The CHAMELEONS – ” In Shreds ” 40 Years Today

Posted: March 27, 2022 in MUSIC

The Chameleons are an English post-punk band formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1981. The band consisted of singer and bassist Mark Burgess, guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding, and drummer John Lever. Their debut single “In Shreds” released in March 1982, was produced by Steve Lillywhite. The single’s cover – a harrowing painting by Smithies, who created the artwork for all of their releases – mirrored the band’s tense, atmospheric sound. During this time, the Chameleons’ independent style clashed with their label’s visions for the band. The Chameleons were protective of their image and consequently were dropped by the label soon after the release of “In Shreds”.

The band released their debut album, “Script of the Bridge“, in 1983. They followed it with “What Does Anything Mean? Basically” and “Strange Times” in 1985 and 1986, respectively, before abruptly disbanding in 1987 due to the sudden death of the band’s manager. After the split, Burgess and Lever formed The Sun And The Moon, while Fielding and Smithies formed the Reegs. Burgess also had a short solo career with backing band the Sons of God. The band were then inspired by U2’s early recordings : “U2’s first record was a big album for us. Edge’s guitar opened it up in terms of how you could build an ambient atmosphere”

Known for their atmospheric, guitar-based sound, the Chameleons are regarded as one of the most underrated Manchester bands of the 1980s. They did not attain the commercial success of other groups from the Manchester scene but developed a cult following.

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