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Mark Burgess (born 11 May 1960) is an English singer, bass player and songwriter. He was the lead singer, co-founder and main force behind English post-punk band The Chameleons. He currently resides in Germany and the UK.
Burgess 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 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, 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 whilst 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, Andy Clegg and Andy 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.
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 The Chameleons Vox, performing and touring Chameleons back catalogue material. He currently performs with John Lever's band, Bushart, throughout Europe.
Burgess toured the United States from 2009-2011, performing acoustic and live full band shows.