Peter Hook, founding bassist of Joy Division and New Order, hasn’t spoken to his old bandmates in more than a decade, but he’s hoping the groups’ joint nomination for the 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could be an “olive branch” that brings them back together, he told Billboard.
The band started out as Joy Division but rebranded as New Order after original vocalist Ian Curtis died by suicide in 1980. Hook’s longtime comrades Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris reformed without him in 2011, and the trio have since fallen out of touch.
Hook said they “still haven’t spoken, personally in 11 years. We’re still fighting hammer and tong, tooth and nail… I think we’re going for the record for the longest group fallout in history. It’s very tragic.”
To recognize their shared history, Joy Divison and New Order have been jointly nominated for the 2023 class alongside The White Stripes, Kate Bush, Willie Nelson, Soundgarden, Missy Elliott, A Tribe Called Quest, George Michael, Rage Against the Machine, Iron Maiden, Sheryl Crow, Cyndi Lauper, Warren Zevon, and The Spinners. The finalists will be announced in May.
“It will be a difficult awards ceremony if we get there, but as my wife said we’ve got to rise above these things… and be nice and be courteous and think the best,” Hook said. “Maybe this is the olive branch that we may need to end the injustices that were done with New Order in the end. It’s a very strange position to be in but, y’know, we’re not the first group that’s been ostracized by each other, and we won’t be the last.”
Regardless of how the interpersonal drama shakes out, Hook is excited. The nomination “made me smile all day,” he said, adding, “I will be rooting for us. Ever since we started as Warsaw, I’ve always felt great competition towards other bands. You want to do better than them, you want to achieve something. So this really appeals to me.”
Hook recalled “we were always against this sort of thing when we started,” because of “the old punk thing — we hope we die before we get old and destroy all the old musicians, etc. etc. and what rubbish awards ceremonies are. Then all of a sudden you get one, and as you get older you realize… yeah, it’s a wonderful thing. I’m humbled, I really am. It’s nice, and it’s fun to be appreciated.”
He’s also at peace with Joy Division and New Order’s joint nomination. “It feels OK to me,” he explained. “It was an odd thing. Joy Division was such a wonderful, powerful entity, and it was so sad the way it ended. But the three of us — Bernie, Stephen and I — got real strength from starting New Order together. We started [Joy Division] after seeing the Sex Pistols, and we’ve been banging our heads against walls and doors and kicking them down musically since then. We were always the square peg in a round hole as Joy Division and very much a square peg in a round hole as New Order. [The Rock Hall] is a hell of an accolade, but my God, I think either band has earned it. We are definitely up there without a shadow of a doubt.”
The current lineup of New Order recently announced a spring 2023 tour and tickets are available through Stubhub. Last month, they unveiled a “definitive edition” box set of the 1985 classic, Low-Life. Revisit the groups’ 10 best songs now.