ONE-OFF SPECIAL: Astro, left, with Ali Campbell of UB40
WITHIN FOUR days of original UB40 frontman Astro announcing his split from the band’s current line-up, the reggae legend has revealed he will reunite with Ali Campbell, the band’s founder, for a one-off gig on Friday December 6.
They will be joined at London’s 02 Arena by original keyboard player Mickey Virtue, who has been playing with Campbell since the pair left the chart-topping band in February 2008.
Astro said: “It’s going to be great working with Ali again after all this time. We started on a mission to promote reggae music and that mission is still ongoing. Onwards and upwards!”
While Campbell added: “We originally formed UB40 to promote reggae. It was never about promoting individual band members – it’s about music and the fans. Nothing else matters, so welcome home Astro!”
The news comes just four days after Astro, whose real name is Terence Wilson, dramatically announced he was leaving the band, less than three months after they had put together their latest album Getting Over The Storm.
But he has publicly criticised the work as “substandard” and called the band “rudderless.”
In 2011, the Birmingham band, who had more than 50 chart hits in Britain over three decades with songs such as Red, Red Wine and Can’t Help Falling In Love, were declared bankrupt after the collapse of their management company.
Astro, who lives outside Bromsgrove, said in a statement last week: “After a well documented turbulent few years, I feel it’s time to draw a line in the sand and move on.
“Since Ali and Mickey departed, the band has merely muddled its way through on a wing and prayer. There has been a serious lack of communication between the band and management.”
He claims his role on the new album, which includes some country-style music popular in Jamaica, has been reduced to that of a “backing vocalist”.
Astro added: “I want to play what our fans want to hear, which is vibrant, fresh reggae music with passion. My heart just isn’t in the new album. I’m a front man – a lead vocalist.
“While it maybe true there is a long relationship with reggae musicians and country music, that doesn’t mean 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 sub-standard.
“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 also believe our loyal fans deserve something better – I therefore have no alternative but to part company with the band.”
He went on: “I know this may seem sudden to all who know me, but my mind is made up. So it’s with a heavy heart I say goodbye. It was (mostly) fun while it lasted.”
The link for tickets is: http://www.axs.com/events242113/ali-campbell-tickets?skin=indigo2