After wrapping up their first U.S. tour in eight years, the legendary UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue have announced plans to embark on a six-week summer tour.
“We came back to America a couple of months ago to promote the ‘Silhouette’ album, and we’re basically doing the same size tour again but with double the capacities of the audiences, so we’re looking forward to getting back into America because we’ve been away for so long,” says lead singer Ali Campbell. “Obviously there’s two UB40’s – there’s the dark side as I call them and they’ve been [in America] the past couple of years — but this is the first time for me in eight years.”
Since forming in 1979, UB40 reached legendary status with multiple Grammy nominations, millions of records sold, and smash hits such as “Food For Thought” and their cover of “Red Red Wine” topping charts worldwide. However, the band has been through its share of controversy in recent years, as lead singer Ali Campbell departed the group in 2008 along with founding members Astro and Mickey Virtue, leaving two groups touring under the name UB40 –- one led by Ali and the other by his brother, Duncan. Despite the mess, both groups have gone on to release new music, but Ali is quick to point out that there is only one true UB40.
Along with an eleven-piece touring ensemble, The Wailers and Jo Mersa Marley will accompany the band on select dates, making this one of the few tours that will feature three generations of reggae stars. When asked how he felt about performing alongside his tour mates, Campbell said:
“I feel honored, actually. We have Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, who with Bunny are the only original Wailers left. I’ve toured with Family Man a few times and he’s a delightful character and one of the greatest bass players in the world in my opinion. It’s an honor to be working with somebody like him, and to have Bob Marley’s grandson touring with us, I think that’s fabulous as well. I saw Bob Marley and The Wailers in 1975 or ‘76 when I was a kid and it changed my life. So I’m honored to be with Family Man and it’s a delight to see the younger Marley’s kids coming through.”
The tour is set to kick off on July 21st in Seattle, WA and travel across the country, including an extensive trek through California before ending in Detroit, MI on September 2nd. They will perform 25 total dates, hitting 14 different states including 2 stops through Canada.
Although Ali, Astro and Mickey have spent a majority of the past few years touring, Ali hinted that the band has plans to record their first album since 2014’s Silhouette.
“I’m actually trying to get a bunch of musicians together to do an album. People like SOJA and Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid, and all those sort of dudes. I’m in talks at the moment about putting some of those artists on some dub music that Astro and I mixed.”
With what’s sure to be a successful tour and new music on the way, UB40 is poised to have a huge 2016. If you’d like to catch the legendary reggae group on tour, make sure to get your tickets for UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey through the group’s website today.
“We’re glad to be starting again,” says Campbell of the opportunity to tour the U.S. “We’re saving the legacy of UB40.”
Watch: UB40 – “Silhouette”
Watch: UB40 – “Red Red Wine”