Joy Division’s Peter Hook discussed with Rolling Stone the realities of the discovery of the band’s lost masters.
Today on Rolling Stone, an article interviewing Peter Hook about the Joy Division tapes that were mysteriously found delved into the latest developments, which involve possible legal action again the woman currently in possession of them. Peter Hook also recently announced a tour that will include performances of New Order’s Movement and Power, Corruption, and Lies under the name Peter Hook & and The Light. Below is an excerpt from the interview with Rolling Stone:
How’s the master tape debacle going? Have any developments progressed since the last time we heard from you?
It’s a much deeper story than the one that was first presented. [Julia Adamson] found them a long time ago, and we’d already tried to get them off her. She told us that they’d been stolen from her; she had a police report. This was years ago. It came out that she just found them this summer, but somehow, they got returned to her! How weird! As my wife quite rightly put it, there seems to be a very thin line between reward and ransom. We’re hoping Rapunzel will let down her hair and I’ll be able to climb up and get the masters. Her husband was Chris Nagle, who was the engineer of Unknown Pleasures and Closer, and he’s a very good friend of mine.
What does he have to say about it?
He phoned her up and told her she should fucking give them back. He said, “They belong to the band, they’re not yours!” She’s got loads of tapes, not just ours – Simply Red, Magazine. She’s got quite a lot of bands’ stuff that she should give back, because the bands paid for them. She’s bootlegging. In Manchester, she’s perceived and known as quite a strange character. She’s quite a strong woman and wants her own way. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you put everyone in an odd position, you can’t really deal with them. Warner’s got really annoyed, and they’ve launched a legal action. I spoke to her only about two weeks ago, and I said, “Are you gonna give them back or what?” And she said, “No. The reward is not enough.” It didn’t have a happy ending. Most of what she’s got are copy masters. In the old days, you didn’t have the money to do loads of takes, because it’s not like a computer where you have fucking loads of memory. Chris Nagle told me, “Martin and I never did any outtakes!” because you couldn’t afford it. If you did a take, and you went, “Oh, fuck that,” you’d rewind it and record over it, so there’s very few outtakes – and she’s got a reel of outtakes. The other reel she has is a copy master of the LP. It’s a bit technical and that bit of it is boring. The bit where she found it is great, it’s like a fairy story, but that’s just it. It’s a fairy story . . . There are no Joy Division masters, the 24 original recordings of the tracks. This is the closest thing we have for a long time. People always think that they’ve found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, when they find something like that. It’s like winning the lottery. You can’t do that, because it’s illegal to use other people’s music, and give it away.
Right. It’s not “finders keepers.”
Well, that’s what she said. Warner Bros. are usually really reticent to do anything with regards to this stuff – there’s a hell of a gray area on the legal side of it. If you don’t earn any money on the record, you can’t earn any money back. You’re risking £100,000 taking her to court, and if you put the tapes out, you’d never, ever earn £100,000. The accountant says, “It’s not worth it.” People are really interesting.
So this hasn’t reached a conclusion, and we’re getting into legalities? I’m sorry to hear that.
So am I. The wrangling over it will make them absolutely worthless.