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Feeder

[fee-der]

Feeder are a British rock band formed in Newport, South Wales in 1992 by singer/songwriter/guitarist Grant Nicholas and drummer/guitarist Jon Lee. Although the bands early styles were associated with Kerrang! magazine, Feeder have also incorporated styles of indie and piano based rock into their sound, including the use of Moog synthesizers.

Feeder's founding members underwent several projects, before forming the band and getting signed in 1994. These consisted of a few bands they played in including a stint as sound engineers, before forming a rock band called 'Reel' and sacked their bass player before replacing him with Taka Hirose, who placed an advert in Loot. After getting signed the band already changed their name to 'Real', before switching to their permanent name of 'Feeder'. In 1996 the band recorded their critically acclaimed long-player album debut Polythene, for release in 1997. The band then released Yesterday Went Too Soon in 1999, but did not break into the UK mainstream music market until 2001 when their third album Echo Park, became their first ever certified seller and with the lead single "Buck Rogers", making the top ten of the singles chart for the first time in their career. The following year drummer and founding member Jon Lee died on 7 January 2002, after committing suicide in his Miami home. The group took time away from the public eye, such as the media and spent time apart while Grant spent time in a recording studio writing songs resulting from their loss. Later that year, the band having already decided to continue, played the Reading and Leeds festivals on the second stage and then released their fourth and best selling album, Comfort in Sound which was also their first platinum seller.

The band's next album, Pushing the Senses (2005), was not as well received in sales, and was their first album to reach the top three in the UK album charts, when it entered at number two. Feeder declined in awareness, with their release of their sixth and current album Silent Cry in 2008, which charted at number eight becoming their sixth top ten album, while being negatively received in overall sales. This has not however made the band quit, as Grant said in an interview that he is currently writing for their seventh studio album. Two years prior, the band shipped (as opposed to over the counter sales) over 500,000 copies of their compilation The Singles in the United Kingdom.

Feeder have sold over one million albums domestically, while Comfort in Sound has sold an estimated 436,000. Feeder have currently recorded twenty-four UK top seventy-five singles, and eight UK top seventy-five albums, while The Singles was a European top ten album, and also made the top 40 of the Worldwide charts. They have also been accompanied by touring members Matt Sime (keyboards; 2000–2002), Dean Tidey (guitar, backing vocals; 1998–present) and Dean Devall (keyboards, backing vocals; 2008-present). Feeder have also won two awards from Kerrang! magazine for "Best British Live Act" in 2001, and "Best British Band" in 2003, having already after the 2002 awards gained three top twenty singles from Comfort in Sound, with the album also already been certified platinum.

History

Formation (1992-1994)

At the age of 14, singer and guitarist Grant Nicholas joined a band called 'Sweet Leaf', named after a Black Sabbath song. Black Sabbath was the first band Grant had seen play live. At this time bassist Taka Hirose and drummer Jon Lee were playing in different covers bands. While playing in different bands on the Newport gig circuit, Grant and Jon became friends. They decided to train to become sound engineers, but found they were more interested in performing instead of recording bands. They formed an electronic duo called 'Temper Temper' after Jon left the Newport band The Darling Buds. Shortly thereafter, they formed a band called 'Rain Dancer'. Both of these bands failed to become successful. The latter's sound was described by Grant as 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 Japanese bassist Taka Hirose via an advert in Loot. 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 sealed 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 new version.

Early releases (1995–1996)

Feeder's first official release was a two-track EP, Two Colours, 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, the Swim EP, on the Echo label. The EP was given a 4/5 review in Kerrang! magazine (KKKK).

Shortly before the record was released, a tape called Two Tracker was given away free with Kerrang! magazine, and contained the tracks "Sweet 16" and "Waterfall". The latter was described, on the inlay card, as one of the tracks that was on their forthcoming debut album proper, then entitled Here in the Bubble (whose name was soon changed to Polythene). Some of the photography for the EP's inlay 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.

Polythene (1997–1998)

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 eighty-seventh 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 place in their 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 number sixty in the UK charts. This was followed by "Cement", charting at number fifty-three and then the release of the album which charted at number sixty-five. Two more singles were released before and after their main stage debut at the Reading festival of 1997, with "Crash" making number forty-eight, while a new song entitled "High", charted at number twenty-four.

The album, as of March 2003, has been certified silver by the BPI for shipments of 60,000 units. 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. The band's tour of the album took place in April before the release of the "Cement" single, and continued after the release of the album.

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" back home in the UK, charting at number thirty-seven. After their return to the UK, they played their own headline tour, this time Everclear was in the supporting position. Later that year, Feeder started to play various music festivals in the States, before a tour took place with "High" being released to radio stations and charting at number twenty-four; it was the follow up to "Cement" which had charted at number thirty-one. During the bands first U.S. tour, Grant broke his ankle and picked up other injuries, and he said he used to find it hard to sleep at nights, which 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 introduced a live guitarist, Dean Tidey, who plays at the band's gigs. Grant had said, in a 1998 interview in 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 their sessions for the album and revealed the sound of this new album. 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 did 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. Before that, the band had released the album's first single, "Day in Day Out", in March 1999, which charted at number thirty-one, followed by "Insomnia" at number twenty-two, 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 number twenty 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 number forty-one.

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"). 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 the Manic Street Preachers at the Millennium Stadium. As of March 2003, the album had gone gold, shipping 100,000 units in the UK. The album was voted in 2005 by Kerrang! readers, as the seventy-third best British Rock album of all-time. It was Melody Maker's twenty-forth top album of that year, while Metal Hammer placed the album in sixth. Kerrang! ranked it at sixteenth.

Echo Park (2000–2001)

Feeder spent most of 2000, at Great Lindford 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 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 ten entry in that chart, before appearing on Top of the Pops again.

Grant wrote "Buck Rogers" with The Pixies is 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. The single appears in many all-time lists generated by XFM and Kerrang!, with a 2004 peak of number twenty-five in the annual XFM list.

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. A third single, "Turn" reached number twenty-seven before festival season. "Just a Day", a b-side from "Seven Days in the Sun", later reached number twelve. The response the album received on a critical level, was mixed with Dan Genroe of Q magazine, claiming that the listener will still "feeling hungry half and hour later", and suggesting that the album is "hard to love". Ben Meyers 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-Leeds festival and also T in the Park. As of August 2003, the album has shipped 300,000 units in the UK, going platinum. 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 "It's 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 was voted the twenty-fifth best British rock album of all-time by Kerrang! readers, and was the highest placed Feeder album on the list. 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.

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 decided to play at 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 one-hundred British rock albums of all-time in thirty-second place, while being the highest-placed 2002 album on the list. The album is currently Feeder's most successful, with an estimated 436,000 units sold.

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 sold all it's 60,000 tickets. In reaction to this, the band were invited to the Glastonbury Festival being billed 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" (number fourteen), "Just the Way I'm Feeling" (number ten), "Forget About Tomorrow" (number twelve), and "Find the Colour" (number twenty-four), which was released following their V2003 appearance and Kerrang! award win for Best British Band, 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. Their efforts also helped them receive their only Brit Awards nomination to date, 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 2004's biggest UK-selling single.

Pushing the Senses (2004–2005)

Feeder returned to the studio to record their fifth album. 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.

As a result, 2005's Pushing the Senses received criticism from long time fans and critics. 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 one-hundred album in five 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".

It's 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.

— Grant Nicholas talking about "Buck Rogers" in a 2005 edition of Q magazine.

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 album in total spawned four UK top forty singles, which included "Shatter", a reworked version of the "Tumble and Fall" b-side that became a double A-side with "Tender" (charting at number eleven). Other singles apart from "Tumble and Fall" (which charted at number five), included "Feeling A Moment" (number thirteen), and "Pushing The Senses" (number thirty). "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, twenty-two percent ahead of Comfort in Sound at that stage. However the album did not keep up this momentum, and did not go platinum like the presucsessor. The last reported sales were that of 160,183 in October of the same year.

In September 2005, Grant Nicholas was misquoted in an interview that the band were set to split, which caused the rumour to be reported on music television and radio. The band's website soon denied the claims, making 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 number thirty-nine on Q's end of year list, with "Feeling a Moment" voted the ninety-eighth 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. After the tenth week figure of Pushing the Senses, Feeder's domestic studio album sales stood at over one million.

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 on the sales performance of The Singles.

In 2006, Feeder 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 number twelve 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. The album also made the top ten in Europe and top 40 in the Worldwide charts, while "Save Us" was its second and final single, charting at number thirty-four 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.

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. In summer 2007, the band headlined the Redbourn Music Festival after also headlining the Loch Lomond festival in Scotland.

Silent Cry (2008)

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 out of five, and claimed that "If ever there was an album to win back those that grew tired of Feeder, it's Silent Cry".

On its release week the album charted at number eight. In its second week the album then fell to number thirty, with a third week drop to number sixty before leaving the top seventy-five albums listing. Before the albums release, "We Are the People" charted at number twenty-five in the singles chart, making it their worst 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. To date, Silent Cry is Feeder's only studio album not to pass the 60,000 mark for a silver certification. 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. It was originally planned to be a CD single release of "Tracing Lines" only, but was later changed to a download only single, much to a negative reception from the fanbase. The single itself failed to chart, and had no new original material on the tracklisting.

Despite the albums relative underwhelming sales, Grant said in an interview with Rocksound.TV, that he has already been writing for the bands seventh studio album, and also discussed the possibility of signing to a new record label.

In May, 2008 the band played a small eight date tour to promote the album to the fanbase, it sold out in six hours. The band then went on to play at the iTunes festival in July, which seen a live six-track EP release of their performance, then announced their own twenty-eight date tour which will take place in October and November, and appeared in August at the 2008 Reading and Leeds festivals, once again on the main stage billed fourth. However, Slipknot after dropping out, were replaced by Bring Me the Horizon for the Reading leg of the festival, meaning Feeder were moved to third spot on the lineup. They ended their set with a cover of "Breed" by Nirvana. 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 Devall, of the band SpiderSimpson. In a recent 2008 interview, Grant Nicholas stated that Feeder are recording new tracks with producer Gil Norton, while still to decide if they will form an EP, or be a part of Feeders seventh studio album.

Awards

Award shows
Year Award Category For
2001 Kerrang! Awards Best British Live Act
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

Gold and platinum records

Recording Silver Gold Platinum
Polythene UK
Yesterday Went Too Soon UK
Echo Park UK
Comfort in Sound UK
Pushing the Senses UK
The Singles Ireland UK

Discography

Feeder have released several albums and singles. The group's releases have mostly received high chart positions, but have had less critical and overall commercial success than some of their contemporaries. In terms of singles charts, the group's greatest successes were with the 2001 and 2005 releases of the singles "Buck Rogers" and "Tumble and Fall", which both reached number five on the UK singles chart. Comfort in Sound is the group's best-selling studio album, reaching number six on the UK album charts upon its release in 2002. The highest chart position of any of their albums is for Pushing the Senses and The Singles. The studio and compilation albums both reached number two in the UK.

References

External links

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