When New Order took their final bow at the Personal Fest in Buenos Aires on November 18th, 2006, no one in the audience knew they were witnessing a truly historic moment: it was the final time that the three founding members of New Order would play together. A few days later, bassist Peter Hook broke the news. “It might be out last show ever,” he said. “We still hate each other. It’s a love-hate thing.”
Peter Hook had been playing with guitarist Bernard Sumner and drummer Stephen Morris since the earliest days of Joy Division in 1977, when they were just teenagers. Frontman Ian Curtis famously hung himself on the eve of Joy Division’s inaugural American tour in May 1980, but against long odds, the band stuck together, renamed themselves New Order and found huge global success all through the 1980s with mega-hit singles like “Blue Monday,” “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “True Faith.”
One might think that a band that survived so much trauma would be close, but Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner found themselves unable to agree on much of anything in the early 1990s. New Order split in 1993 but reformed three years later after their solo projects failed to take off. They re-emerged as synthpop elder statesmen (even reviving their long-dormant Joy Division songs in concert), and they cut new LPs in 2001 and 2005.
The old tensions remained. “I didn’t enjoy working with Bernard anymore,” Hook told Spinner in 2011. “I felt that our ambitions for the group and for the music were too far apart to ever come together again. It was a pain in the arse doing the last album [2005’s Waiting for the Siren’s Call], and the fact that it took three years was f—ing ridiculous. I’ll never get that time back again. Everybody towed the line: ‘Don’t upset Bernard.’ Fucking stupid. Everyone gets hypnotized into doing it.”
New Order limped their way through a South American tour in late 2006, but when it ended, they parted ways permanently. Peter Hook now plays Joy Division and New Order songs with his band the Light, and New Order reformed with a replacement bassist in 2011. They’re on tour right now.
Check out a video of “Blue Monday” from the band’s final concert with Peter Hook. The show ended, appropriately enough, with “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”