Former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook is in talks to buy a cache of his bands' old master tapes rescued from the trash by a former studio assistant. Earlier this month, Julia Adamson (a former member of the Fall and assistant to producer Martin Hannett) said she was looking to sell the tapes, which include a master copy of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures.
Hook got in touch, he told Pitchfork in a recent interview. The bassist said he is negotiating with Adamson, with the hope of eventually releasing a set of Joy Division alternate mixes and outtakes. "It'd be nice to issue something that fans would love and cherish," Hook says. "Hopefully these tapes will enable us to do something different."
Though Adamson said she attempted to contact musicians from the bands on the tapes, Hook said he never heard from her. "There is no way on Earth that I, renowned collector of all things Joy Division and New Order, would have not been interested," he said.
Hook also claims the tapes are the legal property of the band members.
"If I found some Nine Inch Nails tapes or Stone Roses tapes, and you contacted the Stone Roses, they'd all go, 'They're ours!'" he said. "There's a culture of finder's keepers, so invariably, over the years, I've bought many items of memorabilia back from various people. But English law is very explicit about ownership. The band owned the copyright and the music, and under English law it's illegal to give away people's music without their consent. So, if Julia did want to give them away, she needs our permission. It's the same as illegal file-sharing on the Internet."
The prospect of hearing this once-lost material has struck a nostalgic chord in Hook, who likens the process to "finding an old diary tucked away at the back of a cupboard."
"I got some tapes recently that had Bernard (Sumner)'s handwriting on them," he said. "It’s always a strange thing. Whilst your relationship may sour over the years, it is a bit like finding an old love letter."
Hook in January released Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, a book chronicling the band's history.