Feeder are a Welsh rock band, formed in Newport during 1992 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Grant Nicholas and drummer Jon Lee. Bassist Taka Hirose later joined after Grant responded to an advert. Jon Lee took his own life in January 2002 at his Miami home. Former Skunk Anansie drummer Mark Richardson was asked by Grant Nicholas to step in and record Comfort in Sound, he joined Feeder on a permanent basis and recorded two further albums. In April 2009 Mark Richardson parted company with Feeder and reunited with Skunk Anansie. Feeder have also been accompanied by touring members Matt Sime (keyboards; 2000–2002), Dean Tidey (guitar, backing vocals; 1998–present), Karl Brazil (Drums; 2009-present) and Dean Deavall (keyboards, backing vocals; 2008-present).
Feeder first saw mainstream success from their third album Echo Park (2001), and its first single "Buck Rogers", which became their highest charting single at the time. Feeder have won two Kerrang! Awards in 2001 and 2003 for "Best British Live Act" and "Best British Band", as well as charting 24 singles and eight albums, with six of those making the top 10 between 1999 and 2008. 2008's Silent Cry was a relative commercial setback for the band, but are still active and are currently recording their seventh studio album. Feeder have also sold over one million albums in the United Kingdom since 1997, with Comfort in Sound being their best-seller and first platinum album, with its last reported sales standing at 436,000 units.
At the age of 14, singer and guitarist Grant Nicholas joined a band called 'Sweet Leaf', named after a Black Sabbath song and were the first band he had seen play live. At this time Japanese bassist Taka Hirose and drummer Jon Lee were playing in different covers bands, but did not know each other at the time. While playing in different bands on the Newport gig circuit, Grant and Jon became friends. They formed an electronic duo called 'Temper Temper' after Jon left Newport band The Darling Buds. Shortly thereafter, they formed a band called 'Rain Dancer'. Both of these bands failed to win a recording contract, with the sound of the latter once being compared by Grant with that of The Waterboys.
Going back to the drawing board, they formed a three-piece band called 'Reel'. They fired their bass player and then changed their name to 'Real'. During this time they recruited Taka Hirose via an advert in Loot, which Taka placed himself. The band then changed their name to Feeder, named after Grant's pet goldfish. They won their recording contract with Echo after sending a demo tape, and then completed the deal after an employee from the label witnessed one of the band's gigs. A track from the demo entitled "Don't Bring Me Down", appeared as a b-side on the "Day in Day Out" single and is also a different version.
Early releases (1995–1996)
Feeder's first official release was a two-track EP entitled Two Colours, released in 1995 which was only available at the band's early gigs. It was limited to 1,500 CDs and 1,000 7" vinyls. In 1996, the band released their first commercially available release, being the EP Swim and received a 4/5 review in Kerrang! magazine (KKKK). Swim was later re-released in July 2001 with extra tracks, being a selection of b-sides from their earlier singles, alongside the videos for the Polythene singles "Crash" and "Cement". Overall unit sales for Swim, stand at 40,000 as of February 2005.
Shortly before the release of Swim, a cassette tape titled Two Tracker was given away free with the magazines Kerrang! and Edge and contained the tracks "Sweet 16" and "Waterfall". The latter was described on the inlay card, as one of the tracks that would be on their forthcoming debut album proper, with the working title Here in the Bubble (whose name was soon changed to Polythene). The photography for the inlay of Swim was produced by Grant himself, while Chris Sheldon produced the recordings. The band released "Stereo World" as its only single, after appearing at the Reading festival.
After building a strong fanbase with the release of Swim, the band released their first full-length album in 1997. The result Polythene, was voted the #87 best British rock album of all-time by Kerrang! magazine readers in January 2005. The album also won critical acclaim from Metal Hammer and Kerrang!, who placed the album at first and sixth in their respective end of year lists. Two tracks from Swim were used for the album, being "Descend" and "Stereoworld".
After the recording sessions were completed, the album's first single "Tangerine" was released and charted at #60 in the UK charts. This was followed by "Cement", charting at #53 and then the release of the album which charted at #65. Two more singles were released before and after their main stage debut at the Reading festival of 1997, with "Crash" making number #48, while "High" charted at number #24.
The album, as of March 2003, has been certified silver by the BPI for shipments of 60,000 units, with total sales of 89,000 as of February 2005. They also re-issued the album in October 1997 with "High" included, and the "Stereo World" b-side, "Change" replacing "Waterfall" from the original tracklist. Also included as an enhanced element was the video for "High". The album caused many critics to label the band "The UK's answer to the Smashing Pumpkins", and also draw comparisons to The Pixies and Talk Talk.
In early 1998, following the band's final 1997 tour in support of Polythene, the band travelled to the United States as a support act for Everclear. During their U.S. tour, the band released a re-worked version of "Suffocate" for UK release, which charted at #37. After their return to the UK, they played their own headline tour with Everclear this time in the supporting position. Later that year, Feeder started to play various music festivals in the United States, alongside a headline tour with "High" being released to radio stations and charting at #24 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart; it was the follow up to "Cement" which had charted at #31, also on the same listing. During the bands first U.S. tour, Grant broke his ankle and picked up other injuries, while finding it hard to sleep at nights. This inspired him to write "Insomnia", which later appeared on their second album. They stayed in the U.S. for the majority of the year, with a trip back to the UK for their V98 appearance. Feeder later included live-only guitarist Dean Tidey; Grant once said in an interview with Kerrang!, that he was considering bringing in another guitarist for their live gigs.
Yesterday Went Too Soon (1999)
For 1999's Yesterday Went Too Soon, the band decided to self-produce the album, brought in Matt Sime for engineering duties and had the album mixed in New York by Andy Wallace. "Dry" was re-recorded as a full band version after the original acoustic version appeared on "Suffocate" as a b-side. That single's b-sides featured tracks from the sessions for that album, therefore revealing what sort of direction it would take on. The working title for the album was originally A Life Through Headphones, and was originally set to be a double album. The name change was due to former Take That singer Robbie Williams releasing his solo debut album Life Thru a Lens, with the band not wanting to be compared to him.
When the album was released, the band's reputation was on the rise and it entered the UK charts at number eight, which was at the time an unexpected chart position for the band. Before that, the band had released the album's first single, "Day in Day Out", in March 1999 which charted at #31 followed by "Insomnia" at #22, resulting in their first appearance on Top of the Pops. A week before the album's release, the band played the main stage of the Reading and Leeds festivals, while the title track from the album was at #20 in the singles chart. The album was then released on 30 August 1999. Only one single was lifted from the album after its release, in which a re-recorded version of "Paperfaces" charted at #41.
Some of the album's lyrical themes were derived from Grant's personal perspective of working in a menial supermarket job on a daily basis ("Day In Day Out"), his experiences after gigs on their US tour ("Insomnia" and "You're My Evergreen"), past relationships (the title track and "Dry"), the music industry ("Hole in My Head") and "fear of commitment in relationships" ("Anaesthetic") amongst others. Musically, the album employed an indie rock feel to it, which also featured extended appearances of an acoustic guitar on some of its tracks.
The album was due for release in June, but this was delayed until August to include material written after its completion which the band felt was too good to leave off. Upon its release, the UK music press immediately warmed to the album, with Rob Fitzpatrick, then of Melody Maker, writing "an absolute stormer it is. Unmissable. Absolutely." The album also received the magazine's Album of the Week accolade. This enthusiasm was shared by Metal Hammer, who awarded the album a 10/10 mark. The year ended with the band providing support for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Wembley Arena and Manic Street Preachers at the Millennium Stadium. As of March 2003, the album has gone gold shipping 100,000 units in the UK, with total counter sales standing at 110,000 as of February 2005. The album was voted in 2005 by Kerrang! readers, at #73 in their British Rock albums of all-time list. It was Melody Maker's #24 album of 1999, while Metal Hammer placed the album in at #6 and Kerrang! ranked it at #16.
Echo Park and mainstream breakthrough (2000–2001)
Feeder spent most of 2000 at Great Linford Manor studios, writing and recording for their next album. The band also continued playing festivals around the country previewing the new material they were working on, such as V2000 and Glastonbury, but would end the year promoting "Buck Rogers", their first single since November 1999 and then playing a mini-tour at the end of the year to mainly showcase the new material. The release of the single on 8 January 2001 was coupled with a signing session at London's now defunct Tower Records store and then a TV appearance on Top of The Pops before the single charted. The single charted at number five, becoming the band's first top 10 entry in the singles chart before appearing on Top of the Pops again. "Buck Rogers" then spent a second week in the top 10.
Grant wrote "Buck Rogers" with The Pixies as an influence, but "on a comic book level". He had originally written the track for another band Echo Park producer Gil Norton was working with, but decided not to give it away, as he felt Feeder could have a hit with it themselves. "Buck Rogers" still receives airplay on radio station XFM, and in 2004 was voted their 25th best-track of all-time.
After a sell-out tour of two legs ending at the London Astoria, the album Echo Park entered and peaked at number five in the UK album charts, shortly after "Seven Days in the Sun", the album's second single charted at #14. A third single, "Turn" reached #27 before festival season. "Just a Day", a b-side from "Seven Days in the Sun", later reached #12. The response the album received on a critical level was mixed, with Dan Genroe of Q magazine claiming that the listener will still be "feeling hungry half an hour later", alongside suggesting that the album is "hard to love". Ben Myers of Kerrang! gave the album 4/5 (KKKK) which indicates "blinding", while citing that the band "hit their stride" on the album, alongside suggesting that the album is "fat free and stripped to the bone".
The album saw the band take on much more of a commercially influenced sound, and also the appearance of Moog synthesizers, while being lyrically focused on a comedic approach, like with "Seven Days in the Sun", but also dark emotions, such as those shown on "Turn", "Oxygen", and "Satellite News". It was during the campaign for Echo Park that the band played another slot on the main stage at the Reading and Leeds festival, including T in the Park. As of August 2003, the album has shipped 300,000 units in the UK going platinum, with counter sales standing at 293,000 as of February 2005. Grant said in a Melody Maker interview that if the album did not sell well enough the band would probably split up; he said at the time that "Its the same with any band. That's just the way the music business is. There is only a certain amount of money a label will put into a band. I'm just being realistic. We've been around for seven or eight years and I am not planning on giving up, but we're putting everything into this record and I'm just hoping that people like it". The album appeared at #25 in the best British rock albums of all-time list voted for by Kerrang! readers, and was the highest placed Feeder album. On August 28, 2001 the band won "Best British Live Act" at the Kerrang! awards, before ending the year supporting the Stereophonics on their UK tour, and then releasing the "Just a Day" single in December. The video in April 2004, was voted the 14th best rock video of all time by Kerrang! TV viewers. Two years later XFM listeners voted "Just a Day" as their 48th best track of all-time.
Comfort in Sound (2002–2003)
In January 2002, the band's drummer Jon Lee committed suicide in his Miami home, resulting in the band keeping out of the public eye for most of the year. It was during this time that Grant Nicholas wrote a series of songs relating to their emotions and reactions to Jon's death, which formed their fourth album Comfort in Sound. The band brought in former Skunk Anansie and Little Angels member Mark Richardson for drumming duties. The album focused mainly on themes such as loss, depression, grievance and positivity, while dedicating "Quickfade" to Jon. The album was released in October of the same year to widespread critical acclaim in the British music press, with Kerrang! stating that "Comfort in Sound harnesses the anthemic appeal of a latter day U2... and a quality that propels Feeder from the confines of the everyday into the neighbourhood of everyman..." and giving the album their Album of the Week award, alongside the heavy rock magazine Metal Hammer giving the album the similar accolade of Album of the Month while stating that it was "an album they should rightfully be proud of...". The band were invited to the Reading and Leeds festivals that year, making a low-key appearance by playing the second stage. Comfort in Sound was voted by Kerrang! readers as one of their top 100 British rock albums of all-time at #32. The album is currently Feeder's best-seller, with an estimated 436,000 units sold as of February 2005. During the year of the albums release, the band won a Pop Factory award for "Best Pop Factory Performance". The album charted at #98 in Japan and #28 in Ireland, beating the peak position of #57 that Echo Park managed during the previous year. In Japan, it would be the first time Feeder ever charted there.
It’s one of the best songs I’ve done, but we nearly didn’t do it. I wrote it right at the end of making Comfort in Sound, and our producer Gil Norton said he wasn’t sure we really needed another mid-tempo song. But when we played it, we all thought that it definitely did have something. Lyrically it’s quite dark but it’s still an uplifting song. This was the single that really made the album a success. It’s the kind of song I’d like us to be remembered for.
— Grant Nicholas on the second Comfort in Sound single, "Just the Way I'm Feeling".
Musically, the album was much more mellow, with the use of a string orchestra on "Forget About Tomorrow", while other tracks on the album also used an accordion, trumpet, and a piano played by their manager Matt Page, with "Godzilla" being one of two tracks on the album to use loud guitars. The album was their first release to be certified platinum, (with Echo Park going platinum later on). It also spawned their second top 10 single, with "Just the Way I'm Feeling" in January 2003. In December of the same year they took on their first arena tour, after the album's first tour was attended by over 60,000 fans. In reaction to this, the band were invited to the Glastonbury Festival being placed third on the last day, playing the "Pyramid Stage". Shortly after the release of the single, the band were invited to support Coldplay on their UK and European tour, due to their frontman Chris Martin often saying how much he liked the Comfort in Sound album and their live shows.
The album's final single, being the title track, was only available to buy as a limited edition of 3,000 CD copies on their 2003 arena tour. Four singles were released commercially, with those being "Come Back Around" (#14), "Just the Way I'm Feeling" (#10), "Forget About Tomorrow" (#12), and "Find the Colour" (#24), which was released following their V2003 appearance and Kerrang! award win for "Best British Band", beating competition from Muse and the Stereophonics, which Grant dedicated to Jon saying it was the award he had always wanted the band to win. The band later went on to win an Internet Music Award for their "Just The Way I'm Feeling" video, while the album became their first to appear on the end of year top 75 album charts, appearing at #66. The albums commercial reception, helped Echo experience their most successful financial year. Feeder then received their only nomination to date at The BRIT Awards, in which they appeared in the "Best British Rock" category at the 2004 event, before making their only appearance in the charts that year as part of Bob Geldof's Band Aid 20 charity ensemble, while the single was the Christmas number one, and became the year's biggest-selling UK single.
Pushing the Senses (2004–2005)
Feeder returned to the studio to record their fifth album Pushing the Senses. The album was seen by Grant as more of an extension to Comfort in Sound, as it focused on the same lyrical themes and musical styles, and also said that it had more of an organic sound, with more upbeat tracks added into the mix. It also seen a number of piano driven tracks, with "Frequency" being an example. "Frequency" was produced by Coldplay producer Ken Nelson, while for the rest of the album, Gil Norton was on production duties.
The album was Feeder's highest charting release, at number two on the UK album chart selling 42,951 units in its first week, while receiving a gold certification, and becoming a top 100 album in six other countries. Press response to the album was mixed, with Paul Brannigan of Q describing it as "An album that could finally establish Feeder as major league players", while Chris Heath of Dotmusic dismissed the album, saying "Pushing the Senses is by no means soppy, but Feeder's young fanbase might need some convincing". Kerrang! were brutal towards the band for all of their review, with Ben Meyers referring to them as a "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter", including comparisons to a "Pastel box". A year later the album was marked as "Avoid" in a round-up of the bands material, which included the usual Coldplay and Keane comparisons the album suffered on release. Grant later said in a documentary with Kerrang! Radio that he was "Pissed off" with the review their magazine counterpart gave them, while citing "It was a very unfair review and reviewed by the wrong person", alongside stating that if another journalist did it they would have had a much better result. It was the only review Grant was annoyed with, due to the magazine previously supporting the band since their early days. In a 2008 interview with Kerrang! on a selection of the bands singles, Grant expressed his annoyance with the Coldplay comparisons, in which he said they were only made because he played a piano on many of the tracks that were on the album.
Its funny, I don't even particularly like that song, I've always thought I was a pretty dark songwriter, and what do I finally get known for?. A throwaway pop song. But I really shouldn't complain, should I?. If it wasn't for "Buck Rogers", I probably wouldn't be here talking to you now.
The album helped them win a headline slot at the Download Festival, shortly before supporting U2 for a brief period on their Vertigo Tour, which was followed by an appearance at the Live 8 concert in Edinburgh (the second charity event the band played that year after Tsunami Relief Cardiff). The campaign in total spawned four UK top 40 singles, which included "Shatter", a reworked version of the "Tumble and Fall" b-side that became a double A-side with "Tender" (#11). Other singles included "Tumble and Fall" (top five), "Feeling A Moment" (#13), and "Pushing The Senses" (#30). "Tender" and "Shatter" both featured on the European release of the Russian film Night Watch; a fan-petition had been launched to see its release as a single in its own right. The album was after ten weeks on sales of 111,214 units, 22 percent ahead of Comfort in Sound at that stage. However the album did not keep up this momentum, and did not go platinum. The last reported sales were that of 160,183 in October of the same year, which fell below Echo's expectations. It is however the bands most successful record based on peak chart positions in each country of release, and their only album so far to spawn a charting single outside of the UK and Ireland when "Feeling a Moment" peaked at #32 in Australia. Feeder already at the time charted three top 50 singles in Ireland, with "Tumble and Fall" being their first and only top 40 to date reaching a peak position of #26. The album itself made the Irish top 20 artist album chart at #16, one week before its UK release.
In September 2005, Grant Nicholas was misquoted in an interview saying that the band were set to split, which caused the rumour to be reported on music television and radio. The band's website soon made an official statement that read "Contrary to inaccurate reports in the press and on the radio, Feeder are not recording their last album, nor set to split. An over-enthusiastic reporter seems to have put 2 and 2 together and come up with 43. Indeed the group are looking forward to the release of new single "Shatter"/"Tender" in October and a Far East and UK tour in November. They have already started writing new material for a Singles Album to be released in the New Year and a further studio album to follow the current album Pushing the Senses". Soon afterwards, in a Kerrang! interview, Grant said that the interviewer misquoted him, and that he said the next album would be Feeder's last album on their current deal with Echo, before deciding to either re-sign or look for a new label.
Feeder would end the year seeing their then latest album appear at #39 on Q's end of year list, with "Feeling a Moment" voted the 98th best song of the year by its readers, before winning an award for the album at the Pop Factory Awards in Wales. However, the previous day they were forced to postpone a winter tour, after Grant picked up bleeds on his vocal cords. During the year, Feeder's domestic studio album sales passed the one million units mark.
The Singles (2006–2007)
I’ve had people coming up to me saying that they liked the earlier singles but didn’t realise it was us that did them. It’s introduced a lot of our earlier singles to people. We’d had success early on but we weren’t huge. I thought the record had good tracks and the three new tracks made it completely new for our older fans. It took me a long time to sequence the album to make sure it flowed together properly. It wasn’t just a matter of shoving a load of singles on there.
— Grant Nicholas talking in 2006 about The Singles.
In late 2005, Feeder already returned to the studio, with Stephen Street working as the band's producer to record three new tracks to appear on their then forthcoming singles collection. "Lost and Found" (which Grant described as "an urban love song") became the first single to promote the collection, and would reach #12 in the UK singles chart in May 2006, after completing their delayed winter tour. The Singles, released in the same month as "Lost and Found", was the first Feeder album to have involvement from a major label, with EMI taking part in a one-off collaboration with Echo as the album's distributor. The album reached number two on the UK albums chart with first week sales of 50,003 entering at number three, and was certified platinum in under three months, with a total of 500,000 units shipped overall, including a gold certification in Ireland after charting at #13. The album also made the top ten in Europe with a debut top 40 peak in Japan at #37, while "Save Us" was its second and final single in the UK, charting at #34 in late July. A version of the album included a DVD of all their videos filmed up to that point, along with extensive sleevenotes by Ben Johncock, a freelance author and writer. The album became only their second to appear on the end of year top 75 this time at #48, while becoming their first album to spend more than one week on the top 10. Sales of The Singles, alongside a series of changes at Echo making them into an "Incubator label", enabled the company to report a "modest profit" for 2006.
Feeder returned to the Reading and Leeds festivals after a four year break, having a late slot on the main stage, before ending the year with a small tour of London, playing The Roundhouse, and The Coronet. Two of these three gigs saw guest appearances from The Sugababes and Jamelia, which were in aid of War Child who the band are patrons of, having earlier in the year visited The Congo as part of their work for the charity.
Silent Cry and Mark's departure (2008-2009)
In 2007 Feeder returned to the studio to record their sixth album. Most of the year was spent on the recording, and in 2006 the band announced in an interview with XFM that the album would be reminiscent of their earlier material. The album Silent Cry was released on the 16 June 2008.
Although the album pleased many fans, it was met with mixed reviews by critics, with Metacritic aggregating a mark of 56/100 from all reviews featured, only four marks higher than the 52/100 given to Pushing the Senses, which both indicate "Mixed or average reviews". Dom Gourlay of Drowned in Sound was very positive about the album, commenting "A remarkable turnaround then, and although not quite a 360 degree shift, this is a damn fine record that Feeder should be proud of", while The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan was very negative towards the album, claiming that the record and the band have always been missing "a distinctiveness from other purveyors of guitar-and-two-veg rock". Phillip May of Rocklouder however, gave the album four stars claiming that "If ever there was an album to win back those that grew tired of Feeder, its Silent Cry".
On its release week the album charted at number eight. In its second week the album then fell to number 30, with a third week drop to number 60 before leaving the top 75 albums listing. In Japan it peaked at #53 which is currently higher than all their studio albums, but lower than the peak of The Singles. Before the release of the album, "We Are the People" charted at #25 in the singles chart, making it their lowest chart position for a lead single since 1999's "Day in Day Out". "Miss You" from the album was given away by the bands official website as a free download in April, and gained over 8,000 downloads in its first day of release. As of December 2008, sales of Silent Cry stand at less than 50,000 units, less than was what hoped for by their label. Shortly after album release, the band recorded a cover of Public Image Ltd's 1978 self-titled single "Public Image", for a compilation album to celebrate Independents Day which celebrated independently released music. The second single from Silent Cry was Feeder's first download-only single, consisting of "Tracing Lines" and the album's title track which failed to make the charts. In an interview with Rocksound.TV, Grant said that he has already been writing for the bands seventh studio album.
In May 2008, the band played a small eight date tour to promote the album to the fanbase, which sold out in six hours. Which was followed by a one-off gig on 12 June at the Proud Galleries in Camden, which sold out in six minutes. The band then went on to play at the iTunes festival in July, which seen a live six-track EP release of their performance, before playing the 2008 Reading and Leeds festivals in August, on the main stage placed fourth. However, Slipknot after dropping out, were replaced by Bring Me the Horizon for the Reading leg, meaning Feeder were moved up to third spot. In July the band played at T in the Park, with an appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival the month previous. In 2008, the band also introduced live keyboard player Dean Deavall, of the band Casino.
In October 2008 during their 29 date UK tour, the band's crew bus caught fire on the M62 motorway whilst travelling between Glasgow and Lincoln, destroying it and the crew's personal items along with some of the tour merchandise. It was also announced by Chrysalis later on in the year, that Echo have been restructured into a copyright exploitation company, in which its main duty is maintaining the copyright on existing releases while no longer releasing any new records or signing any more artists. As a result, Feeder are no longer on a record contract in their own country, but are still signed to their respective European and Japanese labels.
On December 2, 2008, the band ended their tour at the Portsmouth Pyramids Centre, before starting their 2009 Japan tour in February. During the tour, a six track EP titled Seven Sleepers was released in Japan, that included B-sides from the Silent Cry album plus two new songs ("Snowblind" and the title track). In August 2009, Feeder then played the UK leg of Sonisphere Festival, stating that this would be their only UK festival appearance of 2009, as they would be working on their seventh studio album. It was then later announced that they would be appearing at the Hevy Festival in Folkestone. In May 2009, it was announced that Feeder "ended their partnership" with drummer Mark Richardson, before returning to his original band Skunk Anansie. For the bands summer dates only, Mark was replaced by Karl Brazil who had just came off tour with James Blunt, and also played drums for British band Ben's Brother.
|2001||Kerrang! Awards||Best British Live Act|
|2002||Pop Factory Awards||Best Pop Factory Performance|
|2003||Kerrang! Awards||Best British Band|
|2003||Internet Music Awards||Best Music Video Online||"Just the Way I'm Feeling"|
|2005||Pop Factory Awards||Best Album||Pushing the Senses|
Silver, gold and platinum records
|Yesterday Went Too Soon||UK|
|Comfort in Sound||UK|
|Pushing the Senses||UK|
Biography from Wikipedia