Sun | May 28, 2017

Battle of the UB40s continue

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2015 | 9:00 AMShereita Grizzle
File Ali Campbell (right) and members of UB40 at bMobile Reggae Sunsplash at Richmond Park, St Ann in 2006.

The legal battle between members of the international reggae band, UB40 for the right to use the name continues. The saga which started in early 2014 is still before the courts, as a settlement is yet to be reached.

Former lead singer, Ali Campbell and his bandmates Terrence 'Astro' Wilson and Micky Virtue, have been using the name UB40 since February 2014, but founding member of the original group, Brian Travers is not happy as himself, Robin Campbell and Duncan Campbell, who are also original members of the band, are still using the name. Jimmy Brown (drums), Earl Falconer (bass), Norman Hassan (percussion/trombone) complete the original line-up, now complemented by keyboard players Tony Mullings and Martin Meredith, and Laurence Parry (trumpet).

In an interview with the UK's Itv, founding member of the original UB40 band, Brian Travers, revealed that there has not been a resolution in the matter at hand and that the battle for the right to use the group's name has cost his version of the band more than £250,000 in legal fees. "The day Ali left to have a solo career, he was not a happy man, it was like telling your old man you were leaving," he said. "But then he began to use our name. Ali was the singer, but he wasn't the ideas man. The case is dragging on and every time I think something is about to happen, the other side presents more information which a judge then has to read."

Despite the issue having dragged on for over a year, Travers remains confident that his version of the band will win the battle. He also said that by carrying on with performances and tours, the group has managed to come out of bankruptcy. "We're not bankrupt now, but we struggled to pay those debts because there's a lot of us, we have managers, crew, trucks and so on," he revealed. "Now, we just need to resolve this case over the name. I'm a believer in justice for all, but you have to pay for it."

The issue gained media attention last year after members of the original band lashed out against the band's newer version, for using the name. They claim the rival trio have no right to the title - and they say having another band using the name is hitting their business financially. Writs were served on Campbell and pianist Mickey Virtue, who both left the band in 2008, and vocalist Terence 'Astro' Wilson, who quit in November 2013.