Peter Hook

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For the American linguist, see Peter E. Hook.
Peter Hook
Peter Hook playing with New Order in Manchester (November 2005).
Background information
Birth name Peter Woodhead
Born (1956-02-13) 13 February 1956 (age 60)
Broughton, Salford, England
Genres Post-punk, new wave, alternative rock, alternative dance, synthpop, electronica
Instruments Bass guitar, vocals, electronic drums, synthesizer, guitar, melodica
Years active 1976–present
Labels Factory, London, Warner Bros., Polydor, Haçienda, 24 Hour Service Station
Associated acts Joy Division, New Order, Ad Infinitum, Monaco, Revenge, Freebass, Peter Hook and the Light, Man Ray
from the BBC programme Great Lives, 6 May 2008.[1]

Peter Hook (born 13 February 1956) is an English bass player, co-founder of the seminal post-punk band Joy Division along with Bernard Sumner in the mid-1970s. He is also a musician, singer, DJ, nightclub owner and author. Following the death of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, the band reformed as the rock band, New Order, and Hook played bass with them until his departure in 2007. The band has since reformed without Hook. He has also recorded an 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) as bassist, keyboardist and lead vocalist. He is currently lead vocalist and bassist for Peter Hook and the Light.

Early life[edit]

Born Peter Woodhead in Broughton, Salford, to Irene Acton (1928–2000; since 1962 Irene Hook), and John Woodhead. When he was the age of 3, in 1959, his parents divorced and he and his brothers were brought up by his maternal grandmother Alicia Acton (born Chapman; 1896–1968) until 1962, when his mother remarried Ernest W. Hook.[citation needed] Like his band-mate 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.

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.[3]

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 basses.

Hook also 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).



  • Gibson EB-0 copy – Hook's first bass, 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.[4] He still owns it.[5]
  • Gibson EB-01 – He used it after retiring the EB-0 copy, but sold it years later because he had no money.[5]
  • Hondo Rickenbacker 4001 bass copy – Used on Joy Division's 1978–1980 recordings and used live with Joy Division 1978–1980.[4] In an interview in Bass Guitar magazine, he revealed that it was given away to a child for a charity sale "He [the child] didn't even use my name! He just thought it was a bass guitar like any other. Nowadays that'd be worth what, nine or ten grand?"
  • Yamaha BB1200 – Used on Joy Division's Closer LP and every New Order album.[citation needed]
  • Shergold Marathon six-string bass used on both Joy Division and New Order tracks such as Passover and Heart and Soul (Joy Division) Chosen Time, Dreams Never End, Procession, Blue Monday, Subculture, As It Is When It Was, and 1963 (New Order) The idea to introduce the six string bass was Bernard Sumner's after recommending it
  • Eccleshall bass – Based on a Gibson EB2 bass, main live bass.[citation needed] He wanted a hollow body with Yamaha electronics, so Chris Eccleshall took the active electronics from a BB1200 and built a full-scale neck-through bass with 24 frets.[citation needed] Subsequent versions of the bass have been produced using custom circuitry designed by a Japanese student visiting Chris Eccleshall, a custom circuit was needed as Yamaha stopped producing the BB1200 preamp. He is currently awaiting a fourth incarnation of the Eccleshall bass. All are designed to be as identical as possible.
  • In 2010 it was announced 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. They will be given HAC numbers HAC51 to 56 and Peter Hook will be playing guitar HAC51.[6]

Amplification and effects[edit]

Peter Hook performing with the Light at the Festival do Norte in Vilagarcía de Arousa (8 May 2011).

The main equipment Hook used during the early days of New Order were an Alembic F-2B preamp/ Roland rack unit/ Amcron DC-300A power amp fed through two large custom built 2 x 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 Peter 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 1x18 cabinet bought from Hook's former art teacher.[4] The Hiwatt was then used on top of a 4x15 Gauss loaded Marshall cabinet put together by Tractor. The Marshall 4 x 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.

For the most part, his distinctive tone comes from the use of a chorus pedal, an Electro-Harmonix Clone Theory. This has recently been reissued by Electro-Harmonix, and whilst having similar circuitry as the original has a somewhat different tone than the original 1970s ones (described by many reviewers/players as "less exciting").

With Revenge and Monaco, he updated an Ampeg SVT, which is used at maximum volume when playing live.[7][8]

In New Order from 1990 onwards Hook used Hiwatt 200 watt heads mounted on Hiwatt 1x15 and 4x10 combined speaker cabinets with Fane speakers.

He is currently using an Ampeg SVT-CL with an Ampeg cabinet.

Other work[edit]

Peter Hook & the Light performing at the Paard van Troje in the Hague, Netherlands (28 May 2011).

In 1984, Hook recorded the single "Telstar" with the band Ad Infinitum, which was composed of him and members of the Stockholm Monsters.

In the late 1980s, Hook also worked as a producer for bands such as Inspiral Carpets and the Stone Roses. In 2003 he contributed bass to a number of tracks on Hybrid's album Morning Sci-Fi, including the single "True to Form". 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.

New Order have broken up more than once, and Hook has been involved with other projects. In 1995 he toured with the Durutti Column.[9] 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. 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. 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).

He also contributed to Perry Farrell's Satellite Party. His bass can be heard on "Wish Upon a Dogstar" and "Kinky". 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.

In November 2008 Hook performed a selection of Joy Division and New Order songs in Paris, Brussels, Oss and Krefeld with Section 25. Hook is featured on "Dirty Thirty" and "Blunts & Robots", two tracks off of the Crystal Method's 2009 album Divided by Night. Hook recently compiled "The Hacienda Acid House Classics" following on from his original mix of "The Hacienda Classics" in 2006.

In October 2009, Hook published his book on his time as co-owner of the Hacienda, How Not to Run a Club.

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[11] with production partner and Freebass keyboardist Phil Murphy. The first, released in April and entitled "Summer '88",[12] 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"[13] 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.

In 2011, Peter Hook and the Light[14] released "1102 2011 EP", four versions of Joy Division songs, including the previously unrecorded "Pictures In My Mind." The EP takes its name from the palindromic recording date of 11 February 2011 at Blueprint Studio, Salford. Featured Happy Mondays' vocalist Rowetta 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.

In 2012, Hook launched a brand new master's degree programme[15] in Music Industry Management and Promotion[16] at the University of Central Lancashire, due to start in October 2012. 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.[17]

On 29 January 2013, Hook published "Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division" ; an autobiographical account of the brief existence of the ill fated band. It was lauded by critics and readers alike.

Personal life[edit]

In 1979, Hook was questioned as a suspect in the Yorkshire Ripper case. Joy Division's touring schedule coincided with Peter Sutcliffe's movements which led to the police's suspicion. Following gigs in Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds and Manchester, Hook was questioned[18] and drummer Stephen Morris was arrested.[4]

He has two children from his first relationship with Iris Bates, son Jack and daughter Heather.[19] In 1994, he married comedienne Caroline Aherne but the marriage broke down in 1996. He subsequently married Rebecca Jones.[20] He has a daughter with her named Jessica.[citation needed]

In July 2012 Hook was awarded a Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire during the graduation of the university's creative art students.

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.


  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 "Joy Division", Music Week, 25 August 2007
  4. ^ a b c d Hook, Peter (2013). Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division. ISBN 978-1849833608. 
  5. ^ a b "Peter Hook on Ian Curtis & Gibson Basses". 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  6. ^ "FAC 51 The Hacienda Limited Edition Peter Hook Bass Guitar". 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived 29 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Peter Hook of Joy Division". GuitarGeek. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Durutti Column concert". 5 September 1996. Retrieved 24 August 2008. 
  10. ^ (17 May 2007). "New Order did not split". Retrieved 18 May 2007. 
  11. ^ Man Ray. "A Record Label, Digital Distribution and Physical Distribution Company » Artists". 24 Hour Service Station. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "A Record Label, Digital Distribution and Physical Distribution Company » Releases » Man Ray – summer 88". 24 Hour Service Station. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "A Record Label, Digital Distribution and Physical Distribution Company » Releases » Man Ray – Tokyo Joe". 24 Hour Service Station. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Peter Hook and The Light. "Record Label Artist Page". 24 Hour Service Station. 
  15. ^ Coughlan, Sean (2012-06-26). "BBC News - New Order's Peter Hook launches music industry degree". Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  16. ^ "Music Industry Management and Promotion MA | postgraduate degree course | University of Central Lancashire". Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Peter Hook discusses being questioned during Yorkshire Ripper hunt". CMU. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  19. ^ "The Smashing Pumpkins Recruit Peter Hook's Son to Play Bass". KRRO. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "Peter Hook on Joy Division and New Order: "Ian Curtis Was Too Unique a Person to Copy"". LA Weekly. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 

External links[edit]