It’s been a long 30 years, but agit-pop outfit Chumbawumba have finally called it a day

Odd as it might seem to those people who only know the band for their lairy 1997 mega-hit ‘Tubthumping’, Chumbawumba have spent the best part of three decades producing spirited, politically inclined music in a variety of styles. Or, as the band put it: “Thirty years of being snotty, eclectic, funny, contrary and just plain weird. What a privilege, and what a good time we’ve had.”

Formed in the early 1980s, the band made their first appearance on wax on Crass Records, and churned out a series of leftist punk cassettes. Setting up their own Agit-Prop Records imprint, the band worked with The Ex, and continued to release music that challenged everyone from Bob Geldof to Margaret Thatcher. Ever the musical chameleons, they assimilated elements of acid house into their sound around the turn of the Nineties, over which period they enjoyed a relationship with One Little Indian. The band leapt onto EMI’s roster in 1997, released ‘Tubthumping’, memorably doused John Prescott in icy water at the BRIT Awards, and promptly vanished from public view. The band have released ten full-lengths in the 15 years since, and toured assiduously.

In a sizeable blog post, the band bade their disciples farewell. In the following excerpt, the band describe why they’ve decided to pull the plug on the band:

“We felt we’d got to a point where what we did as a band – and specifically the writing, recording, touring cycle – wasn’t doing justice to what Chumbawamba set out to do in the first place. We were always as much about ideas as music, and that meant doing more than writing, recording and touring songs. It meant trying to be relevant and active and up-to-date, while trying to avoid the dreaded rut of routine or repetition. being up-to-date meant giving plenty of time and energy to the band, constantly, for those thirty years; a constancy we plainly couldn’t keep up with in the end.

“Chumbawamba was our vehicle for pointing at the naked Emperors, for telling our version of the truth; it gave us more than the joy and love of playing live, writing songs and singing together – it gave us a chance to be part of a broad coalition of activists and hectors, optimists and questioners. But eventually the rest of our lives got in the way and we couldn’t commit the time and enthusiasm that the band demanded. Couldn’t keep up with whatever responsibilities came with a band like this.

“If there were ever a Chumbawamba manifesto, it would read in the inconsistent, contradictory language of the Dadaists – part strident belligerence and part foolishness. This ending is no different; it comes almost as much of a surprise to us as it may do to you. Always more clown than politician, the band trips over its outsize feet and performs its final tumble.”



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