After UB40 founder and frontman Ali Campbell and keyboardist Mickey Virtue split from the band in 2008 – the rest continued with Astro.
But today Astro has issued the following statement discussing his split from the band:
Original UB40 lead vocalist Astro has split with the band going by the name of UB40. He 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.”
UPDATE [November 22nd 2013]
UB40 have released a statement following the shock departure of founding member Astro earlier today
“UB40 are shocked and saddened by not only Astro’s decision to quit the band, but also his refusal to honour his touring commitments. We have several tours booked in the coming months, including our biggest UK tour for three years, and he has not only let us down but also our fans.
While we are naturally disappointed that Astro will not be with us at these shows, UB40 will continue and are looking forward to a positive 2014.”