Hooked on Peter Hook

When you’ve played in epoch-defining bands like Joy Division and New Order, you know a bit about life at the low end. Hooky is a busy man these days, but not too busy to fill us in on his plans for the London Bass Guitar Show…

peter hook, credit Eric SwalensWhen it comes to players with a unique style and approach to the instrument, Peter Hook is well and truly up there, often cited as an influence by players young and old. His distinctive playing will be on show for all of us to marvel at on Sunday afternoon but as a taster, here’s what Hooky had to say about his masterclass when we caught up with him recently. “I’m looking forward to it! It’s probably going to be a bit of a mixed bag, really. Let’s face it, this business is as much about projection as technique: that’s one of the things I’ve always thought. With the books and all that I’ve been doing, I’ve been doing a lot of Q&As, and although you get the odd bass question coming up, there’s not many. It will be novel to be in a room surrounded by an audience of fellow bass players. I’ll be more than happy to answer anything.”

peter hookWith a bass style that differs quite drastically from what the bulk of bass players would consider ‘our job’, will his masterclass illustrate how playing differently from the norm can be just as productive? “I’ve always thought that I’ve been very lucky, because my bass style is more like a lead instrument so I can always indulge myself by playing over backing tracks. If you were a normal bass player then you wouldn’t be able to do that. Since I play the melodies, I get to do something else live, so it’s fortunate that my style lends itself more to that, like a lead guitarist. In the past, I’d just get pissed and blag it, but now I don’t drink I have to be more structured.”

Hooky’s style has lead to him relying on a fairly unchanged gear line-up over the years. Any sign of things changing on that front in time for the show? “One of the strange things is that having such a distinctive style doesn’t lend itself to much experimentation. I’m always looking to see if anyone could make a better guitar than the Yamaha BB1200S. They’ve never done it yet, to my mind. There are a few people who sponsor me at the show, Trace Elliot for example who I’ve got a long standing relationship with, and also the Bass Centre who supply my strings, so it’ll be nice to see them. It’s always good to support the guitar industry, especially when they’ve looked after me so well.”

peter hook, credit Mark McNulty

There’s no disputing the fact that Hooky really has seen and done it all in a career spanning five decades – so does he have any pearls of wisdom for those attending the show? “The only words of wisdom from me would be to keep going and to keep trying, because if you do nothing, you get nothing. Don’t stop and keep on!”

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