Then It's Time to Start Again: Peter Hook's '90s Bands

Revenge in 1990 (L-R): David Potts, Peter Hook, Mike Hedges, Chris Jones, Dave Hicks. Martyn Goodacre / Getty Images

By Erik Thompson & Alex Rice

Revenge (1989-1993)
Following New Order’s 1989 tour in support of Technique, Peter Hook formed Revenge with fellow Manchester musicians Dave Hicks and Chris Jones. If the name sounds like a bitter stab at Bernard Sumner’s side project with The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, Electronic, it’s not; Hooky nabbed the retaliatory moniker from the back of George Michael’s leather jacket in the “Faith” music video.

The packaging and promotion of Revenge’s lone studio album, One True Passion (1990), leaned heavily into a macho biker chic befitting Hook’s reputation as an imposing, bass-toting Viking figure, but the record’s best moments are actually its most sensitive. Both the eye-catching sleeve and the S&M-fueled video for opening track “Pineapple Face” employ scantily-clad, leather-bound models, while songs like “Big Bang” and “It’s Quiet” showcase the bassist’s impeccable ear for melody (even when it’s not four-stringed).

Revenge toured considerably throughout Europe while Peter’s primary band was on hiatus in the early ‘90s, bringing him back to the clubs he had played with Joy Division and New Order a decade prior. The live band was eventually rounded out by guitarist David Potts and drummer Ash Taylor, and a four-song EP, Gun World Porn, followed in 1991. After Hicks’s departure and a series of lineup changes, though, Revenge broke up before releasing a sophomore effort.

In 2004, however, Hook revisited the work of his former band, putting out an expanded reissue of Revenge’s debut titled One True Passion V2.0, which featured demos, remixes, and unreleased tracks from his short-lived group. A live collection, No Pain No Gain, followed in 2005, highlighting performances from Revenge’s 1991 heyday.

Monaco members Peter Hook, David Potts and Paul Kehoe with The Light at London's O2 Forum Kentish Town in 2016. Mark L. Hill

Monaco (1995-2000, 2019-)
New Order went on another extended break after the abbreviated tour behind 1993’s Republic, so Hook soon shifted his creative attention to another project with Potts, the dance-rock duo Monaco. The group’s 1997 debut, the Gold-certified Music for Pleasure, found the pair splitting vocal duties as the multi-talented Potts’s guitar, drums and keys work perfectly accented Hook’s iconic basslines.

Music for Pleasure produced two U.K. Top 20 singles, opener “What Do You Want from Me?” and the endlessly-grooving “Sweet Lips.” Elsewhere on the LP, “Buzz Gum” and “Happy Jack” tap into the mid-‘90s Britpop zeitgeist, while the exuberant “Under the Stars” memorializes Hook’s ex-girlfriend/New Order tour promoter Ruth Polsky, who was tragically struck and killed by an out-of-control taxi in New York City in 1986.

On the heels of a tepid reaction to their eponymous second album (despite the puppy love of the “I’ve Got a Feeling” promo video), a record label shakeup and infighting between Hook and Potts, Monaco split in 2000. Thirteen years later, they joined forces once again when Potts joined the bassist and Monaco drummer Paul Kehoe in Peter Hook & the Light.

As The Light make their way through their frontman’s distinguished back catalog, it’s apparent that Monaco aren’t finished quite yet. In the middle of a 2019 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Hook and Potts surprised the crowd with a brand new Monaco song called “Higher, Higher, Higher Love.” The former introduced the new track by saying, “Me and Pottsy have been talking for a while now about doing some new music. This is our first new song for 20 years, and it’s about what Ian and Joy Division’s music means to us. We’re both big Joy Division fans.”

Joy Division, you say? We hear their bassist made some pretty killer music in the ‘90s…