Showing posts with label chumbawamba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chumbawamba. Show all posts

Saturday, July 14, 2012

30 years of anarchy: a chumbawamba retrospective - 1982 - beginnings

Some one-hit wonders are just that - they release a single song off a single album, and then disappear into the ether, never to be heard of again. But most aren't - in fact, VH1 has made many a show investigating the one-hit wonders since the beginning of recording, digging into their history and the people who created the music, often times ignoring the music that band made before and after the one-hit, and almost certainly ignoring the politics and views that shaped the music as a whole.

This isn't going to be like that. Not just because this band had a thirty-year run spanning multiple genres and labels, but because Chumbawamba epitomized the best of their genre: good punk musicians and artists that actually had something to say, and were clever enough to say it well. You'd be surprised how truly rare that is.

But even great things must come to an end. On July 9, 2012, the band Chumbawamba announced they were splitting up after a thirty year run. It wasn't with a bang, or a whimper - it simply was. The group had reached a parting of the ways, the best possible way for a group to split. 

But then a thought struck me and gave me pause - did anyone care? Who remembered this band? Who cared now? Sure, the band has a Wikipedia page, but who would bother to maintain it, to chronicle and analyze the strident political message of a band of anarchists? They represented a piece of ephemeral punk culture - would it be like so many other punk acts, lost to anonymity and irrelevance?

Well, it won't happen on my watch. I still don't know who reads this blog, but on every Saturday, this will be my project: a chronicle of the music of Chumbawamba, and an analysis of the political messages behind them. I can't promise that it'll be complete, mostly because some of the music is already lost, but I will try. 

Why am I doing this? Well, Chumbawamba is one of the great forgotten bands - and if it's up to me to be the lone chronicler, I'll do it. Pop culture - particularly punk pop culture - is ephemeral in the best of times, and if I can capture a snapshot of one of the most successful anarchist acts of all time, someone might remember, and maybe the dying embers of punk will be stoked again.

So let's travel back to 1982 - the beginning.