|Birth name Mark Burgess|
Name Mark Burgess
|Years active 1981-present|
Music group The Chameleons
|Born 11 May 1960 (age 55)
Manchester, England (1960-05-11) |
Instruments Vocals, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards
Associated acts The Chameleons, The Cliches, The Sun and the Moon, Invincible, Bird, Black Swan Lane, ChameleonsVox
Genres Post-punk, Alternative rock, Dream pop, New Wave
Albums Magic Boomerang, What Does Anything Mean? B, Zima Junction, Script of the Bridge, Why Call It Anything
Similar People Dave Fielding, Reg Smithies, David M Allen
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Mark Burgess (born 11 May 1960) is an English singer, bass player and songwriter, formerly the frontman of post-punk band the Chameleons.
Burgess (ex-the Cliches) formed the Chameleons in 1981, with guitarists Dave Fielding and Reg Smithies and drummer John Lever. After three full-length albums, the band split up in 1987, with the relationship between Burgess and Fielding particularly strained.
Soon after, Burgess and John Lever formed the Sun and the Moon with guitarists Andy Clegg (who had played keyboards with the Chameleons) and Andy Whitaker, releasing an eponymous 1988 album on Geffen Records before splitting up.
Zima Junction, Burgess' first solo album (under the name Mark Burgess & the Sons of God), was released in 1993, backed by former Wonky Alice guitarist Yves Altana, among others. The duo of Burgess and Altana issued the Paradyning album a year later.
In 1997, Burgess and Altana formed Invincible, recording the album Venus with drummer Geoff Walker in a water tower in North Manchester. The group toured the UK in 1998 with Phil Cuthbert playing bass and keyboards. Following the tour, Cuthbert left the group to pursue a solo career, at which point Burgess took over on bass, and Danny Ashberry was recruited to fill the keyboard/backing vocal role. After several concerts, Walker was replaced by drummer Craig Barrie. Upon the album's release in 1999, Invincible embarked on a successful UK tour, before the band disintegrated.
The Chameleons reunited in 2000 with all four original members, originally for several live performances in England. They eventually added Ghana-born percussionist/vocalist Kwasi Asante, releasing several live albums and one new studio recording, Why Call It Anything, and touring North America, before a final acrimonious breakup in early 2003.
Burgess and Altana next formed the band Bird, initially with Barrie on drums (supporting New Model Army on their UK tour). In 2006, they enlisted drummer Achim Faerber, playing a selection of Invincible and Chameleons songs interwoven with a selection of new material. In November 2006, Bird played a short set at the Middleton Civic Hall in Manchester as part of a benefit concert for lighting technician and ex-Chameleons live keyboard player Andy Moore, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour while touring with Jamie Cullum. Moore died one year later, in November 2007.
In 2007, Burgess joined forces with Jack Sobel and John Kolbeck, formerly of the Messengers, to form Black Swan Lane. Augmented by former Burgess bandmates Altana and Faerber, Asante, and guest vocalist Anna-Lynne Williams (Trespassers William), they soon recorded A Long Way From Home, issued on Eden Records. One of the album tracks, "In the Ether," was later featured in 2009 film Adventureland.
On 7 November 2008, Burgess, Sobel, Clegg and Whitaker performed a one-off concert as the Sun and the Moon in Atlanta, Georgia. During the rehearsals for this show, Clegg and Whitaker became involved in the writing and recording of the second Black Swan Lane album, The Sun and the Moon Sessions. Asante and Burgess friend Jimmy Oakes also contributed to the album, issued in June 2009.
The Mark Burgess autobiography, View from a Hill, was released by the independent Guardian Angel publishing house in 2007. On 18 April 2015 it was reprinted in a re-edited and revised "definitive" edition by Mittens On.
In November 2009, a five-song EP with producer Pocket was released, featuring two songs, "A Force of Nature" and "Heaven," with lyrics and lead vocals by Burgess. In 2009, Burgess reunited with Lever under the name ChameleonsVox, performing and touring Chameleons back catalogue material.
As ChameleonsVox, Burgess toured the United States and Europe from 2009-2014, performing acoustic and full band shows with varying backing musicians. They issued an EP, M+D=1(8), in November 2013, prior to the departure of Lever.
The latest ChameleonsVox lineup, featuring Burgess and Altana with Neil Dwerryhouse and Chris Oliver on guitars, embarked on a "We Are All Chameleons Farewell Tour" in the U.S. in 2015.
In 2016, Burgess contributed guest vocals to "On the Inside", a track from the album Choke by Portland, Oregon post-punk band Soft Kill.