Peter Hook and New Order have remained at odds since the bassist’s departure in 2007, and it appears things aren’t getting any better. According to a new report from the Manchester Evening News, Hook has filled a multi-million dollar lawsuit against his former bandmates, alleging them of “pillaging” the group’s name and withholding millions of dollars in royalty payments.
In 2011, current New Order members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert dissolved their company with Hook, Vitalturn Company Ltd, and formed New Order Ltd to handle licensing of the band’s name and music. As a member of Vitalturn, Hook was a 25% shareholder and received 12.5% in royalties and other income from merchandising and performances. Through New Order Ltd., Hook claims to receive only 1.25%. Update: New Order has clarified in a statement that Hook still receives his full share of back royalties and the 1.25% only applies work without him since 2011.
Hook’s attorney Mark Wyeth says New Order’s “clandestine, premeditated, and deliberate” establishment of a new company sans Hook has cost his client £2.3 million ($3.5 million). Wyeth added, “This is not about musical direction or musical differences or personality clashes, but first and foremost about wrongdoers taking control of a company and stripping it of its property.”
A judge rejected New Order’s claim that Hook’s “true motive was to get back into the band or spite the defendants,” thus allowing the suit to proceed to trial.
Update – 7:45 p.m. CT: Both Hook and New Order have issued statements on the suit.
Peter Hook’s statement:
“I’m naturally delighted with the decision made on my application to the High Court in London last week. It found in my favor and justifies the stance I have taken. The Judge made a number of important points when giving his judgment and rejected a lot of the Defendants’ submissions. Both sides’ costs in this case are very substantial. I was obviously pleased that the Judge ordered the Defendants to pay mine. I’m very happy with the outcome and it bodes well for the future. I am grateful to my legal team for the hard work which went into achieving this judgment.”
New Order’s 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.”