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About Chameleon Red

About Chameleon Red Chameleon Red is a northeast Tennessee-based rock band from an alternate reality. In their world, it’s still the sunny seventies; musicians still play their instruments, write their own songs, and rock is king. Rock means a little of everything, mixed together and set to a backbeat.  So you might hear some old-time rock and roll.  Or soul.  Or country.  Or funk.  Or even some jazz. It’s all groovy, man. Have a nice day. In our world, they’re called retro, but Chameleon Red just keep on truckin’, heedless of trends and labels.

The band is currently promoting their second album, Skeleton Crew, the long-in-coming follow-up to their double-album debut, Transposition. Transposition, with its mix of straight-ahead rock, folk, country, blues, and soul, displayed the versatility of these musicians, and Skeleton Crew shows them expanding their musical palette, dabbling in funk, jazz-rock, reggae, and even raga-funk. The musical and lyrical diversity is apparent when one listens to the singles: "Westwood" is a slice of roots-rock; "Skeleton Crew" is danceable, menacing funk; "Impatience" is driving pop; and "Paragon" is smooth, jazzy soul. Chameleon Red draws upon a large variety of musical influences:  The Beatles, Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Parliament/Funkadelic, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and Talking Heads, just to name a few.  Lyrically, Skeleton Crew is concerned with the complexities of relationships, personalities, and the struggle to survive troubled times.  The tone of the album is varied, as well--sometimes contemplative, sometimes playful, now humbly grateful, now righteously indignant.

The two core members of Chameleon Red are multi-instrumentalists Wendy Hearl and John Franjione. The two are seasoned music veterans and have been playing together for the bulk of the last ten years, in Chameleon Red and other bands as well. Hearl, who has seven self-released solo albums to her credit, wears many hats in Chameleon Red, including singer, guitarist, songwriter, arranger, and producer. Franjione is also a man of many talents, handling bass and keyboard chores in addition to singing, co-writing and co-arranging. Chameleon Red formed during the recording of Hearl’s sprawling rock opera, Transposition, as a studio-based band, and despite some forays into live performance, has kept the focus on writing and recording the best music they can.

That’s really the whole point of Chameleon Red—to make good music. Trends and styles come and go, but great music is timeless, and it’s that timeless quality that Chameleon Red is always reaching for.