Women in Music 2016

New Order Respond To Ex-Bassist Peter Hook's Impending Royalty Suit

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Bernard Sumner of New Order performs at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on July 11, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

For several years now, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner have been slinging mud, bitter accusations and barbed jibes in each other’s direction via the press. Now it seems that the onetime friends and founder members of two of Britain’s most revered and influential groups, Joy Division and New Order, are to battle it out in the law courts.    

Following a preliminary hearing at London’s High Court, Hook has been cleared to take to his long-running royalties dispute to a full trial where he intends to sue his former bandmates -- frontman Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert -- for lost earnings of over £2 million ($3 million).     

In response, New Order -- which reformed in 2011 minus Hook and subsequently embarked on a number of world tours and released a new studio album, Music Complete -- have issued a statement in which they express their “obvious” disappointment “that Peter is pursuing this claim in this particular way.”    

Referring to press coverage of the two-day court hearing -- during which Hook’s barrister accused the band members of “pillaging” New Order’s assets and likened their decision to form a new company to license the group’s trademark and associated goodwill without the bassist’s knowledge to a “fait accompli” -- Sumner, Morris and Gilbert said “the reports so far take a number of things out of context.”

“Peter still, for instance, receives his full share of all back-catalog royalties. This dispute relates only to the share of income he takes from our work without him since 2011,” the statement, which has also been posted on the band’s website, goes on to to say.

The band, who is currently on a U.K. tour, conclude by saying: “[There’s] not much more we can say as nothing has been decided by the Court on the facts other than he has a right to proceed with the claim, so this matter is still in play.”

They sign off by stating: “We’re getting on with life and concentrating on touring and promoting our new album.”