When Peter Hook introduced his band, Peter Hook & The Light, to 300 fans at Factory Manchester in England 11 years ago, he was unsure of the future.
The 66-year-old musician hoped his method of celebrating the legacies of Joy Division and New Order – two bands he co-founded —–would catch on.
“I was wondering if it was the first and last time I would ever get to play ‘Unknown Pleasures,’” he said about Joy Division’s 1979 debut album.
“Now, here I am taking it all around the world.”
The North American leg of Peter Hook & The Light’s “Joy Division: A Celebration” comes to the Van Buren Aug. 29.
The five-week tour features performances of Joy Division’s seminal two albums “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” in full with additional Joy Division rarities and an opening set of New Order material. The tour follows the debut U.K. dates for “Joy Division: A Celebration,” which commemorate the 40th anniversary of Joy Division and Ian Curtis’ continuing influence.
“I’m getting to play in many wonderful places —places I’ve played before and had a fantastic time,” Hook said via telephone from Mallorca.
“I’m the happiest pensioner on God’s earth. It’s still a delight. My wife summed it up very well: ‘Whenever you come home, you have the biggest smile on your face. That never happened in New Order. I didn’t see it for a long, long time.’”
He said he’s not blaming former bandmates vocalist/guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris or keyboardist Gillian Gilbert—with whom he now has acrimonious relationships. Curtis died by suicide and Sumner, Morris and Hook founded New Order with the later addition of Gilbert.
“They always said it was me,” he recalls. “I suppose, in a funny way, you don’t get a lot of changes in life to make the wrong right again.
“There is massive appreciation for Ian’s work and Joy Division’s work,” he said. “I’m with the people I want to be with the most – the people who love Joy Division’s music. For me, I am in exactly the right place. I absolutely adore what we’ve created and I’m very, very proud of it.”
This year has been bittersweet for Hook, whose longtime friend, Happy Mondays bassist Paul Ryder, died unexpectedly at age 58.
“It’s immensely sad, considering we worked so closely together,” Hook said.
“They’re the archetypical rock ‘n’ roll band that hit everything hard — the bottle, the drugs, the road and music. It’s almost a cliché. But so many of them are disappearing.”
He and his wife after planning a 25th anniversary party and are inviting “every person who’s still with us who came to our wedding 25 years ago.”
“It won’t be like it was 25 years ago,” he said. “Hardly anybody ate. We were in my mate’s restaurant and, of the 75 people at the wedding, my mate told me only three of them have eaten. ‘What the hell do I do with 72 ribeyes?’ he said. It was a great do, and my wife is a wonderful woman whom I’m very lucky to have.”
His goal with Peter Hook & the Light is to have the ability to play every New Order and Joy Division song live before he goes to the “guitar shop in the sky.”
Next up is 2001’s “Get Ready,” for which New Order primarily departed from its more electronic style and focused on more guitar-oriented music.
“I’m achieving my ‘boast’ or my dream bit by bit,” he said.
“It’s just a treat to dig out these wonderful songs and watch the looks on people’s faces. I play seven New Order songs and change the set to Joy Division, play six or eight songs. I’m indulging myself and it’s wonderful to have that freedom to not have to look at those long faces and get on with it.
“It was such a rock ‘n’ roll dream. I’m so glad I got to live that rock ‘n’ roll dream that we decided on when we watched the Sex Pistols and we’re still getting away with it.”