Written by: Alex Green
John Lever, the drummer for the Chameleons has died.
Lever was 55.
Details are few, but Chameleons singer/bassist Mark Burgess revealed Lever died, “following a short period of illness.”
Lever, who replaced original drummer Brian Schofield, played with the Manchester post-punk legends from 1981 to 1987. He appeared on all three of the band’s albums: Script Of The Bridge, What Does Anything Mean? Basically and Strange Times.
A drummer whose dark muscle punctuated the band’s driving sound, Lever was one of the most powerful and passionate players of the modern era.
After The Chameleons broke up, singer/bassist Mark Burgess teamed up with Lever in The Sun And The Moon, whose self-titled record came out in 1988, a year after the band’s dissolution.
Burgess and Lever teamed up under the moniker ChameleonsVox in 2009, wherein they played old Chameleons material, and released an EP in 2013 titled M+D=1(8).
Lever also played in Red-Sided Garter Snakes with Dave Fielding, who played guitar in The Chameleons.
On his Facebook page Burgess wrote: “I’m deeply sad to report that this afternoon I got the news that John Lever died this morning following a short period of illness. We want to offer our sincere and deepest sympathy to John’s mother, his sister and his two children at this terrible time. Obviously I’m shocked at the news and consequently I’ll be offline for a while.”
Lever’s girlfriend Lisa Rankin, who heads Sympathique Independent Music wrote: “It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I have to inform you that John Lever passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning after a short illness. Me, his sister Angela, mum, dad and the rest of his family would like to thank you all for your love and support over the last couple of weeks.”
Louder Than War’s John Robb wrote: “John was great company, a genuine character and typically northern musician and the only Blackpool FC fan I have ever met outside the seaside town – which is a bizarre twist that resulted from him seeing them win the anglo Italian cup back in the early seventies. Farewell John I have many great memories of you you crazy northern diamond.”