Filmmaker and former Chumbawamba member Dunstan Bruce has launched a funding bid on Kickstarter for new documentary project I Get Knocked Down (The Untold Story of Chumbawamba). The bid aims to raise £40,000 by Friday 31 July 2015. A wide variety of Rewards packages are available – from £1 to £5000.
How to survive as a political pop star, keep your friends, self-respect and sense of humour when everyone hates you
The Brit Pop 90’s: Cool Britannia was in full swing, the Oasis vs. Blur rivalry was simmering, people were using Friends Reunited to connect and the Nokia 3210 was the must-have tech gadget. And there was that song; ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again’: either the ultimate anthem of working-class perseverance or a deeply annoying novelty song, brought to you by a group of anarcho-punks living in a squat in Leeds.
Chumbawamba, the anarchists-turned international pop stars, will be reunited in a feature length documentary revealing for the first time the hilarious and surprising story behind their meteoric rise to fame, their infamous John Prescott moment at the Brits in ’98 and a legacy reduced to a dancing gorilla sold by Walmart.
This film – a modern day cautionary tale – is Chumbawamba vocalist Dunstan Bruce’s account of the rollercoaster ride that took them from DIY squat gigs to Madison Square Gardens and back again. A personal exploration of what happens when a political pop band accidentally have a worldwide smash hit and given their “15 minutes of fame” what they attempted to achieve.
Chumbawamba’s unconventional route to stardom started with 15 years of squat gigs, transit van tours, sleeping on people’s floors, bad haircuts, communal living and communal underpants whilst arguing the toss about syndicalism and class war. 15 years of fiercely preserving their independence, relying heavily on their fanbase that they spent years nurturing.
Then, in 1997, they controversially signed to EMI: a compromise they hoped would help them change the world for the better. Their single Tubthumping, instantly became a worldwide hit. Not quite what a bunch of self proclaimed anarchists from the north of England were expecting.
Instead of spending the money they made on fast cars or country piles, they started to funnel it from major licensing deals into causes they supported: striking dockers, anarchist radio stations, European community centres…whilst hoping they’d find a bit of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll along the way.
Despite this they were deafened by shouts of “Sell out!’ from their previously loyal fans who deserted them in their droves until in 1999 when the release of ‘What You See is What You Get’ hastened their return to obscurity, emptied their wallets and left them with virtually nothing.
(Maybe that’s what you get for trying to crack America with an anti-American album.)
As Dunstan revisits the 90s, some familiar Brit Pop era stars and all eight band members, he’ll capture their often conflicting accounts of one of pop’s most astonishing untold stories.
And it’s your story too!
We would love you to be a part of the story.
If you were there, at their gigs, in the squat, in the pub, we need your photos, home movie footage or flyers.
Whether you loved them or hated them, however that band or THAT song affected you, we want hear your stories. Surely someone can help Dunstan fill in the gaps?
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything to send us and we’ll let you know how even if your material is on VHS’s, old film tape etc. let us know and we can get it converted. You never know – you might just see your material in the finished film!