The ongoing saga between New Order and former bassist Peter Hook is going from the media to the courts.
After spending several years exchanging barbs in the press, the Manchester Evening Newsreports that Hook is now suing his one-time bandmates for “many millions of pounds” and accuses them withholding due royalties. Hook acrimoniously left New Order in 2007, and has since toured under his new project, Peter Hook & The Light, playing Joy Division and New Order albums in full. New Order released new album Music Complete earlier this year with a new lineup that includes bassist Tom Chapman and guitarist Phil Cunningham.
Part of the royalties dispute stems from an alleged meeting of New Order members Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris a few years back that created a new company fit to license the band’s name while dramatically reducing Hook’s cut.
Highlights of the report from the Manchester Evening News…
The legendary bassist says he is already £2.3m out of pocket due to the underhand tactics of his “former friends” – Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris. He claims they have asset stripped the New Order name, keeping him in the dark about what they were up to until the move became a “fait accompli”.
A new company the trio set up without telling him has generated an income of £7.8 million in four years – but Mr Hook is getting just a tiny fraction of that, the court heard. And his barrister, Mark Wyeth QC, said: “It was as though George Harrison and Ringo Starr had got together at George’s house one Friday night and had acted together to divest Paul McCartney of his shareholding in the Beatles, and didn’t tell Yoko about it either.”
The case hinges on events in 2011 when Mr Sumner and the Morris’s formed a new company – in secret Mr Hook claims. All agree that he was not present when the other three resolved to licence the use of the New Order name to the new company for 10 years.
Mr Hook, who now performs with his son in the group Peter Hook and the Light, says the move exiled him from his musical past and cost him a fortune. The band has continued its phenomenal success without him since the new company – New Order Limited – was formed, said the judge. Mr Hook is only receiving 1.25% of the band’s royalties and other income from merchandising and performances – but says he should be getting up to 12.5%.