Peter Hook Interview: "The gig will celebrate Ian at his finest"

Hooky chats all about the upcoming Charity gig for Shout at The Star & Garter, his memories with Joy Division, and his deep friendship with Ian Curtis. Check out what he had to say below!

Thomas Hirst

Last updated: 2nd Feb 2024

On Friday, 12th April 2024, Peter Hook & The Light are set to headline an intimate mental health fundraiser at Manchester's The Star & Garter, coinciding with the 7-month anniversary of the Ian Curtis mural, painted by Akse, on the historic venue's exterior. The one-night-only event promises an exclusive Joy Division set, and a Q&A hosted by Hooky, featuring people close to Ian and the band. 

Raising money for the mental health charity Shout; a 24/7 text messaging support service, that has provided vital assistance to over two million individuals since its launch in 2019; the gig will house just 200 fans, which will be decided by ballot entry right here on Skiddle, proceeds of which will all be going to Shout (with 15% going to Headstock to cover event production costs). 

With all this on the horizon, we caught up with Peter Hook to learn all about the gig, and his plans for it; Shout, and becoming a mental health ambassador; his memories with Joy Division, and his deep friendship with Ian Curtis. Check out what he had to say below!

If you want to be in with a chance of attending Peter Hook & The Light: An Evening of Music & Conversation at the Star and Garter, then do not fear as ballot entries are still live on Skiddle, and will be closing on 23rd February. If you want to secure your ballot entry, then scroll down to the bottom of this page and buy either one, three, or ten in the box provided. Good Luck! 



Hi Peter, so, where did the idea for this Charity gig come about?

"Well, I saw the mural that was done in Tib Street a long time ago, and I was very happy to be there for the unveiling with AKSE, and I relished the reaction to it from the people in Manchester. 

"It was amazing, everybody was saying how long overdue it was, how wonderful it was, and it soon became part of the tourist trail. But, when its three months was up because it was basically just an advertising hoarding, there was a huge outcry about it. So when Headstock decided to do it again permanently, I was absolutely delighted. 

"So, I just offered to help in any way that I could, and between us, we came up with the idea of doing a gig in the Star and Garter, and the gig will celebrate Ian at his finest.

"So yeah, it’s gonna be nice, I've had a few months off for shoulder surgery, so this will be my first gig of the year, and we’ve got a very busy year this year, so this prefaces it well.

"The day after, we've got a festival in Newcastle called Interzone, which is another Joy Division celebration, so it's going to be a good week. 

"If you'd have said to me 40 years ago when I thought that my world was over when we lost Ian, that I'd still be doing it now, in 2024, for some great causes, I'd have probably said you were a lunatic. I'm delighted to be here doing it."



It must be great to both have the mural on an iconic venue like the Star and Garter, but also be able to do such a gig there, and support Manchester grassroots venues in such a way.

"The fact that the mural is on the Star and Garter, which is very important in Manchester for up-and-coming bands, is great.

"We need to look after these smaller venues. We really do.

"I own FAC 251, and also my partner has Gorilla and The Deaf Institute. So we know how important these smaller venues are to Manchester music and music in general."


Do you have any special memories of the venue, is it one you have frequented over the years?

"I haven’t actually. You know what? Funnily enough, apart from one of my drug dealers running it for a while, I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

"The thing is, I've always watched how it became synonymous with The Smiths and synonymous with bands starting out, and you appreciate that.

"But I've been in to check that there's a seat on the toilet, so we're all right on that front, because most of these venues, in my memory, never had a bloody toilet seat. 

"So I've checked that. We've got a toilet seat, and I'm just looking forward to the gig now."


The gig will also be for a great cause as well, being in support of Shout. Can you tell us about the work that they do, what that means to you guys, and why you're raising it for them?

"Well, because of Ian's illness and his very, very sad demise, we've become ambassadors for mental health, particularly in young men. 

"Mental health is deteriorating, especially thanks to bloody COVID and the state of the world, at a phenomenal rate. It's getting frightening. 

"So we try and do anything we can to help, and for me especially, to just get my bloody guitar out and do a gig in front of an audience, that is not difficult to do, and I'm always delighted to do it. 

"We've just got to get across the message that if you need help, there is help out there. All you've got to do is just take a deep breath and ask.

"Also, education in looking for the signs of mental illness now is much more widespread than it ever has been. When Ian was suffering, I didn't know my ass from the elbow, I really didn't in that respect sadly. But now I’ve been educated I have to go out and do something.

"I lost a very good friend, a very close friend, just before Christmas through mental illness. So, yeah, it just never stops."


Image: Peter Hook & The Light on Facebook

On the gig itself, what can the lucky few who get through on the ballot expect from the gig? We know the set is going to be all Joy Division, but can the fans expect any surprise deep cuts? Do you have an idea of what you’ll be playing yet?

"Well I've come up with an idea, and my son's going crazy. 

"We're going to play Joy Division's first-ever set list, which included a couple of punk songs that Joy Division wrote but never recorded, called ‘Reaction’ and ‘Inside The Line.’

"So we're going to play that set and then we'll finish off, just for fun, with the sort of greatest hits of the LPs. It's going to be nice."


What about the Q&A to follow, are there going to be any special guests there?

"Yeah, there are. 

"We’ve got Kelvin Briggs, who was Ian's school friend and was the best man at his wedding to Debbie, doing the Q&A with me.

"Carl Bellingham, or Twinny, my best mate has been for 40 odd years, who was Joy Division's first roadie and went on to be New Order’s roadie. 

"Philippe Carly, who in 1978 took the original photo they used for the mural is coming over for the night as well. So I might drag him into the Q&A.

"So, yeah, it should be a lively Q&A that prefaces the gig, and people have become friends over the years so it's nice to be able to do it.

"For me though, it's all about getting Kelvin and Twinny involved, because we all suffered greatly when Ian died. We're lucky because we got to look at the lovely side of life, the nice side of life, and have had great lives. 

"But, the sorrow that was generated, and is still generated, by Ian's very sad demise, we need to try and avoid that, we don't want people to be unhappy, so you just have to do what you can, where you can."


It’s a beautiful thing, and it just really sounds like a celebration of Ian and one that holds a central message of love and support. 

"It's a celebration of life. That's what we need to get over to people.

"If you're feeling bad or you're feeling down, there are a lot of great things in life that you don't want to rob yourself of. So, yeah, it's very difficult. I've been there and I realise how difficult it is to pull yourself together and ask for help. 

"So this is just that way of letting people know that the underlying thought of this is to look after yourself."


Image: Joy Division on Facebook 

It also feels like a celebration of the legacy of what Ian imposed on both Manchester and the world of music, because few others have had such an impact.

"My God, no one is more surprised than me with Joy Division's reach. Me and Barney weren't blowing our own trumpet, and we had many moments where we didn't think we'd last five minutes as Joy Division. 

"But it was always Ian who told us, ‘We'll be playing in Brazil, we'll be playing in America, we'll be doing this, we'll be doing that.’ He was always the one that pulled us together. The one that looked after us in many ways.

"So you can imagine how sad it was to not be able to look after him, and still to live with that now. 

"But he was right. 

"I can go all around the world playing Joy Division to rapturous audiences. From bloody Mexico to Mongolia, you name it. And I've been there playing Joy Division. And every time I go, I always think of him.

"Because that's what he told me would happen, and I can't believe it. He was absolutely right."


What do you think he would think of all that has happened since?

"You know what? He'd probably be going, I told you so. 

"I told you we were great. because that was what he did all the time. He told us how fucking great we were, and it was hard to believe. 

"You couldn't get a gig, you couldn't get a record deal, it was such a fight to establish the group, and then to be so cruelly thwarted by his illness right at the end.

"I still can’t believe that Joy Divison finished on the 18th of May 1980. But now here we are in 2024, and I'm doing world tours playing Joy Division. 

"The reach of great music is just incredible."


Image: Joy Division on Facebook

What does it mean to you to be able to continue to celebrate Ian and Joy Division in this way, for such great causes, all these years later?

"The weirdest thing is, when I started again in 2010 after New Order split up in 2007, I realised we'd never really celebrated anything to do with Joy Division.

"Then it got to 30 years of Ian's life and work, and I thought, you know what? I'm fucked if I'm not going to celebrate this now. I didn't know whether one person would turn up, or ten, or whatever. 

"We did it at Factory 251, and I had a hotel room opposite, and I remember looking through the curtain, watching the queue develop, and I was like. Oh. My. God. 

"We played Unknown Pleasures that night, and the people that were there, 200 again, were great. They loved it. So we did two more nights. 

"We did it again for Closer, we did it for Substance, and we also did Still. It was wonderful. 

"I'd not played those songs for 30-odd years. I can't believe why we never played them. Even as New Order. I can't believe why we never played them.

"I remember we did a gig as Joy division in The Tower Club, and we had nobody there. No one. I remember the barman came out and swept the floor in front of us while we were playing. Then years later you do a gig with New Order like Glastonbury, where you play into 150,000.

"So, I always think to myself, you know what? As long as it's somewhere between a barman and 150,000, I'm happy."




Peter Hook & The Light: An Evening of Music & Conversation

Where: Friday 12th April 2024

When: The Star And Garter in Manchester


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