Danbert NobaconView in iTunes
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As the former vocalist and keyboardist of British anarchists Chumbawamba, Danbert Nobacon (real name: Nigel Hunter) spent more than a decade rallying against the record industry before that very same industry made him an international star. The Leeds-based Chumbawamba formed in 1982 and quickly became part of the anarcho-punk movement, often playing benefit shows in support of animal rights, antiwar movements, and the eradication of world hunger. Like the rest of the band, Nobacon sustained himself financially by working part-time jobs, playing solo shows, and funneling all possible profits into the band's successive albums. Chumbawamba's profile slowly increased, giving Nobacon less time to pursue his solo efforts, and the band's exhausting touring schedule landed them on the roster of One Little Indian in 1993. In a move that angered much of their original fan base, Chumbawamba left Indian to sign with major label EMI in 1997, despite having contributed music to an anti-EMI compilation the previous decade. The decision nevertheless turned out to be quite beneficial, as the band's next single, "Tubthumping," became a Top Ten hit in both America and the U.K. Nobacon was now a star, but that didn't mean he had to behave himself. While attending the 1998 Brit Awards, the singer poured a jug of water over U.K. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's head. He also took to calling himself a transsexual, often dressing up as a nun during performances. Chumbawamba unfortunately failed to match the success of "Tubthumping" in future years, and Nobacon left the band in late 2004, citing an "artistic deep freeze" as his chief reason for departure. Chumbawamba soldiered on without Nobacon, albeit as an acoustic act. In the year following his exit from the band, Nobacon began playing solo gigs once again, having abandoned the practice 15 years prior. The Library Book of the World, which featured appearances by Jon Langford (the Mekons) and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, was released in 2007. ~ Andrew Leahey