Stuart David talks exclusively to to explain why...

Belle & Sebastian bassist STUART DAVID has left the band to focus more on his own band Looper and to write more novels.

Stuart, one of the founding members of the group, rang today to confirm the news, despite that fact that only last month, the band’s management strenuosly denied the story when we asked them if it was true.

He told “It was a rumour officially up until about a week ago. About two weeks ago, I finally had a meeting with everyone, what, with the album being finished, to see what everyone wanted to do.”

I decided then that I was spending too much time with Looper and with my novel to be able to keep contributing enough Belle & Sebastian, or to tour again with them. It was all very amicable and we’ll stay friends.”

Stuart, who recently released his debut novel ‘Nalda Said’ continued that he would not be replaced in the band, as most of the rest of the band could play bass and would take it in turns to fill his old position.

However, Stuart said he would still join the band when they recorded their session for John Peel’s Radio One show on March 1 – but it would be the last time he played with them.

Looper will then join The Flaming Lips on their forthcoming US tour as support.

For the rest of this exclusive interview, see next week’s issue of NME.