By King City Online ©
Sadness turned to joy for UB40 and their legions of fans within the space of a week as the band lost one front man and found another.
First, Duncan Campbell announced his retirement in order to focus on his recovery from the seizure he suffered last month. He had taken over lead vocals from his brother Ali when the Rat In Mi Kitchen singer left to front a UB40 tribute act with some session musicians, but had not been in the best of health since suffering a stroke last year. Then KIOKO’s Matt Doyle was announced as Duncan’s replacement after passing his audition with flying colours by starring on ‘You Don’t Call Anymore’, the stand-out track on the reggae legends’ brilliantly effervescent new album Bigga Baggariddim. A reworking of the single from the band’s 2019 opus For The Many, the original is a languid lament to lovelorn loneliness, while the new version boasts a harder, more contemporary edge and a video as cool as the underside of a pillow in summer, in which Matt drives around Digbeth in a vintage Ford Granada singing of how an indifferent lover has injured his pride - “like a credit card that’s been declined”. It’s a worthy addition to the UB canon with the potential to appeal to a new young audience.
The story of Matt’s rise to stardom is the stuff of local legend. While KIOKO were playing a cover of UB40 hit One In Ten at the annual Birmingham Music Awards in 2018, the original hitmakers were in the crowd and impressed enough to crash the stage and join in. It was the start of a beautiful friendship and ended up as history in the making. KIOKO were invited to open for the Brummie behemoths’ 40th anniversary concert at The Royal Albert Hall in May 2018, before supporting them on their subsequent UK and European tours.
Guitarist and vocalist Robin Campbell said: “Matt has already demonstrated his ability and compatibility with the band on our latest album Bigga Baggariddim. He’s a talented young man with a voice and singing style that will prove to be a good fit and a great asset to the band. And on top of all that he’s a nice guy, too.”
Matt said of his appointment: “I don't quite know how to put into words just how incredibly honoured and grateful I feel to be given this opportunity".
“I have loved UB40's music for as long as I can remember and that love has only grown since getting to know them and watching them play live night after night on tour. They took KIOKO under their wing and gave us the opportunity of a lifetime by inviting us out on tour, and although I'll deeply miss playing shows with KIOKO I know that they will carry on to do incredible things and that we will always remain the best of mates.
“I wish the absolute best for Duncan and I hope that he makes a full and speedy recovery, I've seen how much love he puts into his performance and he has written some incredible songs that I can't wait to sing, as well as all the hits that have been such a big influence on my own music".
“UB40 have loyal and wonderful fans and I have loved getting to know so many of them already. My promise to them and to the fans all around the world is that I will always give it my all singing the songs they know and love and, alongside this legendary band, bring them a performance they'll never forget.”
Doyle will play with UB40 at all of their dates this summer, starting on July 31st at Lingfield Park Racecourse, before embarking on the band’s twenty-four-date UK tour in November and December.