Q Magazine

Chumbawamba Becomes the Latest Artist to Complain About a Politician's Use of Their Music (No, It's Not Donald Trump)

The UK band is disgruntled by New Zealand’s deputy prime minister Winston Peters - who leans to the right, politically - using "Tubthumping."

wills q template
Source: AK Press

Chumbawamba, as pictured on the cover of their 2006 album 'A Singsong & A Scrap'

By
Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

When it comes to politicians who've inspired artists to send cease-and-desist letters to get the politician to stop utilizing their music in advertisements or during public events, it's unlikely that anyone is going to top the work of Donald Trump, who's caused so much fury with so many different people on this front that there's an entire Wikipedia entry devoted to all of the incidents when it's happened.

Now, however, a new politician has entered this particular ring: Winston Peters, the deputy prime minister of New Zealand, has managed to majorly annoy the former members of Chumbawamba by using their worldwide hit single "Tubthumping" at his rallies and events.

Article continues below advertisement
wills q template
Source: Chumbawamba

The cover art for Chumbawamba's 1997 album, 'Tubthumper,' featuring the title track that became the band's biggest worldwide hit single

"This is all kicking off," wrote the band in a post on their Facebook page. "Some mini-Trump in New Zealand totally not getting how egregious we think he is…" But the post also provides a link to a BBC News piece in which former Chumbawamba lead guitarist Boff Whalley is quoted from a statement that he sent to the famed news organization.

"Chumbawamba wrote the song 'Tubthumping' as a song of hope and positivity, so it seems entirely odd that the 'I get knocked down...' refrain is being used by New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters as he barks his divisive, small-minded, bigoted policies during his recent speeches," wrote Whalley. "Chumbawamba would like to make it clear that we did not give permission for Peters to use the song and would ask him to stop using it to try to shore up his misguided political views. Chumbawamba does not share any of Peters' ideas on race relations and would like to remind him that the song was written for and about ordinary people and their resilience. We have asked our record company Sony to issue a cease and desist notice.

"As noted in the article, the song was most recently used in advance of a speech where Peters spoke about plans to remove gender and sexuality lessons from the school curriculum and said that the NZ First party and their supporters have a "real chance to take back our country."

Article continues below advertisement

As noted, the politician who's become best known for having his music choices struck down by artists who want nothing to do with him or his politics is Donald Trump. Perhaps the most vocal of the initial burst of artists came from Michael Stipe from R.E.M., who reacted to the use of "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" at a 2015 Republican rally featuring Trump and Ted Cruz, among others.

“Go f--- yourselves, the lot of you—you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men,” Stipe said in a quote emailed to The Daily Beast. “Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”

But Trump certainly isn't alone on this front: Bruce Springsteen has been shooting down Republican usage of "Born in the U.S.A." since the Reagan administration, and the late John McCain disgruntled a few artists as well, including ABBA, who weren't in favor of his use of "Take a Chance on Me."

Indeed, there have been more than enough such incidents to fill a proper playlist, so that's exactly what we've done, including everyone from Adele to Neil Young and plenty of folks in between.

Article continues below advertisement

Never miss a story — sign up for the Q newsletter for the latest music news on all your favorite artists, all in one place.

Advertisement

Subscribe to our newsletter

your info will be used in accordance with our privacy policy

Read More