"Bernard Sumner's got what he's always wanted -- a bass player who does what he's told."
In the same Spinner interview, Sumner claims that following your treatment for alcoholism, while on tour in Japan, you "tore strips off" him, blaming him for "everything that had ever gone wrong with New Order."
I don't remember that and I was sober then. But when he says, "He blamed me for everything that had ever gone wrong with New Order," well, there isn't that much that's gone wrong with it, really, is there? There's a lot of what he says that doesn't make sense. I think he's the only guy I've ever met that can actually contradict himself three times in a sentence. The other interesting thing is that he says I'm only [touring] for the money. Well, what's he doing it for then?
One of the major sources of their grievance seems to be you buying the Hacienda trademark behind their back.
What happened there was that [Joy Division and New Order manager] Rob [Gretton] had heard that the [Hacienda] liquidator was selling the trademark at a public auction and he said to me, "We are going to have to buy it." So I lent him the money. It wasn't behind anybody's back. So we bought it and he gave me half the trademark... [Years later], with Rob Gretton's widow's permission, I did the first Hacienda compilation CD. I was in the band then -- we were doing "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" -- and nobody said a dicky-bird. Nobody was interested or bothered. I may have even asked them to help me... It seems strange to make it such a part of his beef now because the two reasons that he cites for reforming New Order behind my back are this Hacienda thing and me playing Joy Division, which, again, him and Steve both played Joy Division in (Sumner's brief-lived post New Order group) Bad Lieutenant before I did and never asked me.
In an interview with Billboard last year, Sumner memorably said that your decision to tour Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures' with your new band The Light had "opened the gates of hell."
[Laughs]. Well, if that's the worst thing in his life... I'm afraid that the world is full of much more important things than two fat old blokes arguing about [whether I] left the band or [we] split. I opened the gates of hell? Oh, pack it in, mate. We're just fucking arguing and the sad thing is, when it comes down to it, we're arguing about money, so that's a ridiculous thing to say. You lot must love it, though. It's a journalist's gift, this argument.
It's the gift that keeps on giving. In a recent Telegraph interview, Gillian Gilbert was quite disparaging about 'Unknown Pleasures,' your autobiographical account of Joy Division.
Obviously, they are unified in their hatred of me and their desire to belittle. I'm actually quite flattered that they still feel the need to do it when they've toured the world for a year as New Order, earned a shit load of money, and yet they still feel the need to let everybody know what a bastard I am. I'll have to take it as a compliment that I have got up their noses so much.
What is the nature of your on-going legal action against New Order?
What we're arguing about is the business side. It's nothing to do with me trying to stop them (touring). I must admit that I was very shocked at first and angered by the fact that they had [reformed] completely behind my back. But the thing that I was most angry about was the business deal that they had left behind for me. Without asking me or consulting me, they just said: "Here you are. Here's your cut of New Order going forward." That's what I'm trying to legally remedy.
You've previously stated that, despite everything that been said, you would rejoin New Order if they asked you to. Has it gone past that point now?
Yes. This does need to stop. It's getting beyond a joke. Even I'm looking at it now and going, "Oh, my God. This is ridiculous." I mean, we're both musicians trying to earn a living and get on with it and this constant sniping is not good for either of us and it is very, very childish... This does really strike me as "the lady doth protest too much." Especially when they have got everything back that they wanted... Maybe they are just feeling like a jilted lover.
New Order is playing Coachella this year. Do you envy their continued ability to attract high-profile, high grossing shows?
At the start it was quite shocking because when I was [with them], they wouldn't gig. And then, all of a sudden, you have an economic crisis and they're they all out there gigging, so God bless them. I take it with a pinch of salt. I say it's more about financial stability than it is about music. The thing that I dislike about them most is the way that they just keep playing the greatest hits all the time. That was one of the things that I hated when I was there -- when we were actually New Order, as opposed to a New Order tribute band, which is what I feel that they are now. They are as much New Order as I am Joy Division. In a funny way, now that I'm New Order, they are as much New Order as I am New Order.
Finally, what do you make of Sumner's claim that the band members are all much happier now than ever before?
I would imagine that most people who have been backstage after a New Order gig can make up their own minds about that particular statement. But if they are happier, then it must have been me (making them unhappy). I think probably the thing that Bernard is happiest about is that nobody says boo to a goose now, because the whole mantra used to be don't upset Bernard. Well, now he's got nobody to upset him. He's got what he's always wanted, which is a bass player who does what he's told.