Chameleons : Classic or Dud

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With a new album due this year it's a good time to discuss the Chameleons.

An emotional inferno, or second rate Joy Div/ EATB copyists?

A guitar band of thrilling beauty, or sub-Goth trundles with bad production?

I'm somewhere towards classic, but not without reservations. More later.

Dr. C, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic, my second fave band of all time behind MBV, dedicated member of the on-line mailing list for about a decade, etc. etc. I will say that I think Mark Burgess' lyrics aren't as successful to me as other fans make out -- "Swamp Thing" succeeds almost in spite of them, being generally cryptic throughout, for instance. But many Chams fans I know often speak of a key lyric that has often helped them through tough times, so it might come down to individual appreciation and meaning there!

Beyond that, though, I don't think I would change a thing about them. Seeing the original line-up back together again late last year was an honor and a privilege -- one of the best shows I've ever seen. I have every last dug-out-of-the-archive recording, just about all the various solo and side projects, and await the new album with bated breath. Soon, soon...

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

A spectre is haunting I Love Music....the spectre of 1980s indie bands!

Anyway, I'm still not convinced by them. They're somewhat of a guilty pleasure - occasionally they'll hit on a nice guitar figure and their songs have a po-faced drive to them which can be really compelling (cf: "Swamp Thing", "Tears"). But the lyrics never move me - this wouldn't be a problem, but the amount of chest-beating effort that seems to go into putting them across irritates me given that so little is actually being communicated.

I think the Triffids did the same thing a great deal better when they had a mind to.

Tom, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I know what you mean Tom and without anyone having the balls to start The Smiths: classic or dud thread, I really want to but i'm afraid my mailbox will overflow if i do, before you know there'll be theological discussions if "How Soon is Now" was better than "Hand in a Glove". ;) Erm...on-topic again, I vaguely remember The Chameleons bot only by name, so now definitive C or D...although accusations of bad production look rather promising.

Omar, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic. Yeah the lyrics are a mite po-faced, but think of it as part of the whole performance, like the Buggles-voices on _Discovery_. Actually Burgess' lyrics aren't bad at all really. I think "Swamp Thing" is a weaker example as it's so grandstanding, phenomenal tune notwithstanding; try _What Does It All Mean? Basically_, which has a really nice nostalgia/regret theme that's a tad more understanded.

Anyway, the lyrics are the least of this band. We're talking TOONS with TWO GUITARS, and lots of subtle *studio trickery*. Yeah! The fact that they perhaps anticipated a lot of awful bands (Coldplay, etc.) can be balanced by the fact that they also anticipated a number of good ones (House Of Love, Ride, Kitchens Of Distinction, Puressence, "Bends"-era Radiohead).

Tom you have a point about The Triffids; I think _Born Sandy Devotional_ especially is *better* at doing what The Chameleons were sort of doing, but I still like The Chameleons more as a band.

Tim, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Omar - Any Smiths-bashing you want to start, I'll back you up.

The Chameleons... based on 1 or 2 songs I last heard 13 or 14 years ago, a big dud. That kind of indie stadium-rock smells vaguely like a U2 without songs or charisma for people who think they're too cool for U2. I'm being unfair, sure, but most of their fans seem to be a)anglophiles or b)goths - two strikes against them right there. Unless you're Joy Division, those odds are practically insurmountable.

Patrick, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I find that the Chameleons often walk a thin line between mannered bludgeoning and thrilling power. When it works ('Up the Down Escalator', 'Thursday's Child', 'Nostalgia') it's usually because they coupled the energy to a good tune.

The production is often dodgy, especially the second album. It's difficult to make something with so many layers of flange and echo sound crisp and driving. It often sounds like there are some great ideas trying to get out of the soup. I have all the albums on vinyl, so I'd be interested in hearing whether CD sound has improved the sound or not. I'd exempt 'Strange Times' from this criticism - it sounds just fine.

Burgess's lyrics aren't great - too much 'Pleasure and Pain' / 'Heaven and Hell' cliches for me, but it's not a big deal as I don't really care unless lyrics are REALLY bad.

I probably play Strange Times more than any other Chameleons album, although I have a soft spot for 'The Fan and the Bellows'. Some of the pre-first album tracks really motor (better drummer).

I've spent a lot of time picking holes here, but I think the Chameleons were an admirable band who could've achieved a lot more. It will be interesting to hear them in 2001.

Anybody remember the Reegs?

Dr. C, Friday, 16 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

A better drummer than John Lever? Okay, *here* we differ.

I've heard the U2 conundrum before -- the fact that I think the Chameleons do right what U2 ended up doing wrong (insanely, horribly wrong, though I'll allow for some of the singles and B-sides -- a minor percentage out of an ever more annoying career) perhaps betrays my hand. ;-) That some people think they're too 'cool' for U2 may be the case (and I'm sure is), but I couldn't give a fuck about cool. I give a fuck about the music, and on that standard, Chameleons yay, U2 boo.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 16 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

To me, Ned, Lever's drumming is a weakness, although he is fine on 'Strange Times'. Instead of propelling them forward, his style seems to often leave them jogging on the spot. He's not the most agile of drummers. Not a big deal though.

Dr. C, Saturday, 17 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Odd -- I consider Lever's general approach to be a near perfect combination of complexity and propulsion (with an admitted debt on his part to the drummer of the Comsat Angels -- can't recall the feller's name right now). The two live shows I've seen with him backing Burgess (one solo, one with full Chams line-up) pretty much confirmed it.

I should also say that I'm a total sucker for the production on _What Does Everything Mean?_. Thick, tangled, shimmering -- can't say no.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 17 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I can't think of a finer way to spend an evening than a transatlantic debate about the merits of early 1980's drummers, but I always was sad. Mic Glaisher is the Comsats man - and yes, a fine drummer. Good live - I once got hit by a flying stick of his. Anyone looking for some fearsome samples should listen to his work on 'Sleep No More'. Maybe someone has.

Dr. C, Sunday, 18 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

_Sleep No More_? Brilliant album, etc. At this rate we should start talking about the Sound.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 19 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

The Sound! Three great albums (the first three) and a good live album. Never liked their later stuff - a little bland and lacking fire. I wish they'd followed the direction suggested by 'All Fall Down' - a few more risks would have been good.

A band that truly deserved more success - if they had been a little bit more fashionable it might have happened for them. In around 1982/3 I think they were just a killer song away from a big hit. Perhaps the right support slot would have done it? Perhaps if they'd have been from Dublin or Manchester instead of Wimbledon? Perhaps with the right haircut....? Aw, who cares? They were great anyway.

I met Adrian a few times before he died - he was using the same rehearsal rooms with his band - and he was a genuinely nice guy, happy to talk about his days in The Sound. He was looking forward to all the albums coming out on CD.

Dr. C, Tuesday, 20 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

two years pass...
hmmm, this was a group that i missed the first time round. i really wonder why -- maybe because they broke up just as i was becoming aware of indie music (in 1986), or maybe because i saw this album cover and feared the worst?

the album cover sucks, but they're classic ... then again, i just discovered them!

Little Big Macher (llamasfur), Monday, 20 October 2003 17:39 (eighteen years ago) link

Man, I like that album cover. Much of it matches the music brilliantly, a mysterious nostalgia. But then again, as my previous posts on the thread have indicated, I'm quite biased.

The most recent album, Why Call It Anything -- given a miserably botched release in the States, it was downright painful to see how practically nobody at the recent shows last year here knew about it -- shows that they still have got it, but in a generally more quieter and contemplative way than before (they can and do still rip out the older stuff fantastically, though). There were some rumblings earlier this year that the band had fallen out again, but those seem to have been quelled for now? Hopefully so -- the solo show by Mark back in June was excellent as always, but it's all about all four of them playing together. Even one missing member in the lineup is really noticeable.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 20 October 2003 17:49 (eighteen years ago) link

I think they HAVE still fallen out. Just after time they were supposed to play in Greece (April?) a massive bitch-fest between Mark and Dave appeared on their message forums;

Which was rather grim :-/

Just had a quick peek at the forum and, noticably, there are threads about different solo things... but no 'Chameleons' news.


Muppet Boy, Monday, 20 October 2003 20:52 (eighteen years ago) link

Hrm hrm hrm. Unfortunate. I had heard otherwise.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 20 October 2003 23:15 (eighteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
What the hex - revived due to this shortlived thread:
Gratuitous Chameleons Appreciation Thread.

I think I've listened to those first three albums so damn much that if they ever lose the masters, they could probably press up fresh copies just using coronal sections of my brain.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 17 June 2004 14:29 (seventeen years ago) link

I was thinking of them last night actually, due to being brought up in an AIM chat. While I know all the songs even more backwards and forwards than ever before, I think, I don't always listen to them all that often now. That said, the semi-acoustic Never Ending Now album from late 2002 was quite lovely, and if that is how the band ended up bowing out one more time, there were worse ways to go.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 17 June 2004 14:35 (seventeen years ago) link

All the Chameleons threads are really short!
I was looking at Chameleons "Swamp Thing".. best song ever ?, and I will throw my hat into the pile of those who understand that "Soul In Isolation" OWNS.

Barry Bruner (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 17 June 2004 14:41 (seventeen years ago) link

I am listening to Looking Inwardly now...and it's making me very happy!

ddb (ddb), Thursday, 17 June 2004 14:42 (seventeen years ago) link

I was a huge Chameleons fan in '85 or so. But I really don't find myself pulling them out now. I hate to say "dated" but there are other things I was crazy about in 1985 that I'm far more likely to pull out.

Bimble (bimble), Thursday, 17 June 2004 14:49 (seventeen years ago) link

A band I discovered because of ILM (and Ned, I guess). I've heard 2 albums now. Strange Times is the better of the 2 I've heard so far. Just full of great guitar moments. "Seriocity" and the 2nd version of "Tears" definitely do it for me.

kickitcricket (kickitcricket), Thursday, 17 June 2004 16:33 (seventeen years ago) link

I guess what I mean is not so much that they're dated, but that I've overplayed them. I agree Strange Times is the one to get. I agree with Barry that Soul In Isolation "OWNS" but the problem is I've played it so many times it doesn't own like it used to. I thought the reunion album was terribly disappointing except for that one track (an instrumental?) that had a kind of Arabic feel to it, if I recall correctly. The album I mean is Why Call It Anything...Ned confused me when he talked about something called Never Ending Now. I don't think I've never heard of that.

Bimble (bimble), Thursday, 17 June 2004 19:15 (seventeen years ago) link

Chameleons on the AMG -- where I go on about just about everything, including Neverending Now.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 17 June 2004 19:21 (seventeen years ago) link

I'll check it out when I get home, thanks Ned. (right now I keep having to sneak back here quickly when the boss isn't looking ;)).

One more thing on this topic: I'd like to defend Reg's cover art for their albums. I've always been impressed by how much detail and care and hard work he puts into the sleeves. Unlike today's computer graphics where you can just slap something together in no time.

Bimble (bimble), Thursday, 17 June 2004 19:45 (seventeen years ago) link

but the problem is I've played it so many times it doesn't own like it used to
That's what it's like for me with "Swamp Thing". However, it used to get loads of alternative radio and club play, so I had several more years to have it wear on me. Whereas I didn't hear the rest of "Strange Times" until the mid-90's.

I was thinking about starting a thread along the lines of "Albums that are great but you're bored sick of the singles/most popular tracks" (this occured to me while listening to "Disintegration" recently). But I couldn't think of any other good examples at the time.

Barry Bruner (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 17 June 2004 19:51 (seventeen years ago) link

I've heard the U2 conundrum before -- the fact that I think the Chameleons do right what U2 ended up doing wrong (insanely, horribly wrong, though I'll allow for some of the singles and B-sides -- a minor percentage out of an ever more annoying career) perhaps betrays my hand

I agree with you Ned. It always kind of pissed me off that people who were so completely ga-ga about The Edge's too-much-delay swampy guitar sound never seemed to notice that Reg was doing it better and without being part of a load of pompous asses.

martin m. (mushrush), Thursday, 17 June 2004 22:08 (seventeen years ago) link

I have one Chameleons album that I literally have not played since. literally, '88 or '89. A friend told me they were the greatest, so I bought "What Does Anything Mean? Basically," listened to it twice, and never listened again...

Until now....

Sounds better than I remember...

Anything know this album? 'Intrigue in Tangiers" sounds good. Some of it sounds like Breakfast Club music (the movie, not the band), I'm sorry to say. Very '80s and synthy.

shookout (shookout), Friday, 18 June 2004 00:08 (seventeen years ago) link

That was their synthiest album but it would be a bit of a stretch to call it synth-pop. Almost closer to neo-prog than that (though not really that either!).

Maybe The Church's mid-eighties synth work is roughly comparable?

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 18 June 2004 00:24 (seventeen years ago) link

I've found a lot of Church/Chameleons crossover among fans -- not universally but it's pretty strong. There's a similar affection, for lack of a better word, which seems to tie a lot of people together there, a similar sense of...well, Beatles-via-glam, but less one that emphasizes good times/party hearty as it does some kind of dreaminess. If you look at the two studio covers of Bowie the Chameleons have done, "John I'm Only Dancing" was far more of a jokey goof than anything else the band recorded, but "Moonage Daydream" was sung and designed for something serious.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 18 June 2004 01:16 (seventeen years ago) link

Wow, it's good to be home and read the rest of this thread in peace.

I was delighted to read they'd covered "Moonage Daydream" - I do believe that's my favorite Bowie song and I'm not a huge Bowie fan. I'll have to check that album out for sure.

The production on What Does Anything Mean...I'm glad someone mentioned that. I can see how that would totally sound wrong to someone's ears who hadn't heard it at the time (much the way I feel about Loop's Heaven's End in retrospect). The thickness sounded really great at the time, it just worked. Although I do think Strange Times would be the one to get if you hadn't any Chameleons at all, What Does Anything Mean has always seemed like a more consistently great album. Also considering the production of it, I find it interesting in retrospect that there was no such thing as shoegazing yet, no frame of reference!

But seriously, I get so tired of people saying Chameleons are 'goth' (much the way they naively say that of The Church, a band I'm sorry to say have meant a lot more to me over the years than Chameleons) and lazy U2 comparisons. I remember asking Mark Gardner, lead singer of Ride, once if he liked Chameleons, and he mentioned something about " rock" or some such dismissive thing. I think a lot of people just don't understand the Chameleons, because they really can't be easily compared to anyone else. The Chameleons are just their own thing, in my opinion. I don't mean to say they were radical pioneers, necessarily, but they just had a style that was doomed not to ever fit comfortably inside any of the convenient categories of fashion.

I agree there seems to be a crossover with Church fans as well, Ned. I was thinking about this not too long ago, about how there's just a certain audience that have certain bands in common like that. Come to think of it, The Church is also another band difficult for a lot of people to understand or put in categories, while not saying they were radical pioneers, either.

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 18 June 2004 03:54 (seventeen years ago) link

I remember asking Mark Gardner, lead singer of Ride, once if he liked Chameleons, and he mentioned something about " rock" or some such dismissive thing.

HE'S one to talk.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 18 June 2004 04:03 (seventeen years ago) link

Ha ha, yeah. Exactly. Seriously, that was probably my longest post ever on ILM. I'm almost embarassed, but at least I got it out of my system!

Another band that occurs to me to fall in the category of "doomed outsiders of fashion": Adorable. Do you like them Ned? Oh, I know, I a search. Frankly, I can't be bothered at the moment, don't mind me, I've obviously had a few drinks and plan on departing here for another website soon, anyway...

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 18 June 2004 04:29 (seventeen years ago) link

Doesn't Gareth love Adorable?

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 18 June 2004 05:07 (seventeen years ago) link

weird that this thread got revived tonight. i was listening to coldplay's "moses" just now (i know, i know, but i heard it on an in-flight radio station last week and it caught my ear) and thinking that it sounded like the chameleons (and u2, and echo and the bunnymen, and maybe a bit of pablo honey-era radiohead). was gonna mention this to ilm in some context or another.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Friday, 18 June 2004 05:14 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh Goody! Why this is just delightful! Now I have full license to admit (on a Chameleons thread no less) that Coldplay's "Moses" OWNZ!!!! Come out of the closet you British music devotees!!!~! It's now or never!

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 18 June 2004 06:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Damnit I'm putting on that song right this minute. It's been too long.
Thanks Cindy.

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 18 June 2004 06:24 (seventeen years ago) link

Always thought 'Yellow' sounded very chameleonesque whilst on certain substances!

college rocker, Friday, 18 June 2004 17:22 (seventeen years ago) link

The Fan and Bellows compilation is a good place to start listening to them. I thought as the albums progressed the music got better and the lyrics worse (talking about Barclays loans yeuuch!)Production on 'What does anything mean? basically' is a problem if you don't like goth.

Incidentially I went to a huge goth night in leeds a couple of years ago where they played Swamp Thing and it rammed the dancefloor!

flowersdie (flowersdie), Friday, 18 June 2004 17:28 (seventeen years ago) link

Coldplay wants to sound like all those bands...and fails. But I digress. Adorable are quite fantastic.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 18 June 2004 17:55 (seventeen years ago) link

Classic. And my love for the Chameleons is heightened by the fact that my first concert I ever attended was a Chameleons show with the Mighty Lemon Drops opening in a small cafeteria on the campus of the University of Buffalo in 1986.

I also remember an art project I had in high school where I had to redesign an album cover - I chose Scrpit of the Bridge. I used the Union Jack and thought it was pretty cool, but it certainly wasn't.

metfigga (metfigga), Friday, 18 June 2004 18:10 (seventeen years ago) link

The peel sessions disc OWNS. Why oh why is this out of print?!

JC (JC A.), Friday, 18 June 2004 19:40 (seventeen years ago) link

seven months pass...
I just bought a used LP of The Sun and the Moon's s/t album. Mark Burgess and John Lever of the Chameleons plus guitarists Andy Clegg and Andy Whitaker--it's all very good, all very Chameleons-like. Anyone else heard this?

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Yes. It was great. Haven't heard it in a long, long time though.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:12 (sixteen years ago) link

Rockaction (the ILMer) just convinced me to buy Strange Times, and (aside from being arguably the cheapest worthwhile full-length album on the market) it's pretty good. I don't think it sky-rocketed into my top 10 of all time or anything, but it might be enough to get me to check out some of their other work. "Tears" alone is worth the price of the record... $6.99, that is.

poortheatre (poortheatre), Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:27 (sixteen years ago) link

There's a Sun and the Moon CD out (and now I think out of print) -- The Great Escape -- which collects everything that band did, with the exception of their Alice Cooper cover "Elected," though that ended up on a recent Mark Burgess compilation.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:41 (sixteen years ago) link

Ned, I'm surprised you didn't give Strange Times the big FIVE STARS on allmusic. Would they not let you? Does it have to be an album that everyone considers to be a, er, masterpiece? (Someone should also explain why Fear of Music gets dissed.)

poortheatre (poortheatre), Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:52 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Listening to Script of the Bridge for the first time in a while and it's all beautiful all over again.

"If this is the stuff dreams are made of
No wonder I feel like I'm floating on air..."

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 20 March 2006 20:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Great call for a gray Monday, Ned!

Classic, classic, classic.

The guitar riff on the track you quoted is amazing and timeless (and just as influential today as any JD riff).

(Saw them a few years ago at Kintting Factory- they still sound great!)

Giles Manius (jsoulja), Monday, 20 March 2006 20:33 (fifteen years ago) link


Austin, Sunday, 18 September 2016 01:31 (five years ago) link

I was hoping it would show up on a Strange Times reissue.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 18 September 2016 01:45 (five years ago) link

You need all three albums, no question. The "Tony Fletcher" EP is available on the "Dreams In Celluloid" comp of early material, so it won't be redundant, and is also available cheaply.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 18 September 2016 03:58 (five years ago) link

Thank you very much. I heard the first three albums a decade ago and its nice not having to pay for an overpriced Best Of to get the EP.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 18 September 2016 11:57 (five years ago) link

five months pass...

Absolutely awful news -- John Lever has passed.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:13 (four years ago) link

oh shit. wouldn't have been the same band without him, imagine 'soul in isolation' without JL

Benylin Ascent (NickB), Monday, 13 March 2017 17:18 (four years ago) link

Yeah I keep turning over so many different fills and breaks of his in my mind. Just would NOT have been the same, indeed.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:23 (four years ago) link

Ouch. That is indeed unsettling news.

Austin, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:38 (four years ago) link

LIstening to soul in isolation on this, fantastic, thanks Ned.

wishy washy hippy variety hour (Hunt3r), Monday, 13 March 2017 19:09 (four years ago) link

You're welcome of course. I'll have a piece running in the Quietus tomorrow.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2017 19:36 (four years ago) link

RIP :(

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Monday, 13 March 2017 19:39 (four years ago) link

Way too young. A remarkable drummer in terms of what he didn't do, powerful without overpowering.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 13 March 2017 20:58 (four years ago) link

One of my favourite little bits of JL is that minute and a bit outro of On The Beach where the drums smashing through at the end of each bar, wave after wave onto the shore

Benylin Ascent (NickB), Monday, 13 March 2017 22:23 (four years ago) link

Terrible news. I also thought of "Soul in Isolation" first, now it's time to reckon with "In Shreds," "Nathan's Phase"... jeez.

geoffreyess, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 02:30 (four years ago) link

Giving a listen to the Live in Toronto album from the Strange Times tour now. They played San Diego that tour, and had I been just a bit more aware or on top of things, I suppose I could have gone or tried to go, but I was still very much a top 40 kid, wouldn't've known. Though I did see the reunion tour of course, I really can't complain.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 02:48 (four years ago) link


example (crüt), Tuesday, 14 March 2017 02:52 (four years ago) link

Man, what sad news. A lot of the Chameleons sound comes down to how powerful his drum parts were

Vinnie, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 05:00 (four years ago) link

My Quietus memorial is live:

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 13:32 (four years ago) link

Well said, Ned

Vinnie, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 14:14 (four years ago) link

great piece ned

nxd, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 14:15 (four years ago) link

Thanks kindly.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 14:21 (four years ago) link

Another farewell to him, from Black Swan Lane's Jack Sobel

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 16:44 (four years ago) link

four months pass...

oh my gosh, that is both brilliant and hideous

plp will eat itself (NickB), Thursday, 10 August 2017 17:53 (four years ago) link

found amidst table of wizard of oz collectible plates and figurines at yard sale in illinois, so nutty. old lady next to me was like "is that suppose to be one of them oompa loompas...or ?"

popcorn michael awaits trumptweet (Hunt3r), Thursday, 10 August 2017 18:13 (four years ago) link

LOL. Can just imagine the Mrs' face when comes home with that.

Tonight I Cut My Temple Teeth (Tom D.), Thursday, 10 August 2017 18:43 (four years ago) link

one month passes...


Shart Dressed Man (kurt schwitterz), Thursday, 14 September 2017 05:33 (four years ago) link

Touring now, going to see Mark and the latest band in Boston on Sat night.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 14 September 2017 12:44 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

Who sang the first track on Tony Fletcher?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 8 March 2019 20:13 (two years ago) link

Mark sings everything. Except for the toast on WCIA.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 9 March 2019 03:16 (two years ago) link

I hadn't realized that those Dreams In Celluloid recordings were non-studio album tracks. Started to realise when I heard "Everyday I'm Crucified". Cant forget a lyric like "I think I know how Christ felt when they killed him on that hill, pissed off!"

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 9 March 2019 21:59 (two years ago) link

"Denims And Curls" sounds like a Morrissey song.

Another song on the EP sounds like a full-on "wake up sheeple" thing. Didn't notice until several plays that he was doing a sheep "baaaaa".

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 22 March 2019 18:22 (two years ago) link

four weeks pass...

Tony Fletcher (the person and the music recording) are both essential to life.

Listening to that album for the first time in ages. The mix still leaves a lot to be desired, but it's just about impossible not to marvel at how good they were. Any 'Mad Jack' is bound to be good, but man they rip through it here. Probably my favorite recording of the tune.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 20 April 2019 02:04 (two years ago) link

Holy shit, I forgot they do 'In Answer' on here as well. This song is absolutely gorgeous. Always has been.👍🏻

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 20 April 2019 02:10 (two years ago) link

Yeah, there's a dearth of great live recordings from the "Strange Times" tour.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 20 April 2019 03:32 (two years ago) link

I don't think I will ever tire of hearing them move from the brute, maniacal charge in the first section to the sound of souls exiting in the second half of 'A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days.'

Would still argue that's one of their absolute best; and one of the most "zeitgeist-esque" songs of the era.

Mark relaying the situation in one summed up and terrifying question after the outburst:

"`Have you killed her?`, someone said." is one of the darkest and most intense moments in recorded music, I'd reckon. Makes me scared to visit northern England for sure.

But also somehow one of the most profound and beautiful codas I've ever heard.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 20 April 2019 14:16 (two years ago) link

xpost -- At least there's Live in Toronto. I know I have one other bootleg kicking around.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 20 April 2019 16:42 (two years ago) link

I used to have a boot from the Philly show but lost it years ago. I recall it being better than "Toronto".

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 20 April 2019 19:42 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

i used to love the Mission UK, they are so bad. just another U2.

Bee OK, Friday, 8 October 2021 23:29 (two weeks ago) link

hmm, dave not involved with the chams. those dudes have been through it. has anyone heard any of his stuff post-reunion? last i knew, he was in a band called coconut dogfuck but i never checked it out. he strikes me as a very misunderstood person, just in general.

glad to see mark has reconciled with reg to the point that they can share a stage again. wonder who's going to be on drums - i didn't see any details in the link.

in any case, yes the mish are quite boring.

things repeat forever and there never is a remedy (Austin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 00:42 (two weeks ago) link

is there a rundown of the beef between Mark and Dave somewhere?

aegis philbin (crüt), Saturday, 9 October 2021 00:50 (two weeks ago) link

well, mark's book was about two-thirds about exactly that, so lol not really.

it stems from mark and dave both having gigantic egos and was really ignited by mark pressing up unreleased chameleons recordings and selling them without asking all of the other members of the group (though he did give them a part of the profits) [citation needed].

i think that sums up the genesis of their beef, but there is a lot more.
how they ever got back together for the reunion boggles my mind.

things repeat forever and there never is a remedy (Austin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 01:25 (two weeks ago) link

The unreleased stuff, that's what came out on Imaginary Records - "Dali's Picture", "Here Today", those albums, right?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 9 October 2021 04:23 (two weeks ago) link

not the imaginary stuff; that was after they had somewhat come to an agreement. the initial conflict was over the glass pyramid stuff, i.e. the tony fletcher ep. from what i understand, the band agreed when they went their separate ways in 1988 that those recordings were "not finished" and therefore would not be releasing them.

basically summarizing from mark's book. as one-sided as his story is, it is pretty illuminating as to why those guys have such a strained relationship. considering they split on even worse terms after the initial reunion, i wonder how this new incarnation came to be.

all of this just makes me sad thinking of jon sitting back there pounding away at "soul in isolation."
you know he'd be involved in this new tour if he was still alive.

things repeat forever and there never is a remedy (Austin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 13:34 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah that's why I can't be bothered with this. Having seen Mark solo throughout the 90s, even with John on drums at points, he was absolutely essential there, but no guitarists could even approach the perfect flow of Reg and Dave together -- when I saw the 2001/2002 shows it all made SENSE, it has to be the quartet or nothing when it comes to Chameleons songs. I did see Mark solo with a backing band later in the 2000s and it was a solid enough show, but when he started doing that ChameleonsVox approach I was out, and now that John's gone, I'm sorry, but the band has definitively ended, no matter what label is being used. I'd think that even if Dave was on board.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 9 October 2021 15:55 (two weeks ago) link

I'd think that even if Dave was on board.

― Ned Raggett, Saturday, October 9, 2021 8:55 AM

inclined to agree here.

at this point, the innerband conflicts are becoming their most known legacy; and half of the band playing as "THE CHAMELEONS" doesn't seem like the kind of thing one does to extend the olive branch.

though i doubt most folks seeing them on this kind of bill really care. i do genuinely believe that mark feels like he is "giving the fans what they want."

things repeat forever and there never is a remedy (Austin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 16:57 (two weeks ago) link

Have seen chameleons vox a couple of times not really sure what to expect, but hearing Mark singing those songs right there in front of ne, it was impossible for me not to get swept away

primate marmite (NickB), Saturday, 9 October 2021 17:18 (two weeks ago) link

see that's the thing: he is an outstanding performer. i saw him play one of his post-reunion pre-chamsvox pick up band gigs and it was fucking awesome. he played a bit acoustic before the proper set and he was taking requests for the sun and the moon songs, for fucks sake.

like i said, the guy seems to genuinely love his fans as much as they love him. and he has a gigantic ego, so he loves the attention it brings.

things repeat forever and there never is a remedy (Austin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 19:37 (two weeks ago) link

also i didn't mean that ego thing in a demeaning way. don't get me wrong or whatever.

things repeat forever and there never is a remedy (Austin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 19:46 (two weeks ago) link

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