LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Astro, the original frontman and trumpeter for the iconic British reggae-pop band UB40 has announced that he's leaving the band due to creative differences.
Astro, AKA, Terence Wilson, was a founding member of the group and has been with the group since their inception in 1978. UB40 has been prolific over the years, producing more the 50 singles that charted in the UK including "Red Red Wine" and "Can't Help Falling in Love," both of which hit #1 in the US, as well as selling over 70 million records over the course of their career.
Two other founding members of the band, Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue, both exited the band in 2008. Following his departure, Campbell released a letter through his lawyer in which he took expressed his discontent with the band's business management and opened an investigation into the band's finances. Virtue followed suit, joining Campbell's investigation. In 2011, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against the five founding members of the band over debts related to their DEP International record label, which went into administration in 2006.
Just this month, UB40 announced plans for a tour of the UK in Spring, 2014, in support of their most recent album "Getting over the storm" which features covers of country hits. What effect Astro's departure will have on the tour remains unclear.
In a statement about the reasons for his exit, Astro wrote:
"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 Mickey 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 may be 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." – Staff Writers