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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 17:27 GMT
Punk band Sham 69 in bitter split
Sham 69 singer Jimmy Pursey
Singer Jimmy Pursey formed the band in 1975
Punk band Sham 69 have split up after a bitter fall-out between singer Jimmy Pursey and guitarist Dave Parsons.

Pursey said Parsons had left the group, while Parsons said he and drummer Ian Whitewood had sacked the singer.

Both are now laying claim to the Sham 69 name. Pursey said: "He [Parsons] has walked out of the band. I am Sham 69."

But Parsons and Whitewood said: "Sham 69 have left Jimmy Pursey." Sham 69 recorded 1970s punk hits including If the Kids are United and Hurry Up Harry.

Pursey compared his former bandmates' behaviour to "mutiny on the bounty".

Asked how the split came about, he replied: "I don't know, you'll have to ask him [Parsons]. I can't know what's going through his mind when wanting to leave the band."

Sham 69
Sham 69 enjoyed five top 20 singles in the late 1970s
Parsons and Whitewood said they sacked Pursey because he showed little interest in playing live.

Pursey denied that, saying he only turned down revival gigs that were booked for the sake of money.

"I can turn down a nostalgia gig, which is like a Doctor Who convention, where it's just bringing a load of old punk rockers together to celebrate nostalgia," he told the BBC News website.

"I don't want to do that and I've never wanted to do that. I play for today."

The split had "been on the cards for a while", according to Mike Harris, spokesman for the other band members.

'Held back'

"The reasons behind it are that Jimmy seems to show no great desire to play live and is constantly pulling out of gigs at the last moment," he said.

"It was him personally that was causing a lot of the problems within the band and between the band and promoters and media.

"The rest of the band want to get out there and kick ass on stage. At the moment, they're just being held back all the time."

Parsons and Whitewood have found a new bassist and will start auditioning singers shortly with the intention of carrying on as Sham 69.

Pursey formed the band in 1975 and Parsons joined two years later, with the pair going on to write the band's biggest hits together.

The group first split in 1980 but Pursey and Parsons reformed Sham 69 seven years later.

They returned to the UK top 10 last June with their World Cup anthem Hurry Up England, an updated version of Hurry Up Harry.

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