Joseph Gentile: The Anarcho-Punk History of Chumbawamba

Bandcamp, April 7, 2022

Chumbawamba is as punk as it GETS. No, really: Chumbawamba, the band that was on MTV and the radio every 37 seconds, the band that had the one-hit-wonder jam “tubthumping” about drinking whisky and getting knocked down, the band that was played at your junior prom, was actually rooted in anarcho-politics and wrecking the system the entire time that they enveloped pop consciousness. In fact, they had been pumping out the anarcho-punk tunes and supporting direct action measures for 15 years before their massive smash!

By blending elements of punk, folk, dance, and pop into a singular racket, they established a distinctive sound with disruptive appeal that snuck into the mainstream without anyone noticing their anarcho-punk bona fides before it was too late! And now, 2022 marks four decades since the band first began their radical mission and you can still hear “tubthumping” on the radio…and most people still don’t know about the band’s punk rock platform.

So, to mark the group’s 40th anniversary, Bandcamp spoke to Chumbawamba’s Dunstan Bruce, Danbert Nobacon, Alice Nutter, and Boff Whalley about the band’s early anarcho days.

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