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Bymina elwell/Updated: March 4, 2022 12:28 PM m. ITS T
ChumbawambaHe rose to international fame in 1997 with his lively jam party "hitting the tub." The song was ubiquitous in the late '90s, spending nine weeks at number 1 on Billboard.pop card. Guitarist Boff Whalley explainedthe Guardian, "For 99% of people, we only had that one song." "Tubthumping" doesn't have an immediately obvious political message. Its title can be set to "loud, violent, or moody public speaking", but its lyrics are more about the pleasure of drinking than any specific political beliefs. While the band members were quick to defend their success, it was very different from their usual work.
This was because Chumbawamba was "an anarchist collective" that made punk rock music to spread their beliefs. Like all of the group's songs, "Tubthumping" was written by the band members as a collective, as described inthe Guardian. While most people know them from that hit, their other songs are titled things like "The day the Nazi died"e"In memory of: Margaret Thatcher"(Joyful, sarcastic celebrations at the thought of the death of their enemies.) They usually played their song at strikes and pickets.
A series of unlikely events and coincidences thrust the anarchist collective into the public eye, but fame hasn't changed the band. Chumbawamba stuck to his anarcho-communist guns throughout his 3-decade career.
Chumbawamba eran anarquistas
Chumbawamba made music, but it was always an anarchist collective rather than a band. Throughout his decades-long career, obscurity or fame, his commitment to his radical principles never wavered. how you describe itaaron lago smith, the writer/publisher who launched an extensive zine series on the band's history, Chumbawamba was particularly interested in bringing the movement closer to the people. Sometimes they did it through music, but other times it was through political activism.
The liner notes for the "Tubthumping" album described his deep dislike for people who engaged intellectually with political ideas but failed to act on it, calling it a "lifestyle...sound cocoon". He condemned those who stayed in their rooms, making "statements about how other people should live" and criticizing those on his side for not being ideologically pure enough, ignoring his true enemies.
While the band was unwilling to compromise their beliefs for fame, they were willing to tweak their message to make it more accessible to the working-class people they championed. As described in the documentary, "Good job. now calm down"Early in their career, they were pacifists who spoke frequently about animal rights, but over time they re-evaluated both positions. One reason is that, after the British miners' strike, they devoted much of their time to promote solidarity with organized labor.The hardline stance against meat eating alienated the people they were trying to support.They also shifted their stance towards pacifism and supported anti-apartheid bombings.
They were punk (sort of)
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Chumbawamba was mostly about classpolicy, and as such he spent more time on picket lines than on the music scene. The band is generally considered punk and was influenced by classic punk bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols, as well as the influential anarcho-punk band.abrupt. As guitarist Boff Whaley pointed out in an interview withThe GuardianHowever, Chumbawamba has always been interested in a different kind of music. "We wanted to sing harmonies and have backing vocals to sing with."
Unfortunately, "I couldn't play any instruments..."whaley explained. "But then when punk happened, it was like, okay, you don't have to know how to play an instrument."
Over time, the band became familiar with their instruments and their sound evolved, but at first, the members of Chumbawamba had very little musical experience. As described in2000 roomsdocumentary, the band's instruments were out of tune and it seemed like they didn't really know how to tune them. They started recording albums before realizing that basic part of being in a band. An engineer, who described Chumbawamba as "a gang of anarchists", helped them record their first album, but it took a while to realize that this was what they were doing. He explained: "I didn't actually know they were trying to be musicians. I thought they were some kind of circus troupe."
they all lived together
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The gang lived together in an old dilapidated building that, according to onedocumentary filmin Chumbawamba, it was known by the neighbors as "the house of madmen". It was a red brick building with old farm equipment in the backyard. The house had strict rules, including that no meat was allowed in the building. The group already lived together before making music, but the housemates would eventually become bandmates.
Their house was an abandoned derelict building, but the group would "squat" in the house communally. Although vocalist Dunstan Bruce admitted that the place was "an absolute mess", he explained that it was "trash" when they moved in. The gang spent a lot of time and money fixing up the house and decorating it in their preferred style. The handmade sign in his practice room at home read: "No war, but class struggle."
The band didn't just share a house, they shared everything. They worked odd jobs, and whenever one of them got paid, they were put into a communal pot that was owned by everyone in the house. According to people who knew them at the time, everything, including clothing, belonged to the group, not to any individual. That sense of communal ownership extended to their music. As guitarist Boff Whalley explained inan interview, they wrote all their songs collectively.
They started Chumbawamba as a joke
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The future members of Chumbawamba were together as an anarchist collective before they even tried their hand at music, but that didn't stop them from pretending to be a band when the time came.
Long-time contributor Simon Lanzon explained in adocumentary filmabout the band that had been trying to form a musicians' cooperative. The group went to a meeting and when Lanzon asked how many people were in the band, the group raised their hands "for laughs". However, they were punk and everyone believed in them. When asked to write their band name and members, they listed themselves as members and decided they would be called "Chimp Eats Banana".
Shortly after, they received a call confirming that they had a show in two weeks. No one in the group knew how to play an instrument, so roles were assigned to each other almost at random. They borrowed instruments and played the show. "With punk, you could do that," Whaley explained. "Before, you had to practice. You had to want to be in a band."
Nobody knows what your name means.
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Although most people know Chumbawamba from their smash hit, the band is also often remembered by name. There are many different stories about the meaning of "Chumbawamba", and this did not happen by chance.
The band was officially nicknamed "Chumbawamba" in 1982. As described byjacobin magazine, they initially changed their musical style with each show (which they apparently sometimes performed on toy instruments). The band also changed their story about the origin of the band's name.
It became a running joke among the bandmates to see who could tell the most ridiculous story about the band's name. In his memoirs, Boff Whalley claimed that "Chumbawamba" was an African percussion chant they had heard on the streets of Paris. Vocalist Danbert Nobacon said that he came from a dream he had, in which he tried to use a public toilet, and instead of gender designations, the signs on the doors read "Chumba" and "Wamba". As stated in the episode "One Hit Wonderlandabout "Tubthumping", the name is almost certainly just a gibberish word with no inherent meaning.
they had a sense of humor
"On stage, I don't think we felt like we were having fun from the start," drummer Harry Hamer said in the documentary "Good job. now calm down." Unlike many of his punk contemporaries, Chumbawamba's approach to political music was sarcastic and sarcastic.
The band's transformation into a truly political punk band came with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.antisindicaland anti-labor policies. Guitarist Boff Whalley explained: "Thatcher's attack on social conditions, whether in work or the arts or whatever, was so obvious and so overt that it meant even the most ignorant people had to wake up and think: ' Ah, it's me. I'm being attacked."
The band continued to be overtly political, but also infused their work with a sardonic sense of humor. One track, titled "scab helpit uses the tune of the Beatles' "Let It Be" and mocks the very concept of charity singles, with the lyric: "Nothing sells like disaster / let it be." "In Memorium: Margaret Thatcher", to be played on the Prime Minister's death. Waiting so long / let me serenade you with one last song / you're back where you belong" and West's Wicked Witch theme from "The Wizard of Oz".
They fooled the skinheads
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Chumbawamba was an explicitly anti-fascist band. They typically made their feelings about fascism and racism explicit, with tracks like "The day the Nazi died" which calls for the eradication and elimination of Nazi ideology that survived to the end of World War II. On one occasion, however, they kept their ideology a secret, so they could infiltrate the growing movement of skinhead punks known as "Oi!"
Hey! was a punk music movement that emerged in the late 1970s in Great Britain. It was formed in opposition to bands with "pretentious lyrics" that attracted the music press, and as notedthe Guardian, received the unflattering nickname "punk's stunted idiot half-brother". Their band names were often crudely humorous, concerts were marked by brutal fights, and an increasing number of fans were right-wing extremists. The genre was particularly attractive to neo-Nazi skinheads. Music journalist Garry Bushell, who defended Oi!, explained that there was a "Nazi subculture right up to punk. Malcolm McLaren [the Sex Pistols' manager] started it all with swastikas, which thick people would see and think, 'Oh, they must to have been of the Nazis".
Adocumentary about the banddetails how Chumbawamba once invented a fake band called Skin Disease and recorded an Oi! song, which tricked the press into believing it was legitimate. how you describe itBoff Whalley, the single was called "I'm Thick" and consisted of them shouting the title more than 60 times.
Chumbawamba was signed by EMI
The big change in Chumbawamba's career came when they signed with British record giant EMI. Many fans felt that Chumbawamba had sold out on him. The band had a long history of hating EMI. As Aaron Lake Smith details in his retrospective on the band published injacobin magazine, after it became known that EMI was involved in arms manufacturing in apartheid South Africa, they were featured on a 1989 album called "F-CK EMI". Once, they even stained the outside of the EMI building with blood. As much as they obviously hated EMI, they were in trouble with their own independent label, who had just told them they wouldn't release the "Tubthumper" album unless they re-recorded it to be more traditional punk. So EMI offered Chumbawamba what would amount to nearly $250,000 to sign.
There was a deep debate within the band. They knew it would upset their fans and make it seem like they cared more about money than their beliefs. In the end, Chumbawamba decided that he could reach more people with the exhibition that came with a major label.
The decision turned the underground band that had been around for more than 10 years into international pop stars with "Tubthumping." However, instead of going corporate, the band became more outspoken and militant in the face of their success.
Chumbawamba encouraged fans to steal his CDs
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Chumbawamba may have been paid thousands of pounds to sign with EMI, but the band showed they didn't care about money when they encouraged people who wanted the "Tubthumper" album to steal it.
The gang had a history of shoplifting before they were stars. Drummer Harry Hamer explained that the band used to have "shoplifting competitions" to see who could steal the largest and most implausible items. Alice Nutter (who was the lead singer of Chumbawamba for 20 years and is nowsuccessful television writer) laid ona documentarythat she wasn't a particularly good pickpocket, although she always wanted to be. She may not have won the band contests, but it was Nutter who got the media worried about the band. During an interview, she hinted that fans could steal her album if they wanted, albeit only from major chain stores.
"He is expected to be convicted [shoplifting]," Nutterrecalled in 2000, "You are expected to say that all stealing is wrong and not all stealing is wrong."
The band supported causes
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Chumbawamba may have caught on with their hit "Tubthumping," but they haven't watered down their message to their new fans. as he pointed outphoenix new times, the band members spoke openly about their beliefs in television interviews. They filled the amphitheaters and played their old anarchist songs. They used their new international platform to promote their favorite causes. The band had a long history of supporting important causes. In addition to their pro-union stance, they also represented benefits for animal rights andgay rights. They even wrote an upbeat pop song with heartbreaking lyrics titled "Homophobia" about the hate crime that killed a young gay man.
"When [Tubthumping] went global... we made a decision about what we were going to do, have that platform," said vocalist Dunstan Bruce.democracy now, "We have to do something about this... How often does someone get that kind of global audience?" On talk shows, they would sometimes change the lyrics of their hits to supportMummy of Abu Jamal, journalist and former leader ofblack panther partythat he had been charged with murder and placed on death row. When GM offered the band $100,000 to use one of their songs in an ad, they accepted, but only so they could donate the money to a variety ofanti-corporate charities.
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Once they threw water at a politician
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In 1998, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott attended the Brit Awards. Chumbawamba was performing at the music awards show. During the event, the band's lead singer, Danbert Nobacon, dumped a bucket of cold water on Prescott. The band would later defend their actions, saying: "If John Prescott, as a representative of the government, has the nerve to turn up at events like the Brit Awards in a vain attempt to make Labor look cool and hip, he deserves it." all". Shoot him".
As described in a report fromthe Guardian, both Nobacon and Alice Nutter were removed from the awards for security and turned over to the police. This probably didn't bother the band. In 2000, Nutter saida documentaryinterviewer that in some demonstrations it seemed that "you failed if you didn't get arrested. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't right to get caught." Prescott did not formally complain about spilling water on him, but he did issue an accidentally amusing statement saying it was "absolutely despicable that his wife and other women have been subjected to such appalling behavior."
As described inRosaNoticias, they were no less shocked when Nigel Farage used "Tubthumping" in 2011. Several former members expressed outrage at the song's misappropriation, including Nutter, who referred to Farage as "a jerk from a party made up mostly of fans." .
Chumbawamba was for 30 years
"If there were a Chumbawamba manifesto, it would read in the inconsistent and contradictory language of the Dadaists: part strident belligerence, part nonsense," the band said in a statement.its website, "The ending is no different; it's almost as surprising to us as it is to you."
Although the band is sometimes considered a "a stroke of wonder”, his career spanned 30 years. Over their several decades, they lived, wrote, recorded, and performed together around the world, as equals in all parts of their collective.
The group announced their decision to disband the group in 2012, saying that they had reached the point where they did not feel they could commit to the amount of "time and enthusiasm" a band like Chumbawamba required. they still reunited for another album, but in May 2021, Dunstan Bruce announced that he had been working on a documentary about the band for the past five years.