PETER Hook has vivid memories of the last time he played The Leadmill – in the mid-’90s with his then band Monaco.
“I remember someone shining a laser in my eyes and I chased him out during the gig,” he recalls ahead of returning to the Sheffield venue on Tuesday with his band, ironically named The Light. “Well, they blind you.”
The former New Order bassist’s new line-up includes the drummer and keyboard player from Monaco as well as the guitarist from Freebass.
He’s in fine form with a first UK tour that has Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures played in full. The Light also features Peter’s bass-player son Jack who, at 22, is the same age as his dad when said seminal album was recorded.
“I’m in a weird position. You’ve got someone in New Odour playing my basslines,” says Hooky, currently in dispute with his old band, “and someone in The Light playing my basslines. The only one who doesn’t play them is me. I knew then I’d have to sing.
“There was real backlash to this at first and it scared off all the people I’d asked to sing initially. The only one it didn’t scare was Rowetta from Happy Mondays.
“She came in because she was a friend but she really did do them justice. Then Happy Mondays p****d on my chips a bit by getting back together again.”
The Light revived nine Joy Division songs for a charity event in Manchester and put some in the Order’s set until... “Barney said it was miserable and we never played them again. NO’s music is much poppier, brighter and less intense. It’s taste.
“When I started doing this I thought the audience would be 50-year-old blokes and it’s not. We’ve done places like Russia, Mexico, and the audiences are young. I never expected it to be as well received as it has.
“Now I get to watch people. If I had a pound for every 50-year-old bloke I’ve seen in tears I wouldn’t have to do it. Some people are really moved by it.”
The tour is followed by Hook’s Joy Divison book and a Hacienda 30th anniversary party, as well as a Light live revival of JD’s Closer album.
“Closer is hard to play – it’s like sitting a hard exam, but very powerful when you pull it off. Unknown Pleasures is rock ‘n’ roll but it’s going to be great because it’s got all the punk songs on.”