THE VERVE announced today that guitarist NICK McCABE will not perform any dates with them for the rest of this year...

THE VERVE announced in London today (July 7) – on the brink of their long-awaited American dates – that guitarist NICK McCABE (pictured)[/I] will not perform any dates with them for the rest of this year.

It is not confirmed at this stage if McCabe’s departure from the live line-up will result in his permanent exit from the band.

Original Verve member McCabe has cited “the increasing stress of touring” as his reason for not appearing with the band at any future dates in 1998. The rest of The Verve – Richard Ashcroft, Simon Jones, Pete Salisbury and Simon Tong – will fulfil the band’s live commitments as a four-piece.

The Verve’s spokesperson denies McCabe declaring himself unavailable will endanger the band’s upcoming American tour, or their headlining slots at the UK’s V98 concerts in Chelmsford and Leeds in August.

McCabe’s departure comes hot on the heels of bassist Simon Jones’ illness which led to the band abandoning its European summer tour after just five shows. Jones’ collapse in Germany and subsequent return to England for treatment, forced the band to cancel the remaining German shows along with appearances at a host of European rock festivals, including most recently Denmark’s Roskilde (June 27) and Belgium’s Torhout (July 4) and Werchter (5) events. The last date on the schedule, an appearance at Spain’s Dr Music Festival on July 10, has been cancelled.

In 1995, during the shows promoting their ‘A Northern Soul’ album, singer Richard Ashcroft announced that he had had enough of touring and was leaving, causing a two-year long hiatus in The Verve’s career. During this period various Verve members were in contact and ex-Suede man Bernard Butler was approached, even joining The Verve for one week. However, it wasn’t until McCabe agreed to participate in the reformation of The Verve that they were set on their way to worldwide success with hit single ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ and album ‘Urban Hymns’.

The band’s press agents confirm that the following gigs will be the only appearances of the Verve as a four-piece for the rest of this year: Chicago Aragon Ballroom (July 28), Detroit Auburn Hills Palace (29), Toronto Hamilton Copps Coliseum (31), Montreal Molson Centre (August 1), Boston Lowell Tsongas Arena (3), New York Hammerstein Ballroom (5, 6), Houston Aerial Theatre (9), Colorado Red Rocks (11), Los Angeles Anaheim Arrowhead Pond (14), San Francisco Bill Graham Civic (15), Seattle Mercer Arena (17), V98 Chelmsford Hylands Park (22), V98 Leeds Temple Newsam (23), Slane Castle Festival Ireland (29).

Updates on this Verve story will be posted on News.