June 24, 2021

UB40’s Jimmy Brown claims MI5 bugged the band’s phones

By Bang Showbiz in Music / Festivals on 07 May 2021

UB40‘s drummer Jimmy Brown has claimed MI5 bugged their phones and traced their every move.

The 63-year-old sticksman – who is known to be outspoken about social and political matters – has recalled a period in the 1980s when the security service were keeping a close eye on them and even hacked into their phones in case they were plotting a revolution.

Jimmy told The Guardian newspaper: “MI5 were tapping our phones, watching our houses. All sorts.

“We thought, ‘Haven’t they got criminals to catch?’ We were just a bunch of potheads, smoking weed and playing music, talking about solving the world’s problems.

“We weren’t planning the revolution, but if the revolution happened, we knew what side we were going to be on.”

In 1997, former MI5 officer and whistle-blower, David Shayler – who was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989 for passing secret documents to The Mail on Sunday in August that alleged that MI5 was paranoid about socialists – had claimed that the intelligence squad had been spying on the Birmingham reggae legends for “years and years”.

Frontman Ali Campbell had previously revealed the ‘Red Red Wine’ hitmakers had contemplated taking legal action against MI5 to have access to the phone tapings.

However, he quipped that they ultimately decided suing the service wasn’t worth the risk of having “poisoned umbrellas sticking out of our a*******”.

Meanwhile, the 62-year-old singer insisted the band were a voice for a generation who suffered during late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s time at 10 Downing Street.

He said: “We were eight people who had been unemployed since school, trying to wade through Thatcher’s quagmire of s*** and then sing about it. We were politicised, were disenfranchised, and we had a lot to say.”

UB40 formed in 1978 and the members went from being unemployed to selling 70 million records.

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