Photography by: Ben Heath and Harry Yeates
Words by Harry Potts
Peter Hook was born in Salford in 1956 and is best known as the bassist and co-founder of iconic Manchester bands Joy Division and New Order. Hook formed the band which was to become Joy Division with Bernard Sumner in 1976. Following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis in 1980, the band reformed as New Order, with Hook playing bass with them until his acrimonious departure in 2007. In recent years Peter has been involved in several musical collaborations: ‘Freebase’, the reformed ‘Monaco’ and currently his own band ‘Peter Hook and the Light’.
Peter Hook’s long association with Factory Records and the Hacienda is well documented. Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’, was the first LP released by Factory, in June 1979, with Peter going on to publish a book on his time as co-owner of the Hacienda, ‘How Not to Run a Club.’ Hook opened a new club and live venue in Manchester, FAC 251 – The Factory, in 2010. The club is situated in the old head offices of Factory Records. In 2016 he published ‘Substance’, a no-holds-barred book, lifting the lid on his life inside New Order.
Student reflection: Harry Yeates describes the shoot…
“Ever since I first heard the first 3 notes of the bass riff on the Joy Division song ‘Disorder’, I was a Peter Hook fan. Despite being a musician who also happens to be from Manchester, my discovery of the history of the music scene of my city came a bit later than some may expect – I had only really discovered Factory Records half way through high school, and I quickly realised I had a lot of catching up to do. But two bands that always stood out to me among the many incredible Manchester bands I discovered at that time were Joy Division and New Order. And in my opinion, the true backbone of both of those bands was Peter Hook.
Hooky revolutionised the importance of the bass riff in post punk, and went on to write even more incredible riffs during his time in New Order. He quickly became an idol to me, both as a musician, and a Manchester icon in himself. That’s why when it came to the day that I knew I was going to be photographing Peter Hook, I was overwhelmingly nervous, and excited.
However, any fears I may have had at all were immediately shot down upon Hooky’s entrance into the room. There he was – the man who played on songs like ‘Atmosphere’, ‘Ceremony’, and even the song that started it all for me – ‘Disorder’, and he was stood right in front of me. (see ‘related links’ for Harry’s own cover version of ‘Disorder’).
I was worried that after years and years of being photographed, Hooky had grown wary of photographers – however, he immediately got into the rhythm of it. We were photographing him in his rehearsal space, a small building detached from his house. Although we were initially worried about lighting, a TV crew happened to also be filming Hooky that day, so we were able to use their lighting set-up. Hooky was a natural in front of the camera, I’m sure it’s something you pick up after being photographed so many times!
It was almost hard to photograph him, with how many questions I wanted to ask him! But overall we got to hear a few stories, ask a few questions, and photograph a true Mancunian legend. And I’m happy to say he was everything that high school me would have wanted him to be!
This was my third time photographing a subject for the Greater Mancunians project, and it was yet again another incredible experience and opportunity. I feel extremely grateful to have been given the chance to photograph true heroes of mine, who are also Mancunian icons in themselves. It yet again helped me to build my confidence, as my worries were once again immediately shot down as soon as the shoot began. This project is truly growing a fantastic selection of Greater Mancunians, and we can now add Peter Hook to that collection!”
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)