The Info List - Chumbawamba

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CHUMBAWAMBA /ˌtʃʌmbəˈwɒmbə/ were a British band that formed in 1982 and had major success until their final performances in 2012. The band constantly shifted in musical style, drawing on genres such as punk rock , pop , folk , and experimental . The band's anarchist or libertarian socialist political stance exhibited an irreverent attitude toward authority, and the band have been forthright in their stances on issues including animal rights , pacifism (early in their career) and later regarding class struggle , feminism , gay liberation , pop culture and anti-fascism .

The band are best known for their song " Tubthumping ", which was nominated for Best British Single at the 1998 Brit Awards . Other singles include "Amnesia ", "Enough Is Enough " (with MC Fusion ), "Timebomb ", " Top of the World (Ole, Ole, Ole) ", and " Add Me ".

In July 2012, Chumbawamba
announced their decision to end the band. On its website the members stated "That’s it then, it’s the end. With neither a whimper, a bang, or a reunion." The band performed three last shows between 31 October and 3 November.


* 1 Band history

* 1.1 Early years * 1.2 Sky and Trees and Agit-Prop Records * 1.3 One Little Indian Records

* 1.4 EMI

* 1.4.1 Band politics and mainstream success

* 1.5 Mutt Records * 1.6 No Masters Records * 1.7 Break-up * 1.8 Documentary * 1.9 Theatre

* 2 Personnel * 3 Discography * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links



formed in Burnley in 1982 with an initial line-up of Allan "Boff" Whalley , Danbert Nobacon (born Nigel Hunter), Midge and Tomi, all four previously members of the band Chimp Eats Banana, shortly afterwards joined by Lou Watts . The band made their live debut in January 1982. Their first vinyl release was a track ("Three Years Later") on the Crass Records compilation album Bullshit Detector 2. They were initially inspired musically by bands as diverse as the Fall , PiL
, Wire , and Adam and the Ants and politically by the anarchist stance of Crass . Another of the band's early releases was under the name "Skin Disease", parodying the Oi! bands of the time so successfully that they were included on 'Back On The Streets', an Oi! compilation EP put together by Sounds magazine journalist Garry Bushell . By the end of 1982, the band had expanded to include Alice Nutter (of Ouch, My Hair's on Fire) and Dunstan Bruce (of Men in a Suitcase) and were living in a squat in Armley , Leeds
, with Harry "Daz" Hamer and Dave "Mavis" Dillon joining soon after. Stalwarts of the cassette culture scene, the band released a number of tapes including Be Happy Despite It All and Raising Heck With Chumbawamba, and were featured on many compilations. Chumbawamba
were at the forefront of the 1980s anarcho-punk movement, frequently playing benefit gigs in squats and small halls for causes such as animal rights , the anti-war movement, and community groups. The band's collective political views are often described as anarchist . They made several songs about the UK miners\' strike , including the Common Ground cassette and a song dedicated to the pit village of Fitzwilliam , which was one of the worst cases of economic decline following the strike.


By the mid-1980s Chumbawamba
had begun to release material using the vinyl format on their own Agit-Prop record label, which had evolved from an earlier project, Sky and Trees Records . The first release was the Revolution EP in 1985, which quickly sold out of its initial run, and was re-pressed, reaching No. 4 in the UK Indie Chart , and staying in the chart for 34 weeks. The first LP, Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records (1986) was a critique of the Live Aid
Live Aid
concert organised by Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
, which the band argued was primarily a cosmetic spectacle designed to draw attention away from the real political causes of world hunger .

The band toured Europe with Dutch band the Ex , and a collaboration between members of the two bands, under the name "Antidote", led to the release of an EP, Destroy Fascism!, inspired by hardcore punk band Heresy , with whom they had also toured. Both the Ex and Chumbawamba were released on cassette tape in Poland during this period, when music censorship was entrenched in Iron Curtain nations. The "RED" label, based in Wrocław
in south-west Poland during the late 1980s, only released cassette tapes and, despite the limits enforced by Polish authorities, was able to release Chumbawamba's music, in addition to bands from the USSR, East Germany and Czechoslovakia.

Chumbawamba's second album, Never Mind the Ballots...Here\'s the Rest of Your Lives , was released in 1987, coinciding with the general election, and questions the validity of the British democratic system of the time. The band adopted another moniker, Scab Aid, for the "Let It Be " song release that parodied a version of the Beatles
song recorded by the popstar supergroup Ferry Aid to raise money for victims of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster .

The 1988 album English Rebel Songs 1381-1984 , originally released as English Rebel Songs 1381–1914, was a recording of traditional songs.


By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Chumbawamba
had begun to absorb influences from techno music and rave culture . The band members quit their day jobs to begin concentrating on music full-time as they could now guarantee sales of 10,000 and they moved away from their original anarcho-punk roots, evolving a pop sensibility with releases such as Slap! (1990) and the sample -heavy Shhh (1992) (originally intended to be released as Jesus H Christ!, this album had to be withdrawn and re-recorded because of copyright problems). They also toured the United States for the first time in 1990.

When Jason Donovan took The Face magazine to court that same year for claiming he was lying by denying he was gay , Chumbawamba
responded by printing up hundreds of ' Jason Donovan – Queer As Fuck' T-shirts and giving them away free with the single "Behave ".

After signing to the independent One Little Indian record label, Anarchy (1994) lyrically remained as politically uncompromising as ever, continuing to address issues such as homophobia (see song " Homophobia
", the music video of which features the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence ), the Criminal Justice Act and the rise of fascism in the UK following the election of Derek Beackon , a British National Party councillor in south-east London in 1993. The album was the band's biggest success to date reaching the top 30 in the UK and the singles "Timebomb" and "Enough Is Enough" both entering the low end of the UK Singles Chart . The latter featured Credit to the Nation 's rapper MC Fusion. The live shows to support the album were recorded and went to make up their first live album Showbusiness! , released in 1995. One Little Indian also decided to re-release Chumbawamba's back catalogue, which meant that the first three albums were released on CD format for the first time. The first two, Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records (1985) and Never Mind the Ballots (1987) were repackaged as one disc under the title First 2.

parted with One Little Indian during the recording of the 1996 album Swingin\' With Raymond , although they did release one last CD entitled Portraits of Anarchists which came with copies of Casey Orr 's book of the same name. Chumbawamba
vocalist Danbert Nobacon pictured playing live at the University of Leeds
, 1986, supporting Conflict .


signed to EMI
in Europe in 1997, a move that was viewed as controversial by many of their followers. They had been involved with a compilation LP called Fuck EMI
in 1989, and had criticised the label in many of their earlier songs. The anarcho-punk band Oi Polloi (with whom Chumbawamba
had previously toured and worked with on the 'Punk Aid' Smash the Poll Tax EP ) released an 'anti-Chumbawamba' EP, Bare Faced Hypocrisy Sells Records (Ruptured Ambitions 1998). Chumbawamba
argued that EMI
had severed the link with weapons manufacturer Thorn a few years previously, and that experience had taught them that, in a capitalist environment, almost every record company operates on capitalist principles; "Our previous record label One Little Indian didn't have the evil symbolic significance of EMI however they were completely motivated by profit." They added that this move brought with it the opportunity to make the band financially viable as well as to communicate their message to a wider audience .

Band Politics And Mainstream Success

In 1997 Chumbawamba
scored their biggest chart hit with "Tubthumping " (UK No. 2, US No. 6), which featured an audio sample of actor Pete Postlethwaite 's performance in the film Brassed Off . This was followed up in early 1998 with "Amnesia ", which reached No. 10 in the UK. During this period Chumbawamba
gained some notoriety over several controversial incidents, starting in August 1997 when Nutter was quoted in the British music paper Melody Maker as saying, "Nothing can change the fact that we like it when cops get killed." The comment was met with outrage in Britain's tabloid press and was condemned by the Police Federation of England and Wales . The band resisted pressure from EMI
to issue an apology and Nutter only clarified her comment by stating, "If you're working class they won't protect you. When you hear about them, it's in the context of them abusing people, y'know, miscarriages of justice. We don't have a party when cops die, you know we don't."

In January 1998 Nutter appeared on the American political talk show Politically Incorrect and advised fans of their music who could not afford to buy their CDs to steal them from large chains such as HMV and Virgin , which prompted Virgin to remove the album from the shelves and start selling it from behind the counter.

A few weeks later, provoked by the Labour government's refusal to support the Liverpool Dockworkers Strike , the band performed "Tubthumping" at the 1998 BRIT Awards with the lyric changed to include "New Labour sold out the dockers, just like they'll sell out the rest of us", and vocalist Danbert Nobacon later poured a jug of water over UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott , who was in the audience.

has an ethical policy that determines their involvement in multimedia products. In the late 1990s, the band turned down $1.5 million from Nike to use the song "Tubthumping" in a World Cup advertisement. According to the band, the decision took approximately "30 seconds" to make. In 2002, the band donated a payment of $70,000 received from General Motors
General Motors
for the use of the song "Pass It Along" in an advertisement to activist groups CorpWatch and the Independent Media Center to mount an information campaign against GM.

released the band's first collection album which featured a mix bag of songs from between 1985 and 1998 under the title Uneasy Listening .

Also in 1998 came a Japan-only mini album entitled Amnesia, consisting of country and western style versions of recent hits "Tubthumping" and "Amnesia" alongside earlier songs like "Mouthful of Shit".

As a millennium present, Chumbawamba
sent out a limited edition single to everyone on their mailing list. The song was a shoop shoop style ballad entitled "Tony Blair ", which read like a heartbroken letter to an ex-lover who had broken all his promises. The band would send another free single out two years later, this time a re-worked version of the Beatles
' song "Her Majesty " to coincide with the Queen 's Golden Jubilee, with lyrics denouncing royalty.

released the album WYSIWYG in 2000 which included a cover of the early Bee Gees
Bee Gees
song " New York Mining Disaster ". The single "She\'s Got All The Friends That Money Can Buy ", was backed by "Passenger List For Doomed Flight 1721 ", a song that listed all of the people that the band would like to see "disappear." The list of unfortunates included Tony Blair, Ally McBeal and Bono
. Chumbawamba parted from EMI
in 2001. The band later said that they got what they wanted from the deal with EMI: "we released some great records, we travelled all over the world, appeared on all these TV programmes, and we made loads of money, a lot of which we gave away or ploughed into worthwhile causes".

To celebrate their 20 years together, the band made a documentary based on footage that they had recorded over the past two decades. Originally intended to be simply a compilation of their videos, the result was entitled Well Done, Now Sod off. The title was taken from an early review of a Chumbawamba
record and the film included both lovers and haters of the band.


In 2002, Chumbawamba
formed their own record label, Mutt Records, for UK releases.

Under Mutt, Chumbawamba
released their eleventh official album, Readymades , which mixed samples of folk music with dance beats. For the U.S. Readymades was repackaged under the title Readymades And Then Some, the extended title referring to a second disc – a DVD which featured clips from Well Done Now Sod Off and remixes of "Tubthumping", one being a remix by the band Flaming Lips . Under the Mutt label the band also produced Sic – Adventures in Anti-Capitalism, a paperback book of political and musical writings by friends and acquaintances of the band.

General Motors
General Motors
paid Chumbawamba
$100,000 to use the song "Pass It Along " from the WYSIWYG album, for a Pontiac
Vibe television advertisement in 2002. Chumbawamba
gave the money to the anti-corporate activist groups Indymedia and CorpWatch who used the money to launch an information and environmental campaign against GM.

The same year Chumbawamba
provided an original soundtrack to Alex Cox 's film adaptation of Revengers Tragedy
Revengers Tragedy
. Chumbawamba
released the full soundtrack in 2003.

The band also revisited their a capella 1988 album English Rebel Songs 1381–1914 and felt that as they were now more confident singers, they should re-record it and bring it up to date. And so English Rebel Songs was remade in 2003 with the added track "Coal Not Dole" bringing the record up to 1984.

In 2004, the band released an album called Un . While less synth driven than Readymades or the Revengers Tragedy
Revengers Tragedy
soundtrack, the album relied heavily on samples, from tribal chants to Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
interview quotes. The album opens with one of the earliest recordings of a human voice, that of Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
reciting Mary Had A Little Lamb . The album gave an inkling of the folk sound that Chumbawamba
would move towards on their subsequent releases.


In 2005 Chumbawamba
took a hiatus from full-scale touring and recording projects, but a trimmed-down acoustic line-up of Boff Whalley, Lou Watts, Jude Abbot and Neil Ferguson continued to tour the UK and Europe throughout 2005 and 2006. It was this line-up that recorded the album A Singsong and a Scrap , released late in 2005 on No Masters records. They followed this up with a second live album, entitled Get On With It , recorded during 2006 at various venues throughout Britain.

In 2006 Nutter wrote the musical drama Love and Petrol which played for a week in Bradford
during June. Hamer wrote the music. Both continue to work in theatre, with Nutter writing Foxes for West Yorkshire Playhouse 2006 and Where's Vietnam? for Red Ladder Theatre Company in 2008 – again Hamer wrote the music. Nutter has since moved into radio and TV, writing for Jimmy McGovern 's BAFTA-winning drama, The Street and for Casualty . In 2007 Danbert released his second solo album Library Book Of The World, his first being The Un-fairy Tale in 1985. The Un fairy-tale was re-released in 1997.

In 2007, Chumbawamba
played at the Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival
. In early 2007, the band announced via their website that a new album was in the works, stating that "the new album will be acoustic and probably won't sound like A Singsong and a Scrap".

The result was The Boy Bands Have Won
The Boy Bands Have Won
, released on 3 March 2008 in the UK and 14 March in mainland Europe. The record contained 25 tracks, some of them full length songs, some of them no more than a minute long and was again acoustic folk in style. The album features the Oysterband , Roy Bailey and Barry Coope amongst others.

In late 2009 Chumbawamba
toured northern England in their self-penned pantomime, a comedy musical entitled Riot, Rebellion & Bloody Insurrection with the Red Ladder Theatre Company. In late February 2010 they released their 15th album, titled ABCDEFG .

In September 2011, past and present band members protested when the UK Independence Party
UK Independence Party
used "Tubthumping" at their annual conference.

It was announced in 2011 that Boff Whalley was working on a musical for the stage. The soundtrack to the musical, entitled Chumbawamba
"> Jude Abbott, Neil Ferguson and Boff Whalley of Chumbawamba
in 2005.

The band's membership varied over the years, with the line-up and musical assignments in the early years being especially fluid (members were known to switch instruments between, or even during, gigs). This is a list of principal official members and collaborators, drawn mainly from the credits of their releases since 1985. Short-term members and collaborators are not included. Former members The band in 2004.

* Boff Whalley – vocals, lead guitar, (1982–2012) * Danbert Nobacon – vocals and keyboards (1982–2004) * Lou Watts – vocals, keyboards (1982–2012) * Dunstan Bruce – vocals, guitar, turntables, percussion (1982–2004) * Alice Nutter – vocals, percussion (1982–2004) * Harry Hamer (born 5 March 1964) – drums, percussion (1982–2004) * Dave Dillon – trumpet, French horn and bass (1984–1995) * Paul Greco – bass & harmonica (1982–1999) * Jude Abbott – vocals, recorder, flute and trumpet (1996–2012) * Neil Ferguson – vocals, guitar and bass (1999–2012) * Phil Moody – accordion and vocals (2004–2012)

Frequent guests

* Neil Ferguson – producer, engineer, guitar & keyboards (promoted to full band member in 1999) * Simon "Commonknowledge" Lanzon – vocals, keyboards, piano and accordion * MC Fusion – vocals on Shhh and Anarchy * Cobie Laan – vocals, live recording * Stephen Blood - marracas, French horn * Jimmy Echo – vocals on some versions of "Timebomb" and "Amnesia" * B.J. Cole
B.J. Cole
– slide guitar on WYSIWYG * Folk vocal trio Coope, Boyes -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ "Chumbawamba". Chumba.com. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-17. * ^ "Chumbawamba". Chumba.com. 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2014-04-17. * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M Glasper, Ian (2006) The Day the Country Died: a History of Anarcho-punk 1980–1984, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-70-5 , pp. 375–384 * ^ "Fitzwilliam lyrics". Musicdb.laadhari.com. Retrieved 10 September 2011. * ^ Jude Rogers (30 August 2013). "Total rewind: 10 key moments in the life of the cassette". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2014. * ^ Chumba.com Archived 30 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ TubThumping as the subject of an episode of the Podcast Surprisingly Awesome * ^ DeLong, Donnacha (1997). " Chumbawamba
- Fighters not Writers". Sorted magAZine . * ^ Vallance, Tom (January 4, 2011). "Pete Postlethwaite: Distinctive, prolific actor, acclaimed by Spielberg as \'the best in the world\'". The Independent
The Independent
. * ^ Simpson, Dave (August 16, 1997). "Lager is an Energy!". Melody Maker . IPC Magazines, Ltd. p. 18. * ^ A B Simpson, Dave (January 3, 1998). "Anarchy in the USA". Melody Maker . IPC Magazines, Ltd. p. 25. * ^ "This Week in Entertainment History: January 16, 2016 - 22 January 2006". KKTV. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2016. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) * ^ Klein, Naomi No Logo New York. Picador. 2000. pg 301 * ^ Rowan, David (2002): "Chumbawamba\'s tune turns the tables on US car giant", The Observer, 27 January 2002, accessed 3 March 2011. * ^ "Mutt Records Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto\'s, video\'s". Myspace.com. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2013. * ^ Iain Aitch (30 January 2002). " General Motors
General Motors
gets tub-thumped". Salon.com
. Archived from the original on 7 August 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2007. * ^ "First bands confirmed for Glastonbury 2007". NME
. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007. * ^ Alexandra Topping (9 September 2011). " Chumbawamba
go Tubthumping crazy over Ukip\'s use of No1 hit Politics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2011. * ^ "In Memoriaum". Retrieved 10 April 2013. * ^ "Brighton Magazine - A Weapon Called The Word: Levellers Go Grassroots With Debut Reissue". Magazine.brighton.co.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2011. * ^ http://www.interrobangband.co.uk/ * ^ Dunstan Bruce (1 July 2015). "I Get Knocked Down (The Untold Story of Chumbawamba)". Kickstarter . Retrieved 27 July 2015. * ^ Blumberg, Alex. "StartUp #16 The Secret Formula". Gimlet Media. Retrieved 21 December 2015. * ^ McKay, Adam. "Surprisingly Awesome #4 Tubthumping". Gimlet Media. Gimlet Media. Retrieved 21 December 2015.


* Boff Whalley , Footnote*, Pomona Books , 2003, ISBN 1-904590-00-4 (Boff's autobiographical account of the band's history)


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