New Order bassist Peter Hook likens his recent split from bandmates Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris to the unravelling of a marriage.
"You know in a marriage or in a relationship when a few years after you get together you look 'round and see a stranger?" said Hook, down the line from his home in Manchester leading up to Tuesday's release of War Child Presents: Heroes, featuring a Hot Chip cover of Joy Division's Transmission.
"It was just a change of attitude, really. I mean over the years we (in New Order) developed different tastes and different attitudes. Being in a group is all about compromise and the more you compromise, each of you, the better that group works ... Basically it just got to the point where I thought I had compromised enough. What surprised me is that I didn't think Bernard was bothered about New Order. It was only after we split up that I found out he was."
Since the split, Sumner and Morris have indicated that New Order, formed by the three musicians in 1980 out of the ashes of Joy Division after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis, would continue without Hook. But Hook is not convinced that could ever happen.
"They wouldn't be allowed to go out as New Order 'cause I'd sue 'em," Hook said. "It'd be a Spandau Ballet moment -- that thing where Tony Hadley can go out playing the songs of Spandau Ballet. It's childish but that's what being in a group is all about, isn't it?"
Hook, who was a founding member of Joy Division with Sumner in 1976, said he'd never considered touring without him.
"If Bernard would have left and it had been me and Steve, I wouldn't have carried on as New Order. It's sort of an unwritten rule that we had that 'came from Joy Division' (label). We never really talked about it. When we split up, we did it through our management. In my mind, the management made a terrible job of it. Your manager is supposed to be there to sort these things out, and ours panicked and that made it very bad between the two of us. So rather than them getting in the way, they just let me and Bernard fight. So it's over now, and time's a great healer and we just get on with it."
'Hooky' will admit he's proud of the recent resurgence in interest about both Joy Division and New Order, with both a documentary and a feature film, Control, the latter of which detailed Curtis' harrowing descent into depression.
Still, Hook said watching Control for the first time in audience in Cannes was devastating.
"It was a very, very surreal moment, and literally at the end of the film I was crestfallen, I felt terrible, and everybody started applauding and it's really, really bizarre," Hook said. "And I remember running out at the end of the film to go for a whiz as you do, 'cause it's two hours long, and you get to the toilet, and the other two people in the toilet were Ian in the film and Bernard in the film. So I turned around and said, 'All right, lads!' and they looked at me wide-eyed, 'All right, Hooky!' And I said, 'Where's the guy that's played me?' and they said, 'Oh, he's in Hollywood making a big film.' So I said to the guy that played Bernard, 'Hey, if you'd have played me, you'd be in Hollywood.' My life's very surreal. I'm delighted about it."
Hook feels for modern English bands, who are forever compared to both New Order (such as Friendly Fire) and Joy Division (White Lies).
"It's a great compliment, without a doubt," he said. "The thing is when you form a group and you write the music, the only thing you're interested in is survival, not respect. So afterward, when that comes, it puzzles me, because when I read the (English) music papers and see everybody is compared to (us), I think, 'Thank God, I was in Joy Division. Thank God I was in New Order,' because every musician seems to spend all their lives being compared to either one or the other.
"I think it is about respect. I think New Order and Joy Division handled themselves very well, they didn't sell out commercially, they acted in a manner that was respectful to their audiences and their peers. There was something in the whole thing that, to be honest, a lot of groups don't have. There was a lot of heart and soul in it, and a very groundedness. And I think that's what people appreciate. I know Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher and they always say, 'Oh, man, we wish we were respected like you lads are,' and I think, 'God, I wish I had your millions, mate.' You can't win 'em all, can you?"
The interest will no doubt continue as Hook is currently working on a book about the famed Manchester club The Hacienda, co-founded and funded by New Order and Factory Records.
The book, due for release in the Autumn, is called How Not To Run A Club.
"It's hard reliving it actually," said Hook. "It's quite harrowing. It's interesting. It was the combination of a very hedonistic phase in my life, which is a nice way of putting it, with a very, very violent and very hectic running a club in Manchester in '88-'90. You know there was a lot of gang violence and The Hacienda seemed to be the magnet for it and I think that we all walked around with this coat with invisible armour on."
Hook has also recorded 12 songs with his new band Freebass, featuring fellow bassists Mani (The Stone Roses) and Andy Rourke (Primal Scream and The Smiths), although Rourke's playing guitar on a lot of tracks, and singer Gary Briggs of Haven.
He's hoping to do some shows in the summer.
"It's actually working out quite well and no one's more surprised than I am," Hooky said. "The reason the three bass players got together was because at that time we were absolutely sick of our respective lead singers. So it was one of those drunken afternoons where we're all sat 'round and said "Wouldn't it be a great idea if all the bass players got together 'cause they seem to be the only ones that want to play.' We said, 'We should form a band of bass players.' Not really thinking about the practicalities musically of that, it was just the likemindedness that appealed to us.'"
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