A stunning collection of rare and candid photos taken on the road, on stage, backstage and at rehearsals by long-time friend and part-time band member / manager Tony Skinkis, documenting the iconic Manchester post-punk band The Chameleons from 1980 up until 2020 in their latest incarnation as ChameleonsVox.
This is the first time many of these photos have been seen, lovingly collated in cahoots with Moochin’ About.
“My fascination for photography began in 1966 when I got my first camera - a Kodak instamatic, I've been taking photos ever since, for me photography has always been about capturing the moment - a documentary really - to preserve that moment in the blink of a shutter. Photographing The Chameleons has been a big part of that timeline.
“She glances at the photo and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes...” - Tony Skinkis
The atmospheric post-punk pop band The Chameleons formed in Manchester, England, in 1981: vocalist/bassist Mark Burgess, guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding and drummer John Lever. 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 were soon released from their contract with Epic but then signed to Statik and returned in 1983 with the band’s first fulllength, ‘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. Burgess and Smithies now continue under touring under the guise ChameleonsVox.
The Chameleons have had influences on many artists, including The Flaming Lips, The Killers, Interpol, The Editors, Slowdive, The National, The Verve, Moby and Oasis. ‘Strange Times’ especially seems to be an influence on main songwriter Noel Gallagher, who posted on his Instagram account, citing The Chameleons as an early influence on his songwriting: “I’d forgotten how much ‘Strange Times’ meant to me. It came out in ‘86. I was 19!! I’ve been listening to it every day since and I have to say it’s blown my mind, again! It must have influenced my early years as a song writer because I can hear ME in it everywhere!!”