Breaking Up the Band: Ali Campbell Leaves UB40 after 28 Years (and UB40’s Latest Response on January 28, 2008 is Below)
This is a messsage directly from Ali Campbell’s website where he explains his reasons for leaving UB40
January 27, 2008 – As one of the founder members of UB40, I have put the band first in my life for the last 28 years and am deeply saddened at the ending of that relationship. No words can express how upset I feel today that I have been forced to make this decision.
I am perhaps most upset on behalf of the fans, who have stuck with us, through thick and thin, throughout the years and are the best fans in the world. However, I feel that it is important for me to put the record straight on my reasons for leaving the band.
Contrary to some of the misleading, false information and accusations that have been circulating in recent months, the reason for my forthcoming departure from the band is NOT, as has been stated, due to my wanting to pursue a solo career. That is not the truth!! I released my first solo album 13 years ago and when I released my current solo album I had every intention to continuing to balance my solo career with my commitment to the band.
The reason for me leaving the band is that management difficulties, which have been ongoing for almost 5 years, had become intolerable.
I have been deeply unhappy with the administrative practices and with many decisions that have been made in recent years regarding the band and I have an ongoing investigation into the handling of my business affairs in relation UB40. Suffice to say I felt I had no other option but to resign from my band.
This decision has not been taken lightly and has come as a result of a long, painful and agonizing thought process.
I know UB40 will carry on successfully without me and I wish them all the very best – they have been my family for the last 28 years and will always be my brothers.
This is UB40’s Press Statement Regarding Ali’s Decision as posted on MySpace 1/28/08
It is not normal practice for UB40 to discuss their affairs in public or through the media, but following numerous media reports and interviews given by former lead singer ALI CAMPBELL last Friday (25th January) and over this weekend (26th &27th January), UB40 would like to clarify incorrect and misleading statements circulating in the media and to their fans.
Ali Campbell claims that he was forced to resign from UB40 due to issues with the band’s management and was shocked at the official statement issued by UB40. He further claims that the real reasons he left the band were due to “bad administrative practices and that for the last five years he had been kept in the dark over the bands finances.” He continues to rely on these allegations as the basis for him being forced to leave the band
UB40 would like to confirm for the avoidance of doubt that Ali Campbell resigned from the band after a meeting with the other seven band members on Thursday evening (24th January) at their studio in Birmingham. The seven band members, including Robin Campbell, asked Ali to clarify if he was going to remain as their lead singer. Ali responded by saying that he was leaving the band after completing UB40 tour dates in February 2008. Ali was not at any time, forced to resign, by any of the other band members or management acting on behalf of the band.
Further the band would like to clarify that they do not have artist management and that all decisions relating to UB40 as a band, both past and present in their 30 year career, have always been by a democratic process of all eight members since the band formed. A decision process which Ali Campbell has actively participated in and been a fully paid up member.
The bands official spokesman said; “Ali made a very simple decision, he chose to pursue and put his solo career over and above continuing to work with UB40 after February 2008, it’s as simple as that. He even engaged a solicitor to inform the band of his wishes, several weeks prior to their meeting, which given their 30 year career together speaks volumes.
As with each and every other band member, including his brother Robin, Ali has been made aware of all decisions relating to the band that they as a group have made between themselves; creatively, musically and financially at all times throughout their illustrious career. It’s disappointing that Ali seems to have forgotten that he has at all times been involved in this process. Its also somewhat puzzling and ironic that the other seven band members, don’t have any issues over any decisions that the band have made together and that it has taken Ali over five years to only now voice his concerns over such important matters and claims. UB40 have and always will make their own decisions about their career as a band and confirm final decisions are not made by artist management, individuals or record company’s.”
The spokesman added; “The press statement issued on Thursday 24th January was issued with the full approval of all seven band members. UB40 felt obliged to their fans to issue the statement on Thursday to clarify any rumours and to avoid misleading the public prior to any further announcements over their forthcoming tour dates.”
Ali Campbell claims that his reasons for quitting the band were down to issues with management and that the band had failed to support him with his album “RUNNING FREE.”
The band fully supported Ali in his solo project, Robin Campbell sang on Ali’s album and appeared in a video and Brian Travers was responsible for writing the lyrics to all the original tracks on Ali’s album. UB40 had several meetings in 2007 in which Ali was present and in which the other seven members agreed, by their normal democratic process, to postpone the release of the UB40 studio album 24/7 to allow Ali plenty of time to release and promote his album RUNNING FREE and so that both albums would not clash.
At all times the band have unselfishly fully supported this decision and allowed Ali to promote his album throughout last year and again in media interviews on the bands last UK tour in December. UB40 had a SOLD OUT British Tour in December 2007, in which their new album 24/7 was originally scheduled to be released and promoted at these shows, Ali was allowed to promote his album and utilise this opportunity to a captive audience.
The band have continued to support the promotion of Ali’s album on their world tour dates as well. UB40 merely asked Ali for his full commitment and support in return through 2008 to help promote the 24/7 album with media promotion and live performances. Ali was unable to commit to do this after February 2008 due to a series of UK tour dates to promote his solo career and album. These dates and further record releases and promotion with Ali’s album made it impossible for him to join the band on their tour dates throughout 2008 and most vitally to help promote the bands 24/7 album. Although both Ali and his new management, had previously guaranteed that Ali would not be touring to promote his solo album with the exception of a one off show at the Royal Albert Hall, which the band had agreed to take a month off touring to accommodate.
The spokesman added; “The band feel very disappointed that having given Ali their full support throughout 2007 with his solo album that he was unable to commit to the promotion of the new studio album and the bands tour dates, this was a complete contradiction to previous statements and interviews given to press, radio, TV and even on his website. UB40 did not want to further delay the release of the new album 24/7, which would have been unfair both to the band and their fans.
In other statements Ali Campbell claims that he has written all of UB40’s songs.
UB40 would like to clarify that this is not the case and that all songs written and credited to the band “UB40″ are done so as eight equal members regardless. Band members Brian Travers, James Brown and Robin Campbell have written most of the lyrics to many of UB40’s original compositions and songs. Norman Hassan, Astro and Earl Falconer have also written their own lyrics/melodies to the songs which they perform. Ali Campbell has written the melodies to the UB40’s songs in which he performs.
Media reports suggest that Robin Campbell had fallen out with Ali Campbell his brother.
Contrary to media reports Robin Campbell has not fallen out with his brother Ali over him leaving the band. However Robin Campbell fully supports and endorses all of the decisions made as a band member of UB40.”
Band member James Brown commented: “We were all deeply shocked and naturally disappointed at receiving a letter from Ali’s solicitors several weeks prior to his departure from the band which stated that he wouldn’t be fulfilling his commitment to UB40, the new album and the tours for 2008. You would think after thirty years of working together as a family unit that you could at least have talked through these issues with your family members. We would want nothing more than for Ali to join us on stage through this year and to help promote the new album and honour his commitment to our fans. We as a band will honour all tour dates this year and the commitment to our fans and each other, these are the same dates which were agreed by all band members, including Ali.