The band announced the news on their website in the following statement:
That’s it then, it’s the end. with neither a whimper, a bang or a reunion. Thirty years of ideas and melodies, endless meetings and European tours, press releases, singalong choruses and Dada sound poetry, finally at an end. It’s hard to sum up why without sitting you down one at a time and having a proper conversation, but that’d take too long. So, in as few words as possible, here goes.
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.
Chumbawamba was our vehicle for pointing at the naked Emperors, for telling our version of the truth; it gave us more than the joy and love of playing live, writing songs and singing together – it gave us a chance to be part of a broad coalition of activists and hectors, optimists and questioners. But eventually the rest of our lives got in the way and we couldn’t commit the time and enthusiasm that the band demanded. Couldn’t keep up with whatever responsibilities came with a band like this.
If there were ever a Chumbawamba manifesto, it would read in the inconsistent, contradictory language of the Dadaists – part strident belligerence and part foolishness. This ending is no different; it comes almost as much of a surprise to us as it may do to you. Always more clown than politician, the band trips over its outsize feet and performs its final tumble.
There have been squabbles and arguments along the way. A deal of griping, frustration, moaning, exasperation – but always alongside a huge amount of goodwill and generosity, good humour and love. What a riot it’s been, frankly. And now it’s time to clear up the mess and move on.
That’s the simple version, anyway.
But fans of ’90s reunions, fear not! There’s an additional clause added at the very end of their goodbye that states they aren’t necessarily going away forever:
We do, of course, reserve the right to re-emerge as Chumbawamba doing something else entirely (certainly not touring and putting out albums every 2 or 3 years). But frankly, that’s not very likely. Thirty years of being snotty, eclectic, funny, contrary and just plain weird. What a privilege, and what a good time we’ve had.
So let’s pour one out to the band who spawned one of the most infectious songs of the ’90s to — let’s face it — the only song that ever really mattered (to Americans, anyway):
Another thing I learned from the news? It’s Chumbawamba, not Chumbawumba. The more you know!