In the light of a campaign to discredit the legitimacy of UB40’s South African tour, based on the band comprising only three of the original members, they have released a statement to set the record straight once and for all:

“Following the statement by our ex-colleagues and co-musicians in UB40, we would like to reply with a clarification of the situation.

“Ali Campbell and Astro Wilson are the two long-time vocalists who sang on all the previous UB40 albums and UB40 hits, (prior to the Country and Western album the remaining members saw fit to record a matter of months ago). Campbell and Astro ARE the voices of UB40 – they created the sound on record and on stage.

“Anyone going to a concert by the remaining five will be treated to merely a karaoke version of how the band did indeed sound, with a replacement singer who has never recorded a previous UB40 album and is no part of the UB40 history.

“We have a legal right to use the name UB40 and intend to do so. The only deception being committed here is by them, purporting to be a band that recorded the albums and songs our loyal fans have bought over many years.

“We sing reggae, songs we recorded as UB40, plus new material. UB40 is who we are and the fans can judge for themselves.”

Seed Experiences is bringing the band to South Africa. They’ll play on Friday, April 4 at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl and on Saturday, April 5 at Emmarentia Dam in Joburg.

It is well known that the famous frontman and voice of UB40, Campbell, quit the band in 2008 with Micky Virtue. Astro (Terence Wilson), left last year. In January these three announced they had reunited to perform live and record new music under the name UB40 and in the spirit of the original music. This is the tour that is coming to South Africa and is officially billed as UB40 as per the contract with their booking agent, The Agency Group Ltd.

The other band in the UK comprises the remaining UB40 member and they still perform under that name. This band performs without the legendary voices of Campbell, Astro and Virtue.

The dispute over the band’s name between the two outfits will be left to them to settle directly and does not affect the tour going ahead. Fans can expect to hear the classics like Red Red Wine, Kingston Town and Rat in mi Kitchen.

Considering that Seed Experiences released news of the UB40 tour featuring Ali Campbell more than a month ago, it is unfortunate that another South African event promoter who had apparently (and unbeknown to Seed) wanted to bring the other UB40 out has tried to discredit the tour without first contacting Seed Experiences.

Seed say they had been transparent from the outset that this tour only features three of the band’s original members. – Sapa