Peter Hook has a lot of witty one-liners about Disney's controversial Joy Division-inspired shirts that were yanked from shelves yesterday, including: "Because of the amount of money I’ve spent in Disneyland I think they owe me something without a shadow of a doubt."
Also: "I do wish I’d done the Joy Division oven gloves."
And when told the shirts are now selling on eBay for over $200, he cracks up.
It's a complicated situation for Hook. "The fact that Joy Division only existed for three years, from 1977 to 1980, and we can still make international headlines has to be more than a compliment," he says. "But it's an odd situation we find ourselves in as Joy Division and New Order, because when we originally started out, we didn’t believe in self-promotion of any kind – we never got involved with merchandise."
Still, he adds: "We’ve always been one of the most bootlegged bands in history, particularly Joy Division. But it’s a hell of a compliment to be bootlegged by someone like Disney."
This particular fashion bootleg isn't new to him, either. "I’m used to Mickey Mouse shirts – I see them outside of every gig we do. In England we call them Mickey Mouse when they’re bootlegged, so I am used to some horrendous ones," he says. As a result, they have a standard procedure for how to handle unauthorized merchandise. "Generally what we do in England is when somebody does something like this, and most people do it inadvertently, we just ask for a donation to an epilepsy charity or a children’s charity just to make good. So I’m sure Disney can stretch to a little gesture like that. "
That all of this comes up now is also bittersweet because of the circumstances he finds himself in with New Order. "We’re in the middle of legal proceedings at the moment about their use of the name New Order without me and it leaves it in a position where you can only communicate through lawyers," he says. "While the band members may feel justified in their insistence they are New Order without me, I don’t think they’re New Order without me."
He has had no contact about the shirts with Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, his former mates in both Joy Division and New Order. Still, he is very aware of what they accomplished together. "When I formed Joy Division in 1977, I never thought that I’d end up at the ripe old age of 55 still being able to play Joy Division music to people who generally are very grateful," he says. "So I’m very grateful to my co-band members, Bernard, Stephen, Ian [Curtis], for creating something that’s lasted for 34 years and shows no signs of abating."
And Hook, who has a book about his time in Joy Division coming out in September, says he is open to speaking to his former band mates. "Life is too short to be at loggerheads like this," he says. "And you never know, this might be just the thing that brings me, Bernard and Stephen together to have a laugh and a drink. And maybe Walt can achieve what no amount of people seem to be able to do in the world, and bring Joy Division back together."
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