Chumbawamba, the british punk-pop band who drank whisky, vodka, lager, and cider drinks, the band who has been the poster boy for thousands of retroactive 90's nostalgia binges, is officially calling it quits. The text below is an excerpt from a much longer, fittingly sincere annoucement from their website.
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.
While widely considered among the one-hittiest of all one hit wonders, the band has been in existence for over 30 years and has more than left their mark on the music industry. In a world where musicians face overwhelming pressure to conform to the mandates of the fame cycle (also known as "selling out", also known as $$$ over everything, also known as Avicii partnering with Ralph Lauren), Chumbawamba managed to preserve their artistic integrity, and in turn, their credibility as leaders in social movements ranging form class inequality to animal rights. In fact in 1998, the band turned down a $1.5 million contract offer with Nike, who wanted to use "Tubthumping" in a World Cup ad. At the time, Nike was under considerable fire for their labor practices overseas.
Of course, this tribute comes a little late, at a time where Chumbawamba's brighest days are well past the rearview mirror. Chumbawamba reached no. 6 on the US Billboard charts 15 years ago. Yet for a band uniquely committed to their craft, the opening line of their most legendary song--an excerpted a Pete Postlethwaite monologue in a 1996 film "Brassed"--will preserve their cred for decades to come.
That line "I thought it mattered; I thought the music mattered. BOLLOCKS! Not compared to how people matter," sums up the band perfectly. These guys stuck around because they stood for sh*t. Not that everyone should turn into non-confirmist bullsh*tters who need everything to be about "the music, man," but there's something to be said about sticking to your guns. These guys had a vision of what they wanted to become and how they wanted to influence people, and they stuck with it for a remarkably long time.
We do hope that somewhere along the way we’ve been able to pass on some of that musical finger-pointing to others. However much we wanted to mess up our career options with all those bouts of chopping and changing, we relished a role as a band that could use music to pass on information. Songs as history lessons or cultural debates. If others have been inspired to switch off the telly and do something useful because of all this, then that will be our measure of success (more of a measure, in any case, than record sales).
Thirty years of being snotty, eclectic, funny, contrary and just plain weird. What a privilege, and what a good time we’ve had.
Point is, these guys were dope.