The scrap rumbles on. Electro-pop legends New Order have, intermittently, been at loggerheads for years, with bassist Peter Hook having quit the band in 2007. Last year he sued vocalist Bernard Sumner and the rest of New Order for continuing without him, though the seeds for the whole debacle were sown as far back as 1991. This week he’s announced plans to release a New Order book. It’s all a long way from their days in Joy Division, the group from which New Order was born. Here’s how to kill a friendship in 11 easy steps, courtesy of the Manchester band.
1.) Go and play with someone else
Namely, Johnny Marr. In 1991, when New Order were still very much a thing, Sumner started the dance music-inspired side project Electronic with Johnny Marr. Many years later, in 2009, two years after he left New Order, Hooky told NME: “In my mind, Bernard split us up in 1991 when he went off with Johnny Marr [to form Electronic].”
2.) Buy up a treasured memory
Having opened in 1982, the legendary Manchester club the Hacienda – an acid house mecca – was supported financially by New Order and Factory Records, but closed in 1997 because it was losing money hand over fist. Hooky bought the rights to name around 2001, which enabled him to sell the popular Hacienda Classics compilation albums. Bernard Sumner has said “the writing was on the wall from that point”, and in 2013 told The Guardian he “lost respect” for Hooky after the move.
3.) Announce your band is splitting up – without telling them
In late 2006, ahead of a show at the Buenos Aires Club in Ciudad, Hooky told Argentinian newspaper Página/12: “This might be our last concert ever.” Just over six months later, Sumner and Morris released the following statement: “After 30 years in a band together we are very disappointed that Hooky has decided to go to the press and announce unilaterally that New Order have split up. We would have hoped that he could have approached us personally first. He does not speak for all the band, therefore we can only assume he no longer wants to be a part of New Order.”
4.) Start a new band with almost every member of your old band
In mid-2009, Bernard Sumner and former New Order members Stephen Morris (drums) and Phil Cunningham (keyboards) formed the rock group Bad Lieutenant. At the time Blur’s Alex James was on bass, though he was later replaced by Tom Chapman. At the time Hooky seemed pretty cool about it, telling NME: “”There is no current situation [with New Order]”, [Hooky] stated. “We split up two years ago. For a while Bernard seemed to be a bit confused about that but now, from what I gather, he’s accepted it.”
5.) Reform with almost every member of your old band
In 2011, New Order announced that they would play two charity shows and that Hook would not take part. Hooky duly released a statement on Myspace: “I first I heard about this on Monday and it has taken me completely by surprise! Everyone knows that NEW ORDER without PETER HOOK is like QUEEN without FREDDIE MERCURY, U2 without THE EDGE, SOOTY without SWEEP! On a more serious note, I do not understand the decision THE OTHER THREE have taken. I wish they had approached me first.”
6.) Publicly vow to “fuck over” your old friends
Hook was touring with his band The Light, playing Joy Division songs, when he issued an official statement New Order’s about live plans: “It makes me all the more determined to fuck New Order over in any possible way I can. If they think I’m just going to scuttle off to a cabin in the woods, they’ve got another thing coming. They’re dickheads. People go and hide, but I don’t. I’m a fighter. I’m going to come out fighting.” He went on accuse the band of “hiding behind” the charity gigs and planning an American tour.
7.) Talk about a rosy future with almost every member of your old band
Following a London live show, Sumner spent a 2012 interview with the radio station XFM talking up New Order’s plans to play live and teased: “Let’s see [about working on new material]. Hopefully there’ll be some recorded music as well.”
8.) Accuse your replacement band member of “miming”
Hooky went to see watch the new New Order performing in Auckland and told NME in 2012: “I’ve watched so-called ‘New Order’ playing in Auckland and Tom Chapman is miming along to my bass on tape… He’s got his fingers on the low and you can hear my high bass in the background. So he’s miming.” He added – talking about the bass part, not him being at the gig, remember – “There I am, lurking in the background like a ghost.” In response, New Order said some of the bass parts overlapped with other musical arrangements and claimed Hooky had done the same thing.
9) Publicly refer to your ex-mate as “twatto”
Which is obviously an excellent insult. Speaking to Gigwise in 2014, Hooky reckoned Sumner had reformed New Order, rather than continuing with Bad Lieutenant, because he “couldn’t stand the shitholes [small venues].” Of his own musical endeavours with The Light, Hooky said: “It’s really nice to be able to do what I’m doing without having to compromise with another musician. Now twatto has gone back to New Order and their greatest hits, so he must be having to compromise.”
10.) Publicly describe your ex-mate’s antics as “boring”
Promoting the 2015 New Order album ‘Music Complete’, which received excellent reviews, Sumner spoke to Rolling Stone about Hooky: ”It’s a real shame. My heart bleeds for him. He left the band, and then he complained about leaving the band. But I wish him good luck and that he gets on with what he’s chosen to do instead of calling me all sorts of names. He’s so angry. If you choose to take a path in life, don’t blame other people for the path you’ve chosen to take … It must be getting a bit boring for people.”
11.) Sue your “former friends” for “many millions of pounds”
In 2015, NME reported that Peter Hook was suing New Order for “many millions of pounds”. We wrote: “Hook – who left the band in 2007 – has accused “former friends” Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris of setting up a new company to handle the band’s income, “pillaging” the group’s name and leaving him £2.3 million out of pocket.” New Order later said they were “disappointed” by the turn of events.