The atmospheric pop band the Chameleons
formed in Manchester, England, in 1981 from the ashes of a number of local groups: vocalist/bassist Mark Burgess
began with the Cliches, guitarists Reg Smithies
and Dave Fielding
arrived from the Years, and drummer John Lever
(who quickly replaced founding member Brian Schofield
) originated with the Politicians. After establishing themselves with a series of high-profile BBC sessions, the Chameleons
signed to Epic and debuted with the EP Nostalgia, a tense, moody set produced by Steve Lillywhite
which featured the single "In Shreds."
The quartet was soon released from its contract with Epic, but then signed to Statik and returned in 1983 with the band's first full-length effort, Script of the Bridge
. What Does Anything Mean? Basically
followed in 1985, and with it came a new reliance on stylish production; following its release, the Chameleons
signed to Geffen and emerged the following year with Strange Times
. The dark, complex record proved to be the Chameleons
' finale, however, when they split following the sudden death of manager Tony Fletcher; while Burgess
continued on in the Sun & the Moon
later reunited in the Reegs
. In 1993, Burgess
surfaced with his proper solo album Zima Junction
. He and his band the Sons of God
toured America the following year.
As the '90s came and went, the four members of the Chameleons UK
continued to work on music and see one another on a personal basis. While their own musical projects kept them busy, a reunion was practically inevitable. The Chameleons
reconnected in January 2000 to prep for three May dates in England. The acoustic-based, self-released Strip
was available by showtime and for a limited time only. Additional European dates followed throughout the summer, and by fall the Chameleons UK
played their first American shows in nearly 15 years. Several live efforts appeared shortly thereafter. Why Call It Anything?
(2001) marked the Chameleons
' first studio album since 1986's Strange Times
. This Never Ending Now
appeared two years later.