images-3We are sorry to hear of the death of John lever the drummer with Manchester band The Chameleons.

A key member of one of Manchester’s most loved bands, Lever was the engine room for some of the greatest songs of the post punk northern eighties. For many in the north the band’s melancholic and melodic power was equal to Joy Division and both bands were equal in size at the time. The Chameleons may have had to settle for cult status but on and off reformations in the past few years have proven the huge loyal and deep love for the band.

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.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. John was an old friend…i hadn’t seen him for a long old time but we had ‘hooked up’ again through Facebook over the last few years…

    i won’t get a chance to chat about ‘the old days’ now…loved him to bits, the mad bugger…

    i hope him and Kelvin Knight are giving it ‘the Glitter Bands’ to all the arseholes in music heaven…

    RIP my friend…officially devastated….Ian J xx

  2. Just got in from work to hear this absolutely dreadful news.

    RIP John, I’m now going to play Soul in Isolation, very, very loud in your honour.

  3. Rest in peace John, top guy, top drummer. Going to treasure my used drumstick you gave me at The Witchwood.
    P.s goodbye.

  4. Amazing drummer. Actually told me to get drumming and that at 18 it wasn’t too late. Always blown away by his sound at Middleton Civic. Nice guy Im gutted.

  5. I didn’t learn about this until a few months afterwards. I just came across this website and so I would like to leave my condolence to the Family of John Lever, including the Band Members who were much like an extended family to John. Rest In Peace, John. You’ve past this test and moved on to a greater existence.


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