A couple of weeks ago we were presented with some important news. CHUMBAWAMBA SPLIT UP.
That’d be the guys behind ‘Tubthumping’ – the song forever destined to soundtrack AFL montages (and the reason seven-year-old me was knocked to the ground by a stronger younger brother approximately 29 times in 3.5 minutes when someone thought it would be a fun party playlist addition).
Has anyone else ever noticed the lady with the angelic voice is singing “Pissing the night away?”
Anyway, this news caused us to fall off our chairs. Not because the band had broken up but because, unbeknownst to us (unbeknownst to anybody?), Chumbawamba had been making music in the gap between 1997 and 2012. After 30 years, they’d released 15 albums. Their second last was so inspired it was simply titled ABCDEFG
and their final opus was comprised of a cast recording of a musical.
This got us wondering how many other bands are out there, forgotten about, but still together. Naturally, we got on the Googles and discovered there are plenty.
Gods of goth. To be fair they’ve dissolved, transformed and reformed a bazillion times. The only constant member has been vampire vocalist Vanian, who’s been proving the frontman is the most important part of a band since 1976. Of late, they’ve accepted invitations to switch on city Christmas lights in the UK, much to the regret of church leaders who realised, “We should not give a major function over to a group that goes out of its way to deny what Christmas is about. They are a punk rock band with very doubtful lyrics.” Very doubtful indeed.
Fact: Vanian used to make a living out of digging graves.
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE:
Still playing shows, still pining over Stacy’s mum. They recently appeared at Fuji Rock and are currently ricocheting around the US. The album they released last year is actually pretty good, maybe because they’ve stopped copying The Cars
and sound more like the Beatles. Coming to a stadium near you.
Fact: ‘Stacy’s Mom’ was nominated for two Grammy’s in 2003.
Also at their pop-punk peak circa-millennium. Guitarist Jeremy Popoff is still sporting circa-millennium hair spikes and a terrible surname.
Fact: The music video for Lit’s 2000 single ‘Miserable
’ begins with the band performing on Pamela Anderson’s white bikini behind and ends with her eating each of the band members.
BOYZ II MEN:
The urban boy band responsible for 25% of the soft focus and fist clenching in ‘90s music videos. They’re still around (albeit down a member with chronic back issues) and still the serially mushy boyz/men we remember. Last year they released their 10th album and celebrated their 20th anniversary by headlining a ‘Love Cruise’, which ran over Valentine’s Day. The cruise featured - amongst other delights - the opportunity for couples to renew their wedding vows in a special ceremony with Boyz II Men. Kinda wish we knew about this.
Fact: The group released an album in 2009 called Love
, comprised entirely of covers of
love songs (think Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ and Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’).
45 years down the track, they’ve never disbanded or gone on hiatus. These days they’re touring with fellow rock stalwarts The Doobie Brothers and making Christmas albums.
Fact: Chicago originally started out as a cover band called The Big Thing.
After going all ‘concept rock’ on us in ’09, the Kiwi band we’ve claimed as our own haven’t fled from our clutches back to their homeland. No, they’ve been hiding away on a farm in Victoria, recording the material for a new album coming out later this year. They’ve put up some demos of the fresh stuff on their website
. The syrupy emotion and pretty harmonies are back - cue sigh of relief.
Fact: Concept album Jon looked creepily similar to
concept album Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance). There must be some kind of handbook for this stuff.
Honourable mentions go to Everclear, Smashmouth, Simple Plan and The Village People, who’ve surprised us recently with their Australian tour announcements.
Anyway, RIP Chumbawumba (what does that even mean?) We’ll remember you every time this happens in a pub/street/sports arena: