Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chumbawamba


22.10.83 YMCA Beeston, Leeds, photo by Jenny Plaits.
       "Chumbawamba? Didn't they release that annoying 'Tubthumping' album on E.M.I. in the nineties?" Well, in the eighties, unknown to most people, they were among the groups of anarchist punk bands who took a great influence from Crass, and were definitely one of the bands that had the most powerful political voices and original music within the movement. Formed sometime just as 1982 had come, Allan 'Boff' Whalley, Dan 'Danbert Nobacon' and Midge evolved Chimp Eats Banana into Chumbawamba and recruited Lou Watts and 'Men in a Suitcase' member Dunstan 'Dunst' Bruce on vocals, and they were also joined by Mavis 'Dan' Dillon and Harry 'Daz' Hammer from the Passion Killers, as well as Alice Nutter from 'Ow, my hair's on fire'.

Guitarist/vocalist Boff.
     The band had a huge line-up, but the classic Chumbawamba featured Danbert Nobacon, and Alice Nutter on vocals, Boff and guitar and vocals, Lou Watts on guitar and vocals, Mavis 'Dan' Dillon on bass, trumpet and vocals, Harry 'Daz' Hammer on drums/vocals and Dunst on additional vocals. All of the members sang, and most of them had notable songs where they sang lead vocals.

1985 UK, photo by Jenny Plaits

      Just like Rudimentary Peni, nobody from the band dressed 'punk' and this complicated their acceptance into the punk scene because of the fools within it, but the band desperately wanted to be associated and would pass out pamphlets, lyrics and other handouts at gigs. However, one of their founding members named 'Midge' left sometime during 1985.

Lead vocalist Danbert Nobacon dressed as a priest. Possibly during the song "Today's Sermon".
      When the band played live, it would seem more like a theater act from all the costumes, skits, speeches, props, flip charts and films, and the theme of the acts would depend on the the theme of the current song. Danbert Nobacon would usually dress up as a joker, a show host, an old man,a corporate boss, a priest, a general and even a nun while Alice Nutter would dress up as his assistant sometimes.

22.10.83 YMCA Beeston, Leeds, photo by Jenny Plaits.
     For example, During their early gigs, The would start off with 'How to get your Band on Television' with Danbert dressed up as a corporate boss, and he would follow by stuffing his face with food after shouting out the prologue. By the time the main part of the song began playing, he and Alice Nutter would had gone off stage and come back dressed up as a show host with an assistant who wold parade the stage with popular records and pictures of starving children as they continued with 'Slag Aid'(Another name for 'How to Get your Band on Television"). Other songs such as 'Read all about it' had most of the band dressed up in old clothes with booths and newspapers all over the place, and 'Today's Sermon' had Danbert Nobacon dressed as a priest.

Alice Nutter singing during the song "Ah-men". Mavis on the left and Harry on the right.
     In 1982, the Danbert Nobacon, Boff, Midge, Lou and Dunst version of the band played their first gig as Chumbawamba on Elvis's birthday being January 8th, 1982 at the Hendly Hotel near Colne. Later on that year, the band contributed two tracks for Crass's 'Bullshit Detector two' on Crass Records with 'Three Years Later' and wrote to all the bands featured, but the Passion Killers were the only ones that responded and actually came down to visit the band ultimately joining them.


     The second track was actually Boff as 'Boffo' with the track 'Garageland' which was taken from parodies he did of several 'The Clash' songs as a response of the Clash selling out. Also during that year, the band wrote to Sounds pretending to be a fictional Oi! band called 'Skin disease' and managed to get away recording a monotonous song where all they did was shout 'I'm Thick' sixty four times as a joke to get at the racist skin heads. In 1983, the band recorded their first demo on their own Sky & Trees label as a split between them and the Passion Killers.

Harry the drummer on the left and Mavis the bassist on the right. Both of them used to be The Passion Killers.
     They were a very mischievous band and would often disguise themselves as fake bands to appear in certain gigs and compilations to parody or bash on certain big-time labels, The Sun newspaper(whom they called 'The Scum'), bands and people(the 70's had taught Boff to bring comedy into the music, thus helping cause all of this). Chumbawamba squatted in a large Victorian house which ended up becoming their band's headquarters. They practiced a lot there, lived as a huge co-operative, grew their food there and learned plenty about electrics and plumbing. However, Crass never helped them out after 'Bullshit Detector Two' and Flux of Pink Indians partially lied about helping the band release a single on their Spiderleg label. Instead, the band decided to turn their Sky & Trees label into Agit Prop and went on to finance and manage their first release all on their own.


     Their 'Revolution' single was released in 1985 on their own Agit Prop label, and quickly sold out. More pressings were released, and it proved to be a strong single which criticized big time bosses, and it came up in the Independent charts peaked at number four. It was a very 'DIY' record, so the band spent hours writing all their literature on the single, as well as going through a production line consisting of the band getting all the singles started and finished from scratch by hand. It was widely distributed since the people around their area weren't too interested in it, but once spread across to wider audiences, it became a success and helped boost the band's profile, despite people saying that they had somehow 'sold out' since they went from releasing tapes to records.

Vocalist/guitarist Lou Watts.
     They followed in 1986 by releasing a split E.P. with another band called 'A State of Mind' and released it on Agit-Matter Records which was a combination of those two band's own independent labels.


     Also in 1986, Chumbawamba released their most brilliant album titled 'Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records' which was a 'concept album' counter-attacking the 'Live Aid' program to make people question it and ask why these pictures of Starving Children exist seeing as though the band saw capitalism as the main culprit(they often had members of the band hold up pictures of starving children while they played). They also used it to attacked several celebrities from certain bands who supported it such as David Bowie, Freddie Mercury from Queen, Paul McCartney from The Beatles, Jagger and Richards from the Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard. The band had originally already finished the album, but when they saw Live Aid on television which was viewed by over a billion people, they scrapped all the lyrics and started over. They stressed that the media has tricked people into believing that charity is the only definite answer to malnutrition and the band also believed that we are not making any kind of real change with it, and that we should look into how the capitalist organizations who are asking for donations are actually the reason why the children are starving in the first place and that we need to attack them. Other topics of third world exploitation are also covered such as Unilever, Coca Cola and racism(there is a a bit on the music label E.M.I. too since they were sending money towards projects that were building weapons for war at the time).

Danbert on the right vocalising.
     However, despite the success, the band became a target under the police force, and were often held, questioned and searched at their home by them. Sometimes, the police would barge in with sledge hammers to try and find non existent drugs and explosions, and several times after the searches, the band would return to find their property damaged, as well as their pamphlets, diaries, books, posters and lyrics confiscated. In 1986, riot police broke Alice Nutters leg at an anti-N.A.T.O. demonstration, but she continued the play the tour with a cast. Next, after getting tired of getting pulled over by police so many times in their van before and after gigs, the band decided to paint 'Young Christian Cyclists' on their van, which actually worked in deceiving the police, since they were never pulled over again. At some point, Danbert Nobacon went in to go see The Clash with a paint gun, and managed to shoot paint all over the band, and followed by making a successful escape.


     In 1987, the band released another 'concept like' album titled 'Never mind the Ballots' on their Agit Prop label which was made in response to the U.K. general elections. Even though they only had a two weeks notice of the elections, they still managed to record and release the record, despite saying that the rush resulted in one 'good side' and one 'crap side' on the record. The band was not saying to not vote, but to question the election, saying that it is only a substitute for real change, for real choice. The band also said to look closer into how the election works, because politicians will trick us and lie to us just to get us to vote for them so they can continue to keep us in our place. The fact that all we get to do to make our voices heard and make 'real' change is taking five seconds of our life to mark an 'X' for our vote towards someone we'll probably never meet or know was considered a joke to the band. Often at gigs, they would hang a huge backdrop behind them while playing reading: "The Vote Changes Nothing. The Struggle Continues".


     Later on that year, The band disguised themselves as 'Scab Aid' and released 'The Scum' which was an attack on the Sun's newspaper for it's horrible treatment towards it's workers and releasing biased news coverage, and it became New Musical Express 'Single of the Week' until they found out it was Chumawamba in disguise.


      By this time, the band had gigged with several bands including Poison Girls, No Defences, Reality Control, Karma Sutra, Thatcher on Acid, The Ex, Blyth Power, Mekons, Dan, Culture Shock, Conflict, Oi Polloi, Subhumans, Flux of Pink Indians, Disorder and Amebix.


     Between 1987 and 1988, the band appeared in several compilations consisting of 'A Vile Peace' on Peaceville Records, 'Mindless Slaughter' on Anhrefn and 'This is the A.L.F.'. 1988 saw the release of their 'English Rebel songs, 1381-1914' album which upset several of their followers since all the tracks were a cappella protest songs. Their sudden change to dance and pop continued to make them less and less followed, but they were trying to challenge their listeners, not sell out.

Guitarist/vocalist Lou Watts.
   In 1991, guitarist Boff, bassist Mavis and drummer Harry brought back The Passion Killers for their 'Whoopee! We're all going to die!" 7". Next, Chumbawamba continued to release material, until the band suddenly decided it could be acceptable to sign on the E.M.I. label to release their 'Tubthumper' C.D. It sold over five millions copies, and blasted the band into stardom, infuriating those who were still there supporting the band. During the nineties, Chumbawamba basically went through a big change, and it upset their anarchist audience so much that it caused an anti-Chumbawamba E.P. featuring such bands as Wat Tyler, Riot/Clone and Oi Polloi bashing the band for singing on to E.M.I and 'selling out'. Chumbawamba continued to relase lots of material during the nineties and two thousands, but I'll stop here, seeing as though I find most of their later period irrelevant.

Left to right:Guitarist/vocalist Lou Watts, vocalist Alive Nutter and lead vocalist Danbert Nobacon.

     When it came to justifying their decision to sign on to the E.M.I. label which they used to hate so much, they tried to say that the label had changed since it was no longer funding nuclear arms by that time. The band managed to develop a strict contract that wouldn't limit their freedom as artists and be fair, and most of the money was given away to charity. If this is true, would it be all right for all the other bands to do the same?Still, nearly all of their eighties followers abandoned them, but the band carried on regardless. They may no longer be as visually or lyrically powerful as before, but the band continues to live on today.

backdrop reads: Stop taking orders from his master's voice! Danbert, Lou and Alice are on the mike stands.
"How to Get your Band on Television"


"I'm the boss of the company
and I've got hunger working for me.
Listen, and you'll begin to understand-
I built my profits on stolen land.
It's the economics of supply and demand;
and I make the demands around here."

Product sells, people die.
Same manipulation wrapped in lies.
Give a little money and play your rock & roll.
The biggest prizes to the biggest fools.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
welcome to the show
and here the audience participates.
On our show tonight
we got lots of surprises in store for you at home.

In keeping with the fashion for charity, not change,
here's our contribution: we've called it slag Aid.
For every pop star that we slag off today,
A million pounds will be given away!

Paul McCartney - Come On Down!
With crocodile tears to irrigate this ground.
Make of Ethiopia a fertile paradise
where everyone sings Beatles songs 
& buys shares 
in E.M.I.

Freddie Mercury - This Is Your Life!
Thank the lord that you were born white,
and thank apartheid 
for this wonderful opportunity
to peddle your hypocrisy in Sun City.

David Bowie - The Price is Right!
A suitful of compassion and a gobful of shite.
Still the voices of those who doubt.
Coca-Cola for the peasants to end this drought.

Jagger & Richards - Game For a Laugh!
Dancing us down the garden path
to a place where money grows on trees
where cocaine habits are financed by hunger and disease

Ask the puppet-masters who pull the strings,
"Who makes the money when the puppets sing?"
Ask the corporations, "Where does the money go?"
Ask the empty-bellied children: "What are we singing for?"

And Cliff Richard - 3, 2, 1!
The god who remains when the religion's gone.
Cliff, we've got a special surprise for you today,
so come closer; step this way.
Cliff, you're such an example of moral worth,
such a purist saint come to bless our earth,
that behalf of our viewers watching on telly,
and on behalf of the millions with empty bellies,
we're donating something special that we're all going to like:
Cliff Richard, we're going to nail you up to a cross Tonight!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, just imagine it-
Someone comes along, 
takes everything you own,
your space, your house;
separates you from your family; and then hits you in the face if you say anything different. Well, that's what we've been doing to the Third World for the past 400 years. That's YOU and ME. You the viewers at home, me in the studio, the pop stars, everyone. that's how we make the Third World, today and every day. If you want any correspondence with the programme, just send your answers - LETTER BOMBS ONLY! - to:

BP House
Victoria Street
London SWI

Thank you and goodnight! 
Feed the World:Starve the Rich. 
Goodnight!

I know there must be more.
I know there must be more
than giving just a little bit more
when half of this world is so helplessly poor.
Starved of a real solution -
Only charity and tradition.
And the cycle of hungry children
will keep on going round.
I know there must be more.
Will keep on going round.
I know there must be more.
Will keep on going round.
I know there must be more.


Until we burn the House of Commons to the ground.


"British Colonialism and the B.B.C."


"I'm the boss of the B.B.C.
I'm the monkey at the top of the media tree".

Bulletin:
"Your version of the riots in Cape Town
comes second-hand from me.
Chewing and spewing this revolution
for popular T.V.
All your opinions are carefully chosen
by what we'll let you see.
Televised crap dressed up as fact-
your soap reality.

"We only want the chance to show the Editor's side
of struggle in the news.
Close & closer to the state's eye-view
and further from the truth.
Push a microphone to the mouth of this youth
bewildered and confused.
Misreported, distorted, misquoted,
a ready-made victim to be used."
"And we'll quote you on things that you never said.
Put this pencil to your head,
and kill your revolution dead."

T.V. tells us what to be and what to say and what to do,
how to act and how to lie but never question, why?

Fighting to stop this mass-deception.
fighting to scarp the pass-laws.
Fighting to end misuse of land.
Fighting to close down diamond mines.
Fighting to feed their hungry mouths.
Fighting to change the world.
Here, we sit on a fence
built by distance and enforced by lies;
is a full stomach all it takes
to keep us pacified?


"Commercial Break"


"I'm the wife of the Boss of the company,
and I always make my husband answer to me;
With what he says about the blacks, I totally agree -
The main problem is, they're not civilized, you see.
Look at the way they squabble between themselves.
Rioting at funerals - they'll surely go to hell.
If you gave them nice houses, they'd only burn them down.
(You don't get that in a white man's town)
and boycotting products wont do them any good,
you see they need the trade to help buy food,
and when I visit my niece on he beautiful homestead,
the blacks who work for her seem really quite content.
So I'll agree with my husband; 'Let things stay as they are' -
That's always been his motto, and we've gone far."


"Unilever"


When you don't want to feed the world.
When you just want to feed your bank balance.
Wash your guilt away:
Unilever washes whiter!
Soap to clean those dirty hands,
and a slap for the people who work the land!

Unilever
Man-made hunger.
Soap in our eyes.
John West is the best!
Old soap opera.
No soap reality.
Legal slave trade.
Domestos kills all known truths dead.
Soap to wash the darkest stain.
Profit covers up the pain
of a sow, deliberate genocide,
and all the dirt you want to hide.
Take the black and wash it whiter.
Brooke-Bond Oxo.
Blue Band, Bird's Eye.
Lifebouy, Sunsilk.
Persil washes Whiter!
We make whitewash.
We sell whitewash.
Consume whitewash.
Consumed by whitewash.

Soap to wash the darkest stain.
Profit covers up the pain
of a sow, deliberate genocide,
and all the dirt you want to hide.
Take the black and wash it whiter.

Whitewash, buy it!

Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?
Somewhere in this cycle there's me and you,
what are we prepared to do?


"More Whitewashing"


Children in school forced to the desk.
Finger the atlas, study the test.
Lies and opinion presented as fact.
Taught to accept and never to ask.

(Those smiling workers in Ladybird books,
they're not picking coffee at all.
They're busy with bricks and mortar,
building the company wall).

Flickering pictures hypnotize.
We spend our lives watching other's lives.
too much watching to realize
that this is a smokescreen,
and this is why people die.

(Those smiling news presenters,
they're not reading cue-cards at all.
They're busy with brush and bucket,
whitewashing the company wall).

Set yourself up and play it again.
force the tars, and entertain.
Sing about a world of make-believe.
Force this charity and leave.

(Rich people who claim to know
what's wrong this this world
can't know anything at all.
They're busy giving orders
for us to build their second homes).

Flickering pictures hypnotize.
Flickering pictures hypnotize.

(And we who take the orders,
and refuse to question it all,
we're busy with spade and bible,
burying the poor.)

Burying the poor.
Burying the poor.
We spend our lives watching other's lives.
Burying the poor.
To much watching to realize
that this is a smokescreen,
and this is why people die.

Mass-manufactured and given away:
Blinkers to get you through your day
so you'll never ever know to what extent you're involved.
Easily fooled, all your problems solved.
You'll say starvation has nothing to do with you -
You saw it in print, so it must be true.
And the documentary explained it all:
It's simple matter of birth control!
If you send a little money you can sleep tonight,
or starve in sympathy on a Limmits Diet.
And you know that charity cures malnutrition,
and hunger put the sparkle back in television.
Hunger put the sparkle back in television.
Hunger put the sparkle back in television.
Hunger put the sparkle back in television.
Hunger put the sparkle back in television.


"An Interlude. Beginning to Take it back"


Words to describe Nicaragua of old:
Cash crops and hunger and U.S.-control.
Coffee and sugar on company land
made to supply what the boss would demand.

Then one July morning in '79,
Nicaragua decided to leave it behind.

And the people are learning to take back their lives,
as the country will change, Sandanista survives.

Women are winning what they've never known.
the power to organize outside the home.
Starting to find what is equal and fair,
ensuring that this revolution is shared.

Regaining lost chances, demanding much more.
Running the factories, fighting the war.

And the people are learning to take back their lives,
as the country will change Sandanista survives.

Nobody claims that it's over and done.
There's too much depends on enlistment and guns,
and raising their children and filling their plates,
and chasing the Contras to Washington State.

The Yankee conspiracy thrown to the ground.
That's where the spirit of change can be found.

And the people are learning to take back their lives,
as the country will change, Sandanista survives.

And the people are learning to take back their lives,
as the country will change, Sandanista survives.


"Dutiful Servants and Political Masters"


Things were rather different in Great-Grandfather's day.
He just put a chain around their ankles & made them work for no pay.
He took everything they owned and yet still demanded more.
He did a bloody good job in taming the poor.

Now I'm rather more subtle, I say 'I'll tell you what I will do -
I'll do everything I can to try and help you.
And you'll be helping me, "I say, "I'll see that you're alright
You can have a place of your own, you can even pretend to be white.
And you won't have to worry, I'll have a quiet word with your mates.
Oh, they'll be all right, they'll have enough on their plates.

I'll put a it in their mouth, you just pull hard on their reigns.
they'll do anything for you and they on't complain.

You'll be so much better off, " I say, "You can share my paradise.
Just sign my piece of paper and I'll organize your life".
And it never fails, it does the trick, it works every time.
So me and my dear wife and the family's doing fine.

Great Grandad got his dukedom when slavery was abolished.
Dear old dad became a Viscount when the Empire was finished,
but times have changed (and for the better) with freedom of choice -
We're  a thousand times richer, Q.E.D. his Master's Voice:

A dog stares into a gramophone trumpet, waits for it's call to action.
Mute and obedient; Standing to attention.
Look a little closer: the dog is a woman.
she's working under a system that she can't understand.
Trapped inside a world of labour and heat.
So that she and her children will be able to eat.
The trumpet is patriarchy, it's old and fixed.
Where poor men are lured by the desire to be rich.
Where the limited power is still given to men.
Where development aid is so wastefully spent.
Where western education enforces this crap.
Where women work in the open - yet live in a trap.
There's one solution, and this is it:
The dog leaps on the gramophone and has a shit.


"...And in a Nutshell"


And the company director spins the globe,
looks into an atlas of the world.
A supermarket lifestyle for us all.
A thousand nations under company control.
Coca-Cola got machines in every land.
No-one got the teeth to bite the hand.
Stole their labour, their culture and their lives.
The create a Coca-Cola paradise.
Swallowing their soft drinks and their lies.
Let's take the blindfold from our eyes...


"Invasion"


The first world's got greedy, we're consuming it all.
The third World's got hunger and military control.
this unequal balance is a master-plan.
One gets rich from the other's land.

They've got it all worked out; and we give our consent.

They've got it all worked out for Central America.
They've got it all worked out for Africa (etc, etc)

And in our naivety we believe myths and over consume.
And give them our consent.
Dying in the shadow of the U.S.A.
"Let them eat bullshit, make the land pay".
Make a fast deal with the local elite.
Then substitute cash-crops where once grew wheat.
Build a cycle of dependence on a starvation-diet
with food as a weapon, workers stay quiet,
and multinational names have blood on their brands
from taking an interest in misused lands.
Del Monte, Tate & Lyle, Ralston Purina.
Coca-Cola, R.T.Z. and Unilever.
All packaging lifestyles for the glamorous west.
Expand the company; exploit the rest.

We are not isolate by distance,
but by greed and our racist history.
Just a wall's-width away.
Still impossible to reach across
this space in front of me.

It's we who write this history.
We who guard the money-tree.
We support the companies -
We stole the colonies.

And when the system starts to crack,
we'll have to be ready to give it all back.
And when the system starts to crack,
we'll have to be ready to give it all back.
And when the system starts to crack,
we'll have to be ready to give it all back.

See the space which lies between the rich and the poor.
How the space increases as we keep on taking more.
Keeping that space between us all.
Is how the west can keep control.
With a mission and a chequebook promising aid.
Posing for the camera the United Nations man came.
He talked of control and the terrible drought,
and the way that the west would bail them out.
then he stopped smiling and he talked conditions
of mutual aid; of American wishes,
sending aid with sewn-on strings.
If they won't buy arms - then it's pulled back in.
Feeding the world American style.
Col. Sanders has an empire behind his smile.
Back up the investments with a military regime.
Then cleverly he says: "It's to keep the world free!"

But the multinational myths are beginning to fall.
the poor don't want aid, they want control.
And if we really want to see the Third World eat,
we've got to see through the wrapping on the high street.
Past barriers of culture that dictate our lives.
We're busy consuming as the other half dies,
and the answer's not a question of charity -
Not whilst profit's still the top priority -
So let the glossy shop-fronts know what to expect,
and you Bosses of companies...

...And the cycle of hungry children
will keep on going round.
Will keep on going round.
Will keep on going round,
until we burn the multinationals to the ground.


"Always Tell the Voter what the Voter Wants to Hear"


"You want jobs? I've got jobs!
Hospitals? Top of my list!
Tax cuts and platform shoes
for every small business man!
... Just give me your vote."

Just give me your vote.

"Schools, prisons? Of course we'll build 'em!
Condoms for the American G.I.'s!
Nuclear reactors will breed like rabbits!
Police oppression? You can have it, sir!
... Just give me your vote."

Put your cross in the box!

"You want houses? See me afterwards!
Want my autograph? See my bodyguard.
Pre-election budget handouts!
You want a war? No Problem.
... Just give me your vote."


"Come on Baby (Let's do the Revolution)"


Come on baby, let's do the revolution.
6 for the record, 7 for the T-short.
A picture of the band
and a ticket for the promised land.

Watching all the bouncers
systematically beating up the dancers
to the rhythm of a pocket of change;
here's the group with all the answers.
Vote for the party and
keep your mouth shut!

Same chains of command.
All power taken out of our hands.
Politics pays the piper
in this company-land.

Come on Baby, let's do the revolution.
They say we'll all be equal
when they take control.
Vote for the party and
wallow in our rock and roll

Roadie! My guitar!


"The Wasteland"


Said the party to the adman,
"We'll conjure up a gimmick -
The way to lead an ass
is with a carrot and a stick.
Dig down for minorities,
promise them concessions,
ride in on their backs
and teach them all a lesson:

1. Unemployment means depression
2. You're just victims of the recession.
3. (We can count on their support
if we can channel their emotions)."

Populate the wasteland
between leisure and the grave.
work and pray and place your vote,
and someday you'll be saved.

All these myths come tailor - made
to suit the company director.
Myths that praise the dignity
of cheap, disposable labour.
Two different routes
to an industrial heaven.
Work for
1. Boss, and
2. Parliament.
And all will be forgiven.
It's fear of being sacked
that let's the Boss step up the pace
because the minute you step out of line
there's someone took your place.

Populate the wasteland
between leisure and the grave.
Work and pray and place your vote,
and someday you'll be saved.

said the M.P. to the media:
"Can't we juggle this around?
Sprinkle sugar on the dogshit
and we'll keep the figures down.
Never let the left hand
see what's in the right.
No-one's any wiser
and the problems out of sight..."

Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Job Clubs, Restart, Y.T.S, C.P's, E.A.S:
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.
Job Clubs, Restart, Y.T.S, C.P's, E.A.S:

Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.
Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.

Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.
Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.
Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.
Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.
Take our democratic choice -
Take a scheme or starve.
Company profits doubled.
Wages chopped in half.

Work and pray and place your vote,
and someday you'll be saved.

Offer your life to the one true church:
In the name of the conservative party,
The Labour Party
and the Liberal Alliance.
The promised land where banks outnumber churches,
and your cars shall be martyrs to the cause!

Capitalism in crisis...
But on the third day it shall rise again.
But on the third day it shall rise again.


"Today's Sermon"


"Though they broke my legs,
they gave me a crutch to walk.

Though they broke my legs,
they gave me a crutch to walk.

Though they broke my legs,
they gave me a crutch to walk -

Their laws to guide me
and a crutch to walk"

Government be with you!

Ah-men!


"Ah-men"


A visionary pause in the cycle
when she refused to buy or sell.
When the daughters of perfect wives
said there must be more than sacrifice.
Needed more than symbolic change.
More than silent wasting away.
In factories and sterile marriages.
(He was god. She was powerless.)
With a brick for every year of life,
she set out for the house of lies -
The Old Boy's Club under siege.
His lordship cowered under his seat,
called for brandy and reinforcements,
blasted away at every movement.
Close to breaking down the door.
Past thick blue line and stupid laws.

Black Friday left her bruised and stubborn.
One brick from winning the struggle!
Rapunzel hacked at the ivory tower.
Asquith, quickly rose to the hour...
Appealed to patriotism, oily smiles
gave nothing, called it compromise.
Guaging the situation perfectly
said, "Ladies! Ladies! Listen to me!
1914, we're on the brink of war -
Pick up a flag, drop you cause!
Your targets are counter-revolutionary.
Take my hand in democracy!
Here's a piece of paper
your officially free.
Here's a list of instructions
for you to obey;
(And here's a sharp knife
to cur your own throat.
Small sacrifice in return for a vote...)"
Whispered word in Pankhurst's ear-
Visions of the first woman peer
led women down the garden path
and into the arms of the enemy.
Jail and force - feeding, wasted martyrdom
sold her songs for the National Anthem.
Slotted the smile back neatly in place.
Served refreshments.
At the end of the race.
All demands reduced to a joke.
X marks the plague: abandon hope.

Butlers still pouring brandy for the rich.
"Excuse me,
could you pass me the privilege?"
A woman's voice, the Sates ideal.
Same vested interests, same dirty deals.
Currie & Williams immersed in the times:
Examples to keep the rest in line.
Currie & Williams, two of a kind:
Examples to keep the rest in line.


"Mr. Heseltine Meets his Public"


Mr. Heseltine you drove into our town.
The northern rain always drizzling down.
Shoppers at the window stopped to look,
As you signed another copy of your book.
'Cause you have all the power
And you have all the wealth,
and we've got nothing but ourselves.
We've got nothing but ourselves.
We've got nothing but ourselves.

So we'll do away with leaders, bosses and police
Reclaim our actions, rediscover our voices
Salvage our integrity, reassert our dignity.
Power in the heart of the community.

Mr. Heseltine listen to me.
We don't want power
and we don't want money.
We're fighting for the right to decide
how the power and the wealth
be equally divided.
Old people in Seacroft need money for bills.
Single mums with kids want decent meals.
and we all want new coats
When all's said and done.
They're all worn out
From being walked upon.

There comes a time when we organize.
When we take control of our daily lives.
When we don't obey orders from authority.
When we disbelieve the myths of democracy.

Democracy Street, 
Britain's longest running soap opera, 
with the added illusion 
of audience participation. 
Our act tonight, on the left, 
capitalism that's right, 
on the right, 
capitalism is it, 
in the middle, 
probably the best capitalism in the world. 
Remember it's your choice, 
your five seconds worth of action that counts. 
I mean that most sincerely voters. 
Sit tight, keep quiet, 'till the next time. 
The next time being one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five days away. 
Well if freedom is the choice between greed and practically the same impression, 
then I'll take the one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five days. 
Never mind the ballots, 
here's the rest of your life.

Mr. Heseltine drove away.
Two more appointments in the north today.
Helpless and powerless,
we join the queue for the metro bus,
and Mr. Heseltine I've made up my mind.
I'll never give support to you and your kind.
And Mr. Heseltine I've made up my mind.
I'll never give support to you and your kind.
And Mr. Heseltine I've made up my mind.
I'll never give support to you and your kind.
And Mr. Heseltine I've made up my mind.
I'll never give support to you and your kind.


"The Candidates Find Common Ground"


"Full employment!
slave labour and schemes!"
"An unemployed workforce -
the capitalist's dream!"
("... But let's keep Britain working -
Either way we must keep Britain working...")

Conventional weapons,
to kill people nicely!"

"Nuclear weapons -
to keep the peace!"
("... But weapons, definately -
Either way we must defend ourselves...")

"Nationalization;
with one big boss!",
"No - privatization,
with lots of little bosses!"
("... But someone in control, of course -
Either way there must be someone giving orders.")

A toast to democracy.
The prison guard of this society
sides in the voting game.
Disappear into the same machine.

A toast!
to U.S. bases and nuclear weapons.
To stopping pickets pulling down fences.
To British troops in Northern Ireland.
To the wonderful victory in the Falklands.
To the plastic bullet and the riot police.
To the U.D.M. and the T.U.C.
To isolating gays and to law and order.
To richer bosses and poorer workers.

A toast to democracy.
The prison guard of this society
sides in the voting game.
Disappear into the same machine.
The same machine.

A toast
to longer hours and less pay.
To the courts.
(For those who get in the way)
To the beating of people who step out of line.
To the use of troops to break a strike.
To the expulsion of extremists,
To political with-hunts.
To repatriation and to benefit cuts.
To peaceful settlements.
And No-strike agreements.
To authority, to power, to governments.


"To the annual rise on the M.P.'s wage.
To vested interests, to privilege.
To the party who wins the next election
by definition, a victory to capitalism.


"... Here's the Rest of your Life"


Why settle for what we're shown
When there is so much more?
Sometimes the Book of Law
Is only half the story.

Means and ends:
Deciding where to draw the line.
Loss or work in Sellafield homes,
Or the threat of cancers yet to come?

The choice seems obvious:
There is no choice,
only the option of looking outside,
this narrow definition of "What you see is all there will ever be".
There comes a time - 
that time is now -
When every second, every day,
when every action, every thought,
Will tell the world how you cast your vote.

They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.
They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.
They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.
They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.
They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.
They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.
They break our legs,
and we say "Thank you" when they offer us crutches.

Tired of mild reform?
Sick of hand-me-downs?
We topple all the theories to the ground:

All real change
Must come from below.
Our bosses must live in fear
Of the factory-floor.

And when they smile
and they ask for my support,
I'll give them these words
And a bloody nose:

You don't help your enemy
When you're at war.

There are moments in all of our lives.
Tiny sparks still deep inside,
when a new-born baby cries,
when you're watching clouds in a summer sky.

The first time you walked out on strike,
love and sex and holding light,
things that can't be bought
by promises and votes.

I hate the things I love being criminalised.
I hate the straight-jacket schools I grew up in.
I hate M.P.s, judges and magistrates.
I hate being taught to base my life on TV stars.
I hate being kept waiting by bureaucrats.
I hate wars, and all the people who love them.
I hate the idea of living on other people's backs.
I hate being filed, registered and classified.
I hate being watched and monitored.
I hate police.
I hate the way you talk down at me.
I hate being told what to do.
I hate you when you don't listen.
I hate the way you distort my sexuality with pornography.

I hate the pain we inflict on each other,
on animals, and on the Earth.

And I hate how love songs have become such cliches
through endless, shallow repetition.

Each angry word.
Every cynical put-down.
Every song is carefully born
from a hope of something better to come.

All jumbled-up.
Love and hate and love.
Each prompted by the other:
For the cause of peace we have to go to war.

Refusing to sleep
Whilst there's a world to win,
yet happy to dream.
Dreams make the plans to change this world.

Not just some future heaven
but today and every day
in our place of work,
in the queue for the metro bus.

Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will run the factories and mills
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will educate ourselves.
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will work the fields.
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will police ourselves.
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will run the factories and mills
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will educate ourselves.
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will work the fields.
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will police ourselves.
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
..A tiny spark still deep inside.
Organize!
Here's the rest of our lives!
We can and will create and build.


"Adversity"


Thirty years of the same old shit
Of music, money, hit after hit.
Smiles, lies, sales, walls,
that's thirty years of rock and roll.
They changed it's name once or twice,
dressed it different, upped the price..
Get rebellious with a company deal.
Business thrives where honesty fails.
Contracts? Con tricks!

Sing revolution, wait 'til it starts.
One eye on the bank account, one on the charts.
Government-sponsored rebellion--buy it!
A bit more product to keep us quiet!


"Total Control"


Product sells, people die.
Same revolution, wrapped in lies.
In these sexist, drugged-up, rock and roll,
the biggest prizes to the biggest fools.

Ask the puppet-masters, "Who pull the strings?"
"Who makes the money when the puppets sing?"
Ask the corporations,
"Where does the money go?"
Ask the empty-bellied children,
"Tell me what are we singing for?"

Until we pull down the walls,
it'll stay the same,
until we find something new,
make it change.

I know there most be more
So what are we singing for?

These puppets, 
underneath the skin, 
have the same problems as you and me-
They want to be loved, 
don't know where to begin. 
Just a wall's width away, 
but impossible to get close. 
Offstage, with nothing to hide behind, 
the puppets are running away. 
And meanwhile, we're running away from ourselves... 
and meanwhile, we're running away from ourselves... 
and meanwhile, we're running away from ourselves...

If our music makes you happy or content,
It has failed.
If our music entertains, but doesn't inspire,
It has failed.

The music's not a threat.
Action the music inspires can be a threat!
I know there must be more...


"Revolution"


"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die fo..."

A dog stares into a gramaphone trumpet,
waits for his call to action.
Mute and obedient, standing to attention.
Look a little closer, the dog is a man
Working on the factory floor as hard as he can.
The trumpets is a loudspeaker,
fixed into the roof.
The man can hear His Master's Voice
And it always tells the truth.
The man obeys his master, 
and carries out his work,
and of course he is rewarded with bonuses and perks.
You see, they have an understanding
And this is it:
The man stands under his master
Whilst his master has a shit.

There's always been a pattern of struggle and defeat.
Never that cycle incomplete.
Never enough to tip the scales.
Too many people rotting in jails
or bloodied on the battlefields.

The history books from every age
have the same words written on every page.
Always starting with 'Revolution',
and ending with 'Capitulation'.

Always silenced by the truncheon
or bought out with concessions.
Always repetition,

repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition.

"I'm the boss of the factory.
I'm in charge of the U.K.C.
Shop floor workers run and fetch
as I sit around and smugly watch,
and the process makes me stinking rich'

We're all links in the factory chain,
and the chain grows longer day by day.
And whilst we're apart
The process won't stop.

Repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition,
repetition.

But we're kept apart by philosophies
and moral stances and policies.
We'll be stuck in our own little ghettos forever
'Til we start to work 

together.
Together.
Together.
Together.
Together.
Together
Together.
Together.

Together in the open or together in our little heaven?
Fighting for total change, or working for concessions?
Do we take what is ours, or ask that it be given?
Are we stealing it together, or asking for permission?

Even though we disagree we share a common enemy
Our methods may not be the same
but together we can break the chain.
Different aims, different means, with common ground in between.
Don't sit back, it's time to act.
This life is ours, let's snatch it back

Even though we disagree we share a common enemy
Our methods may not be the same
but together we can break the chain.
Different aims, different means, with common ground in between.
Don't sit back, it's time to act.
This life is ours, let's snatch it back

The time has come to make a choice.
Stop taking orders from His Master's Voice!










Soon to come downloads:

Be Happy Despite it all 1983 Sky and Trees
Revolution 1985 Agit Prop
Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records 1986 Agit Prop
Never mind The Ballots 1987 Agit Prop
(There is way too much material by this band, so I will only be uploading what I feel is their strongest material)

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for making the page, much appreciated. -- Joel

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks so much for posting this, some really rare photos here of chumbawamba in the old days. They were such an amazing band!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i see that Chumbawamba broke up thank god i never liked them even before they sold out so long to bad rubbish.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have you noticed that Rock Stars always seem to lie so much?
    Chumbawamba once said they cared - but he never really gave a fuck
    Ardent critics of big business - Dirty Fingers in Dirty Pies
    All the breweries fund the Tory Party - and now they gig for these breweries live

    Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba - You´re shiit
    Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba - You´re fücking shiit

    Why is it that Rock Stars always seem to lie so much?
    Danbert Nobacon once said he cared - but he never really gave a fuck
    Slagged off the music business, they were never going to toe the line
    Now roadies carry the gear as they sit backstage sipping wine

    Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba - You´re shiit
    Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba - You´re fücking shiit

    You must realise that Rock Stars always seem to lie so much
    Alice Nutter once said she cared - but he never really gave a fuck
    Come on baby do the Revolution - the sickening stench of hypocrisy
    Just a puppet of the music business, turning rebellion into money

    Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba - You´re shiit
    Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba, Chumbawamba - You´re fücking shiit

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for posting that stuff. I'm proudly owner of all vynil here reported. I miss them so much...pity that i see people that deserve a world of "Abba".

    ReplyDelete