Here is something you might not know – the FA thwarted David Beckham’s chances of being a rapper.
At least that’s according to Peter Hook, a man who has played in two of the most influential bands of the past 30 years and is playing a gig in these parts next month.
Hook was bass guitarist in Joy Division and New Order, the latter of which wrote World In Motion, the England World Cup song in 1990, generally recognised as the best footie tune ever penned.
“It is a great song,” said Hook, “but what a lot of people don’t know is that we were going to re-release if for the World Cup in 2002.
“The idea was going to be to have Beckham doing the rap but the FA wouldn’t allow it and chose Ant and Dec instead, which was a shame to say the least.
“Working with the England squad in 1990 was certainly a laugh. They all had a go at the rap before we decided that John Barnes was the best one. You should have heard Paul Gascoigne’s attempt!
“We only had about three hours with the squad in total so it was a bit rushed. They had to be free by 2pm to go and open a supermarket in Middlesbrough.”
These days Hook has his own band – Peter Hook and The Light – and they’re coming to 53 Degrees (on Thursday October 31, tickets still available) to perform live the New Order albums ‘Movement’ and ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’.
It is a project that began in 2010 when Hook played Joy Division’s seminal Unknown Pleasures record live at a charity concert. Since then his band have gone on the road each year to perform other albums.
Hook clearly gets a major buzz from being on stage and, in an interview with The Gazette, said he’s had some particularly memorable times in Blackpool. “We played one of our very first gigs as New Order in Blackpool at Scamp’s in 1980 when we were actually just a three-piece,” he said.
“Bernard (Sumner), Steve (Morris) and myself all took turns singing because we hadn’t decided what to do by that point.
“Another one I remember is New Order at the Winter Gardens in 2006. That was a great gig. It had been quite a difficult tour for many reasons but that gig was a real pick me up. It was a great crowd and it was lovely to have a lot of family in the audience, which is always nice.”
As for what we can we expect in Preston next month, the Salford-born lad says: “It will be a passionate and faithful run through of the two albums, with some singles and B-sides thrown in for good measure.
“A lot of the songs haven’t been played for many years, which is a great shame. Songs like Procession, Chosen Time, Hurt.
“The set is great because it shows the transition from Joy Division to New Order, from In a Lonely Place to Blue Monday.
“There are a couple of twists along the way but in general we try and stay as faithful as we can to both the actual songs and Martin Hannett’s recording style.”
There is one question, something I’ve always wanted to ask Hook. How on earth does he play bass guitar the way he does, down by his knees, the guitar almost touching the floor?
“My mother used to say ‘you’ve got to have a gimmick our Peter’ so I guess that became my gimmick,” he explains. “I had been inspired to get a long guitar strap by Paul Simonon from The Clash so I suppose you could say that it’s all Paul’s fault.
“I’ve tripped up a few times and played a few bum notes but to me unless my bass is down by my knees it just doesn’t feel right.
“Mind you, on the downside it leads to a very bad back. In fact my son has started playing bass the same way so I’ve had to warn him about the health problems he’ll have in the future!”
Hook is surprisingly engaging and a good interviewee, and despite being in his late 50s – 57 to be exact – is obviously still incredibly passionate about what he does.
Which begs one more question – any retirement plans?
“No, not really,” he says. “Long may it continue ... though headlining Glastonbury at almost 80 like The Stones is probably a bit much.”
Especially with a dodgy back.
n Peter Hook and The Light are at Preston on October 31. Tickets priced £20 are available at www.53degrees.net