From now until eternity, Chumbawamba will always be best known for “Tubthumping,” their gigantic, infernally catchy 1997 fluke hit. But the band actually had a career that spanned more than three decades and went through a lot of bizarre changes. They started out, implausibly enough, as an anarcho-punk collective, paragons of the same scene that Crass helped to birth. They’d been around for years, experimenting with different sounds and ideas before signing a deal with EMI and stumbling into fleeting international fame with “Tubthumping.” They kept soldiering on after that song became a kitsch relic, too, and they’re only now announcing that they’re disbanding.
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.
This is the rare case where a band can claim that they’ve done everything they could do as a band and be absolutely truthful about it. Read the full statement here.