By Gregory AdamsChumbawamba fell off the mainstream's radar somewhere in the late '90s after the massive success of their "Tubthumping" single, but the Brit peace-punk collective kept trekking on with a series of releases. That is, until now. Following a 30-year career arc, the band have called it quits.
The group delivered the news in a lengthy blog post, noting that "thirty years of ideas and melodies, endless meetings and European tours, press releases, sing-along choruses and Dada sound poetry, [are] finally at an end." A specific reason for the breakup wasn't given, but it seems the politically minded project had just come to its natural conclusion.
"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," they wrote. "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."
Early in Chumbawamba's career, the unit issued singles on Crass Records before founded their own Agit-Prop label to issue LPs like their 1986 debut Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records. After a number of albums, the band made the jump to the majors when they issued 1997's Tubthumper through EMI/Universal.
That record's "Tubthumping" made the rounds and stormed the charts as a boisterously poppy drinking song. After 2000's WYSIWYG, the group returned to the underground, releasing records on Mutt and No Masters. Chumbawamba's last album was 2010's ABCDEFG, though they delivered a soundtrack for the musical Big Society! earlier this year.
While details have yet to be delivered, the band plan to play a few farewell gigs before hanging up their "guitars, trumpets and football rattles."
"We'll worry that we've made the wrong decision, and we'll wonder why we're throwing away something with so much potential, especially at a time when this country needs all the truth-telling it can get. But we'll be coming to a stop knowing that we can look back on it proudly and smile at what we all did together."