Just two days after their incredible performance at Clockenflap, New Order have come back down to earth with the news that former bandmate Peter Hook is suing his former bandmates after accused them of “pillaging” the band’s name and leaving him well out of pocket.
It’s no secret that there is no love lost between Peter Hook and his previous bandmates in New Order, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert. In 2011 Hook gave a scathing interview where he claimed that reunion dates were made without his knowledge or involvement and now he is doubling down on those hard feelings by serving up a lawsuit against the band over unpaid royalties.
A high court heard has heard that frontman Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert set up a new company in 2011 without Hook’s consent, in which they licensed the use of the band name to the company for ten years. During this time, Hook has received a fraction of what he believes he’s due after the band have pocketed close to eight million pounds in four years. Hook is reportedly receiving just 1.25% of the band’s royalties, though he claims he should be getting up to 12.5%. According to The Guardian, Peter Hook claims his “former friends” owe him $2.3 million pounds and in response, he plans to sue them for “many millions of pounds”.
Hook’s 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.”
New Order have maintained that they have treated Hook fairly and that his stake in the band’s royalties is reasonable. They say his campaign will achieve nothing – apart from threatening all of them with “potentially disastrous” legal bills of close to £1m. These feelings were not echoed by Judge David Cooke, who, at a High Court hearing, ruled that Hook was not acting out of “spite” and cleared the way for him to take his complaints to a full trial.
The band took to their website to explain their side of the story further, issuing the following statement:
“Obviously the band are disappointed that Peter is pursuing this claim in this particular way. The reports so far take a number of things out of context. Peter still, for instance, receives his full share of all back catalogue royalties. This dispute relates only to the share of income he takes from our work without him since 2011.”
“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.”
“We’re getting on with life and concentrating on touring and promoting our new album.”