It’s not uncommon for a musician to go back to their earliest influences when writing new material, but Jared Putnam, the leader of the March Divide has taken it a step further. He’s recorded five songs from the ‘80s, and Diffuser is pleased to premiere one of them with you: his take on Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon.”

"For some people, Culture Club defines cheesy pop from the 80's, and at the time, Boy George was even considered a bit shocking,” Putnam tells us. “Maybe that's a part of what got the band as much attention as it received, but I was six years old when this song was big, so I didn't have any concept of what was cheesy or shocking. If I grew up at some other time, maybe I wouldn't like Culture Club, because I might not be able to see through all of that. But I do! I think their songs are great and fun to play."

Putnam decided to record “Karma Chameleon” — as well as the Cure’s “Closedown,” the Bangles’ “Manic Monday,” Willie Nelson’s "Mamma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and ’Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” — while he was preparing his next batch of songs. He went into the studio and tracked them with engineer Mike Major, who also played keyboards. For Putnam, the original recordings all had special meaning for him.

"I feel like these are the songs that introduced me to music, around the age that I started to care," he continued. “People might write this off as a rehash, but that honestly didn't even occur to me until I was finished recording. For me, these songs are endearing. I was a little kid and these songs were on MTV. Everyone loves something about these songs."

In keeping with the theme, graphic designer Krist Kruger has given the Andy Warhol treatment to a photo of Putnam, and added the distinct hairstyle of the original artist.

Based in San Antonio, the March Divide has released three albums and four EPs since 2012, with the most recent full-length being 2016’s Saturdays. You can check out “Karma Chameleon” below and get more information on the March Divide’s original music at their website.

Listen to the March Divide’s Cover of Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”

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