Levellers PhotoFORMED: 1988

The Levellers formed in 1988, bringing together five Brighton, England musicians -- Mark Chadwick (vocals, guitar, banjo), Alan Leveller (vocals, guitar, Mandolin, harmonica), Jeremy Leveller (bass, bouzouki), Charlie Heather (drums), and Jon Sevink (fiddle). Forging out a pseudo-hippie, slightly punky folk-rock with a Celtic flavoring, the band released two EPs on their own Hag label in 1989, which led to a contract with Musidisc. The band released their first album, A Weapon Called the Word, in 1990; after its release Alan Leveller quit the band -- he was quickly replaced by Simon Friend. The following year, the Levellers left the Musidisc label, moving to China Records. Later in the year they released Levelling the Land, which entered the U.K. charts at number 14 and would later go gold. "One Way," the first single from the album, hit number one on the indie charts and the band's tour was sold-out. All of the success led to an American record contract with Elektra. The Levellers' success continued throughout 1992, with more sold-out European tours and the hit Fifteen Years EP; even with all of their success, the band was only able to make a small impression in America. Throughout 1993, the band worked on their second album, Levellers; in the meantime, they continued touring and released the singles compilation, See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Do Something. Levellers didn't contain the same amount of hits, nor did it earn the same amount of positive press as their debut, yet the band's devoted following did not diminish. Zeitgeist followed in 1995 to mixed reviews, and the group's following began to diminish somewhat. In 1996, the band released Live: Headlights, White Lines, Black Tar Rivers. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide