy Division, Hook used a Sound City L120 head and then a Hiwatt Custom 100 Watt head. The Sound City and Hiwatt heads were both used with a Vox Foundation 1 × 18 cabinet bought from Hook's former art teacher.[31] The Hiwatt was then used on top of a 4 × 15 Gauss loaded Marshall cabinet put together by Tractor. The Marshall 4 × 15 Gauss cabinet was stolen during New Order's first visit to America. He has also used an Ampeg SVT rig, and has expressed interest in Ashdown amplification.[citation needed]

For the most part, his distinctive tone comes from the use of a chorus pedal, an Electro-Harmonix Clone Theory.[citation needed] In New Order from 1990 onwards Hook used Hiwatt 200 watt heads mounted on Hiwatt 1 × 15 and 4 × 10 combined speaker cabinets with Fane speakers.[citation needed] With Revenge and Monaco, he updated an Ampeg SVT, which is used at maximum volume when playing live.[36][37] He is currently using an Ampeg SVT-CL with an Ampeg cabinet.[citation needed]

Film portrayals[edit]

In Michael Winterbottom's 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, which focused on Factory Records, Hook was played by Ralf Little. In Anton Corbijn's 2007 film Control, which focused on the life of Ian Curtis, he was played by Joe Anderson.


  • Hook, Peter (2010). The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club. UK: Simon & Schuster. 368pp. ISBN 978-1-84739-177-3.


  1. ^ "Peter Hook". Great Lives. 6 May 2008. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ Mick Middles From Joy Division to New Order. The Factory Story (Virgin Books 1996)
  3. ^ Barrett, Christopher (25 August 2007). "Joy Division". Music Week. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012.
  4. ^ Ogg, Alex (2006). No More Heroes: A Complete History of UK Punk from 1976 to 1980. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-1-901447-65-1.
  5. ^ Gimarc, George (2005). Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock 1970–1982. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-848-6.
  6. ^ Johnson, Mark (1984). An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division. London: Bobcat. ISBN 0-7119-1065-0.
  7. ^ "Durutti Column concert". 5 September 1996. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
  8. ^ Raub, Kevin. "New Order: Related Links". Neworderonline.com. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Peter Hook's fake DJing exposed". Inthemix.com.au. 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010.
  10. ^ "New Order did not split". Neworderonline.com. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  11. ^ Bainbridge, Luke (26 September 2009). "The Haçienda: How Not to Run a Club by Peter Hook". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  12. ^ Man Ray. "A Record Label, Digital Distribution and Physical Distribution Company » Artists". 24 Hour Service Station. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  13. ^ "A Record Label, Digital Distribution and Physical Distribution Company". 24 Hour Service Station. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  14. ^ "A Record Label, Digital Distribution and Physical Distribution Company » Releases » Man Ray – Tokyo Joe". 24 Hour Service Station. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  15. ^ "FAC 51 The Hacienda Limited Edition Peter Hook Bass Guitar". Cerysmaticfactory.info. 18 May 2010. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. ^ Peter Hook and The Light. "Record Label Artist Page". 24 Hour Service Station. Archived from the original on 31 May 2013.
  17. ^ Coughlan, Sean (26 June 2012). "BBC News – New Order's Peter Hook launches music industry degree". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Music Industry Management and Promotion MA | postgraduate degree course | University of Central Lancashire". Uclan.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 18 March 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  19. ^ Atkinson, Rachel (11 July 2012). "Peter Hook receives UCLan Honorary Fellowship". University of Central Lancashire. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  20. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (27 October 2012). "Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Peter Hook sues New Order, claiming they 'pillaged' the group's name". The Guardian. 30 November 2015.
  22. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (20 September 2017). "Peter Hook reaches 'full and final' settlement over New Order royalties". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Peter Hook Pens Massive New Order-Era Autobiography". Rollingstone.com. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  24. ^ Kreps, Daniel (9 April 2020). "Gorillaz Recruit Peter Hook for New Order-Inspired 'Aries'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  25. ^ a b "'She's Going to Stab Me': Peter Hook Reveals Details of Turbulent Marriage to Caroline Aherne". The Telegraph. 2 October 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Peter Hook on Joy Division and New Order: "Ian Curtis Was Too Unique a Person to Copy"". Laweekly.com. 13 September 2011. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  27. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (22 March 2018). "Smashing Pumpkins Say They're Happy Now. Can They Keep It Together?". The New York Times.
  28. ^ "Honorary Fellows". Uclan.ac.uk.
  29. ^ "North West honorary fellowships". Itv.com.
  30. ^ Barrett, Christopher "Joy Division", Music Week, 25 August 2007.
  31. ^ a b c Hook, Peter (2013). Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division. ISBN 978-1-84983-360-8.
  32. ^ a b "Peter Hook on Ian Curtis & Gibson Basses". 2.gibson.com. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  33. ^ "Shergold Guitars: New Order and Joy Division Shergolds". New Order and Joy Division Shergolds. Retrieved 7 September 2017. Most of these pictores[sic] come from archive clips in the BBCs' "Rock Family Trees" showing [...] a six string Marathon bass being used by Peter (one of three that he is understood to have currently)
  34. ^ "Eccleshall 335 Electric Bass Guitar". Eccleshallguitars.co.uk.
  35. ^ "Yamaha Unveils the Peter Hook Signature Bass". 5 December 2020.
  36. ^ The Revolutionary Style of Peter Hook Leads a New Generation
  37. ^ "Peter Hook of Joy Division". Guitargeek.com. Retrieved 11 July 2011.

External links[edit]