This much I know: Peter Hook, Musician

When I gave up my job on the docks to be a musician, my mum thought I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

I played recorder at school, because I had to, but I had no real interest in music until I saw Johnny Rotten. Practically the next day, I went out and bought a bass guitar and formed Joy Division with Bernard Sumner.

As a 21-year-old punk, what I loved was shocking everyone and going against the grain. My first reaction was to tell everyone to f*** off. It’s a bit difficult to watch shows like X Factor, now, where everybody has this need to be approved of before they can do anything. But having said that, I think serious musicians have a much harder time dealing with record companies these days.

The best advice I’d give anyone who wants to get into the music business is that you have to have self-belief and you have to keep trying. They are the only two things you can do.

I enjoy the Djing and the producing, and so on, but playing live is still my big love, without a doubt. There is nothing like moving people by playing your own music.

Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie gave me the idea to start doing Joy Division material live again, in 2010, to mark the 30th anniversary of lead singer Ian Curtis’s sad demise.

Now that I’m playing the material, I often ask myself why we didn’t celebrate that music more. But, of course, it was because of Ian’s death. We moved on and formed New Order, and it was right to concentrate on the new band and to ignore the past.

I’ve written a book about Joy Division, which comes out in October. I locked myself away with Andrew Holmes (I suppose you could call him my ghost writer), for 36 hours of nonstop interviews.

Then, he transcribed them and put them together on a timeline and we did more interviews.

After that, it took me a year to write the book. Which wasn’t too bad, as my first book, about the Hacienda night-club days in Manchester, took two years. If I decide to write a third book, about New Order, maybe it will only take me six months.

Writing the book wasn’t an enjoyable process. I found it quite painful, going over some parts of the past.

I think there was still a lot of guilt. I looked at how hard we were working just before Ian died, and thought we should have done it slower. We should have done it differently.

Maybe that would have helped him. Although, at the time, Ian was the one who most wanted to work.

I rely a lot on my wife to judge my mood. Whenever she thinks I’m becoming negative, she makes me work on it.

Because, sometimes, it’s easy to bring yourself down and to look back on your life and your career and to feel you have achieved nothing.

Although, by the time you reach the ripe old age of 56, like me, you’re bound to have achieved something.

So far, life has taught me to be optimistic, to believe in hope and that there is a higher power, a bigger power, than yourself.

But, ultimately, you must make yourself happy. It comes from within.

When things get tough, I often say to my wife, ‘I’m going to pack this whole music thing in, just give it up’. But she looks at me and says, ‘What the hell else are you going do? You’re unemployable’. That terrifies me. Because she’s probably right.

Peter Hook will be playing the Murphy’s Little Big Weekend in Cork tonight.

As well as Joy Division and New Order classics, he will be playing the Joy Division album, Unknown Pleasures, in its entirety.

His book Unknown Pleasures — Inside Joy Division is due out in October and he will be doing a signing in Easons, Dublin, at 7pm on Monday, Oct 8.

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