The Chameleons were formed in Middleton, near Manchester, in the early 80´s by Mark Burgess (bass player and singer), Dave Fielding (guitar and keyboard player), Reg Smithies (guitar) and Brian Schofield (drums), who would be substituted by John Lever. Thanks to the DJ John Peel, who received a cassette with their first recordings, The Chameleons was presented to the general public and they contacted CBS for the edition of their first songs. From this recordings their single In Shreds appeared, produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Simple Minds), with a similar sound to the early U2 but with more rage. Differences between the group and the record company, who wanted to take the band to a different kind of sounds, ended in the cancelation of the contract. Their debut album, Script Of The Bridge, was delayed until 1983 and it was edited by Statik records, being produced by themselves and Colin Richardson. This album collects extensively (almost 60 minutes) the basis of the typical sound of The Chameleons, with their guitars and keyboards drawing landscapes of sound.
Two years of silence followed their debut; time they took to focus on the tour and two more sessions for the John Peel programme. These two sessions gave birth to most of the songs contained in their second album, What Does Anything Mean? Basically, with themselves plus Colin Richardson as producers and where their personal style was strongly developed. The keyboards and the guitars take this time the leader role to emphasize their atmospheric sound.
It is not until 1986 with their third album, Strange Times, within Geffen Records and with Dave Allen as producer ( The Cure and Sisters Of Mercy ), when The Chameleons open their style to other kind of sounds adding acoustic guitars and more powerful percussions, taking the keyboards to a secondary role. This change of sound was not an abandon of their style but a necessary evolution. It is in this moment, with the edition of their more eclectic album when the death of their manager and friend, Tony Fletcher, unchained the events that leaded to The Chameleons extintion in 1987.
They disappeared just before their work was known by the worldc. They were cataloged within the Alternative Rock of the 80´s and thanks to a devoted audience their sound was not lost. As years went by and the different members of the Chameleons took different projects, pseudo-official albums with their early songs, demoes, rehearsals and concerts were edited due to the growing interest of the audience.
In 1996, under Dead Dead Good Records, it is edited the first official compilation of The Chameleons where some members of the band get involved. This Best of, named The Return Of The Roughnecks, included an EP recorded in 1987 just before their disolution called Tony Fletcher Walked On Water La la la ... This year their two first albums were edited under the same label and in CD format.
It is not until 1999, and due to the death of Adrian Borland ( leader of The Sound, another cult band in the 80´s and personal friend of the band ), when the four members of The Chameleons decided to come back to the stages as a whole band to perform some shows in Manchester and to remember those songs full of magic.
Thanks to the great welcome the audience gave to The Chameleons, they decided to record a new album in 2000 financed by themselves, a new album with acoustic versions of old songs called Strip including two new tunes. This is the return of The Chameleons to the stages and studios after fourteen years of silence. This year they performed an European Gig where many people could see their favourite band for the first time.
From late 2000 until the spring of 2001 The Chameleons record what will be the first album entirely with new songs since 1987. This new work, called Why Call It Anything and produced by Dave Allen with The Chameleons is edited under Artful Records ( label of de The Fall y The Durruti Column ) on July of 2001 in the United Kingdom. The edition for the rest of the world will be delayed until Sepetember due to promotional policies. The Chameleons decide to keep out of the mainstream of multinational record labels which surely would try to give another shape to their sound, aulthough it means to be out of the big means of distribution and promotion. Musically, this new album is another footstep without looking back. This time the sound is more acoustic and paused than in Strange Times, the bass guitar and the drums are relegated to the background and the guitars, the voice of Mark and the chorus of the rest of the band take place leading the sound. In some compositions they are helped in the percussions and in the reggae vocals by their close friend Kwasi Asante who already worked with them in the Resurrection Tour. The members of The Chameleons have evolved musical and personally during all these years, and this has to be reflected in these compositions of eclectic nature.
After the release of this albm, The Chameleons give some acoustic sets in October of 2001 and an small gig in Europe in December. The American release of Why Call It Anything is delayed until the beginning of 2002. On these dates, The Chameleons decide to release a double cd live album recorded on August of 2001 at the Academy in Manchester, where the new and old songs are played. This album called simply Live At The Academy closes a chapter long time opened, a live album which made justice to the quality of their live performances.
On the first months of 2002, The Chameleons enter the studio again, to carry on with the acoustic sessions the began in 2000 and where Strip was born. This time John Lever joins the rest of the band. This Never Ending Now is released in October of 2002. This year The Chameleons begin an American Tour to perform live the songs of Why Call It Anything.
From the last months of 2002 until April 2003, the band stays inactive and the members lose touch one from each other, perhaps due to the fact they do not live in the same country. This leads to a lack of communication and, bit by bit, missunderstandings start to appear between them and tension begins to grow once again. What it was supposed to be a Chameleons gig in Athens in April 2003, ends being a Mark Burgess solo gig, and at last some members decide to quit definitely due to their different points of view. The Chameleons split in Easter of 2003, after three years of activity since their reunion in 2000. Three splendid years in which a completely new work, two acoustic compilations and one double live album appeared. This has allowed that many fans could live again those days of old when The Chameleons were alive and kicking, and what it´s more important some others fans have been able to see play live for the first time one of the most specials and magic bands of the world.