There's no denying Manchester's indelible stamp in the music history-books - Oasis, The Smiths, New Order, er, Take That - but many bands slipped through the cracks in fortune's floor, including The Chameleons. Doted on by a fiercely partisan following, both in the '80s and now, the band burst out of the non-descript Manchester suburb of Middleton, with unbridled energy, blistering music and savage songs, three very important ingredients for a great live band. And they were (and still are, by all accounts).
But internal wrangling, drugs, wrangling and more drugs tore the band and its personalities apart in the late '80s. Founder Mark Burgess, singer, songwriter and bassist, has probably faced more demons than Messrs Ryder, Michael and Osbourne could muster, some self-inflicted and some the result of being royally-shafted by the music-biz.
Problems aside, original Chameleons members Burgess, Lever, Smithies and Fielding knocked out three landmark albums in "Script of the Bridge", "What Does Anything Mean, Basically?" and their only true major-label album release, "Strange Times". As a band, they didn't really slot into any particular genre - edgy, loud and relentless normally translates as 'punk' or 'rock' and melodic, thoughtful and romantic could mean 'folk' or 'opera'. Let's leave the pigeonholing for now, shall we?
2012 sees the band continue their renaissance, with Burgess and Lever still in the band, plus several newbies from the Manchester scene - they've also got three big shows lined up for April, starting with Birmingham on 14th, Manchester on 15th and Islington's Academy on 21st. The latter goes on sale Friday 16th December at 9am, while the previous two are available now for £14.
Chameleons Vox are also playing two special festive shows at Manchester's Ruby Lounge on 22nd and 23rd December - the latter, which will be a 'first three albums' show, is still available for £12.