The Chameleons: Strange Times
Produced by Dave M. Allen for Palace Productions
Engineered by Mark Saunders.
BIRDY - Bass, Vocals
REG - Guitar
JOHN - Drums, Percussion
DAVE - Guitar, Strings
All titles written by Burgess/Fielding/Lever/Smithies
except: 'John, I'm Only Dancing' - written by David Bowie, 'Tomorrow Never Knows' - written by Lennon/McCartney
This LP was well and truly produced by Dave M. Allen (not the brilliant Irish Comedian, the brilliant English Comedian) and was admiringly engineered by Mark Saunders (courtesy of West Side, London) and assisted by Paul Corcket and Beki, who also played some piano. The noise was created at Jacob's Studio which is in Surrey, a land of many mansions; nut "looks are deceiving" said the Gladiators and they were right! We'd like to say thank you to some people. Thanks Tony Fletcher, a rock of sanity in a sea of shit. Thanks Harvey and Anthony Addis for saving us from extinction. Thanks Andy and Spoonhead and Colin for helping out. Thanks WEA Records, London, particularly Alicia Winter (what a nice name) for coping with last minute chaos. Thanks Tom Zutaut for showing us what paradise looks like and a hello to everyone in paradise. Thanks Tony The Greek, the last DJ. Thanks to everyone in The Sun, Hawkshead, for being friendly. Thanks Jacob's staff for being great and waking me up every morning. Metaphorically and literally; Hello Chrissy; and thanks Bob Geldof for firing the starting pistol.
So here it is. LP number three. Who would've believed it, not me.
Some time in the afternoon,
I wish I knew what day it was,
Where am I?
Who am I?
P.S. Another splendid picture from Reg.
P.P.S. This record was made to be played loud.
Further notes by Mark Burgess:
Strange Times was recorded in 1986 and was our one and only album for Geffen Records. The producer, Dave Allen, had co-produced albums for the Cure and was introduced to us by Tom Zutaut, who now runs Enclave Records but who was then an A & R executive at Geffen. The album was recorded at Jacob's Studio in Surrey, south of London over a period of five weeks. Again the material was only loosely sketched and we didn't really have any idea how the album would turn out. We'd spent a month or so getting the ideas together living in a small house in the Lake District of England and rehearsing the ideas in a school hall, specially hired, just outside the village of Hawkshead. The lyrics and vocals were usually worked out the evening before or the day of the vocal take. One song on the album, Caution, was completely improvised on the mike once the backing track was laid down. The track Tears, is different from the version that came out earlier as a single. It was re-recorded here at my insistence. I wanted a more gentle treatment in accordance with it's main theme, the loss of a dear friend. During the recording John began playing along on the glockenspiel and we recorded that too. I had to fight to get the track to sound and feel this way but once it was finished everyone agreed that it was one of the highlights of the record. During these sessions we also recorded a version of Bowie's 'John I'm Only Dancing'. It came about one afternoon while we were hanging around waiting to start something. John Lever, the drummer, isn't actually playing a set of drums on the track. The Drums would have taken too long to set up and sound check so instead he ended up playing his drum cases! The recording was also one of the very first times anyone had attempted a whole side of cross-fades on SSL equipment, which meant that during mix-down everyone was strewn across the desk correcting pans and levels while the computer handled the changes in EQ. Just like the good old days! Although obviously the first album you make is always the most special, Strange Times is my favourite. Personally I believe it was the best lyrical work I'd done with the band and some of the best vocal performances and I think The Chameleons really began to mature and move forward with this album.