Original UB40 lead vocalist Astro has announced he is to split with the band.
As fans will be aware, founder and frontman Ali Campbell and keyboardist Mickey Virtue had a rather acrimonious split from UB40 back in 2008, with the original UB40 continuing on with the other lead singer Astro.
Astro has issued the following statement to explain his departure:
“After a well‐documented turbulent few years I feel that it is time to draw a line in the sand and move on. Since Ali and Micky departed, the band has been like a rudderless ship with no clear direction, no action plan, we’ve merely muddled our way through on a wing and a prayer. There has been a serious lack of communication between the band and management.
“I want to play what our fans, who have been very vocal, want to hear, which is vibrant, fresh reggae music with passion. My heart just isn’t in the new album ‘Getting Over The Storm,’ where my contribution has been reduced to a backing vocalist which, as our fans know, is not my role in the group. I’m a front man, a lead vocalist.
“While it maybe true that there is a long relationship with reggae musicians and country music, that doesn’t mean that that’s what I want to play, far from it and it’s definitely not something I wish to be part of, subjecting our fans to what I consider to be substandard.
“I have been loyal to my brothers to the detriment of my own family. Now it is time for me to do the right thing by them and myself and bow out while I still have a chance to salvage something of my career.
“I may have lost all that I’ve worked for, for the past 30+ years but I cannot bear to see what we are offering to our loyal fans who have stood by us through thick and thin. I believe they deserve better than this and I am sorry but I cannot and will not lose my integrity as a respected reggae musician. Therefore I have no alternative but to part company with the band.
“I know it may seem sudden to all who know me but my mind is made up and will not change. I think it’s clear that I’ve had enough of being depressed, as I’m sure other members are, but the difference is I’m not prepared to continue to be miserable at home and work. So it’s with a heavy heart I say goodbye. It was (mostly) fun while it lasted.
The reggae troupe are due to play their biggest UK tour for over three years in spring 2014. The new trek follows the success of the band’s latest Top 30 album, ‘Getting Over The Storm’, which was awarded BBC Radio 2’s Album Of The Week accolade and received 5-star reviews from the UK’s music press on its release back in September.
UB40 UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows
Sat November 23rd 2013 – LIVERPOOL Liverpool Cathedral
Mon March 31st 2014 – GLASGOW O2 ABC
Tue April 1st 2014 – GATESHEAD The Sage
Thu April 3rd 2014 – LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Fri April 4th 2014 – NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Sat April 5th 2014 – IPSWICH The Regent
Mon April 7th 2014 – FOLKESTONE Leas Cliff Hall
Tue April 8th 2014 – PORTSMOUTH Pyramids
Thu April 10th 2014 – SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion
Fri April 11th 2014 – ST ALBANS Alban Arena
Sat April 12th 2014 – MANCHESTER Academy
Mon April 14th 2014 – CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Tue April 15th 2014 – LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Fri April 18th 2014 – BIRMINGHAM Institute