Even though New Order has officially split up, bassist Peter Hook isn't exactly resting on his laurels. The 52-year-old travels the world as an in-demand DJ, amid writing and recording new music with Freebass, a project he formed with ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke, ex-Stone Roses/current Primal Scream bassist Mani, and ex-Haven vocalist Gary Briggs.
Before New Order's dissolution, however, Hook and his bandmates oversaw a new DVD, New Order: Live in Glasgow. The two-disc set features interviews, a gig filmed in October 2006 at the Carling Academy, and archival concert footage of the band dating back to 1981, soon after it formed from the ashes of Joy Division.
New Times: You've been looking back a lot, on this audio and video footage of New Order. What's surprised you the most, looking at all of this stuff?
Peter Hook|New Order
Peter Hook: Probably the haircuts. It's like an endless line of dodgy haircuts. No, I mean, what has amazed me a lot of the time is how good the material is. Listening to the remastered New Order LPs, as I've been doing recently, getting ready for those coming out, I was amazed at how good they sound, how powerful. The remastering has really helped them, which has been great.
We were so pissed off, Stephen [Morris, New Order drummer] and I, with the way [2002's Live at] Finsbury Park turned out, the editing and the sound, that we wanted to be involved in this one, which we were. Luckily it came before New Order split, so we managed to amicably work on it well together and enjoy it. It was a matter of making it look good and making it easy and enjoyable to watch. I think some people that edit these things, it's like they've been edited by a hyperactive five-year-old after [having] a bowl of blue [British chocolate candy] Smarties. I'm going, "Who watches this shit?" because I cannot watch it. It's frightening.
I saw the Joy Division documentary, the one that came out last year. I loved how it interspersed old and new Manchester scenes. It really made everything real.
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I did the launch of the Microsoft Zune. It was funny; I was in L.A. in this beautiful art space while we were doing it. I had been pissing around all day, driving around, going shopping on Melrose, having a great time. And then they put the video on of where I used to live, and I was like, "Oh fuck!" [laughs] "Shit!" Seeing old Manchester like that, I was like, "Oh my God." It's amazing how easy it is to forget where you came from.
Especially with you in recent years, it seems like you've really had to confront the past with Joy Division....
Yes, I must admit that sometimes I sit there and am absolutely sick of being surrounded by fucking dead people and talking about the past. As a musician, when we started, you were always taught, "Look forward." It was always your next thing that ... was the important thing. It's hard to get used to, and it's a hard balancing act, really, to be able to talk about the past and also stay interested and excited about what the future's going to hold.
On our music blog, CrossFade, Read the full Q&A with Peter Hook and watch clips from New Order: Live in Glasgow.