Why is the band UB40, famous for the song “Red Red Wine,” linked to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh? According to a New York Times report, Brett Kavanaugh, coming from a UB40 concert, got into an altercation after mistaking a man for the lead singer of the band.
Brett Kavanaugh was a UB40 fan back in the day? That’s news to Ali Campbell, the singer of the British reggae act, who learned he’d gotten mixed up with the embattled Supreme Court nominee through a conversation with his wife.
“I first found out that my name was being dragged into the biggest news story of the year when I woke up and my wife came in and said: “What’s all this about you and Brett Kavanaugh?” he told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “I have absolutely no idea,” he told her.
“Then people started ringing up asking for a comment on this supposed ruckus in a bar between him and someone who looked like me in 1985,” he said. “My obvious comment is: ‘It wasn’t me!'” he said, adding, “I don’t know the bloke, so I don’t know whether he’s innocent or guilty but I wouldn’t support anyone assaulting women.”
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He specifically cited an incident that happened following a UB40 concert on Sept. 25, 1985. After the show, Kavanaugh, Ludington and their friends went to a nearby bar where they mistook fellow patron Dom Cozzolino for Campbell.
According to Ludington, the man grew uncomfortable being stared at and told them to stop. Next, Kavanaugh “threw his beer at the guy,” leading to a fight. Police in New Haven, Connecticut, questioned him about it.
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Campbell, who noted that his band played more than a thousand shows in the U.S. during that period, didn’t remember the concert in question but nonetheless was 100 percent certain he wasn’t on the business end of Kavanaugh’s beer toss that night.
“I do know that nobody bumped me on the head with a block of ice in a bar,” he insisted. “I would remember that, wouldn’t I?” he said. “The last thing I would do is go to the bar over the road after a show – I jump straight into a car and go back to the hotel.”
For the record, he said he wouldn’t have responded to being stared at like that: “I’ve been on TV screens for 35 years, so I’m used to people looking at me.”
Although the “Red Red Wine” singer conceded that a UB40 show is a good way to start out a night of drinking, he did express surprise that Kavanaugh came to see them.
“You don’t expect a right-wing Republican to follow a left-wing reggae socialist band from Birmingham,” he told The Guardian. “But we used to sing about really heavy stuff and wrap it up in frothy, happy tunes, so a lot of people got into us who had no idea what we were singing about. Maybe he just loves reggae … and didn’t listen to our lyrics.”
Campbell sounded resigned to living with his Kavanaugh connection.
“I guess this saga will follow me around for years now, because of social media. You know what they say, anything that happens in Las Vegas stays on Facebook, but it is rather surreal,” he admitted. “It’s a bit embarrassing that we’ve toppled Kanye West – or rather, Ye! – as the trending act on Twitter.”
Well, we’re sorry to tell you this, Mr. Campbell, but now you’re a meme, too.
On Tuesday, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” opened with a mashup of Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the video for the band’s 1983 cover of Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” – albeit with updated lyrics.
A sample: “Brett, Brett whines / All thanks to you / I think you’ve had enough / Time to go home.”
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