Click on these links to go to this area of the page Feeder from 1999 Story behind "Buck Rogers" title Perhaps you don't know this?
Two thirds Welsh and one third Japanese, Grant Nicholas (lyrics, vocals, guitar), Jon Lee (drums) and Taka Hirose (bass, backing vocals) are Feeder. Signed to indie label Echo (UK) and formerly with Elektra (USA), the recent Echo Park has finally given them some of the success they deserve.
It all started for Grant and Jon with a band called Temper Temper in 1993 (I think it was 93), Grant has described the band as terrible, while Jon disagreed with this comment. The band didn't last for long and Grant moved to London to learn about sound engineering, with Jon following him later on to form the new band, Reel, which soon became Real.
It was now 1995 and a Japanese guy, with little knowledge of the English language and his main musical interests being funk and jazz, decided to make England his permanent home. He placed an advert in London's Loot magazine as a bass player under the name Taka Hirose. At this same time Grant and Jon were looking for a new member to join their band, they happened to spot Taka's advert, he was good enough (and Grant and Jon were good enough for Taka!), so here they were - this trio who finally became Feeder (as we all know and love them).
After putting a few songs together to play, Feeder played their first gig in Yeovil, Somerset on 25 May 1995. Anyone who was there might have been able to spot how special Feeder were to become. Perhaps they played Chicken On A Bone and Pictures Of Pain - their first 2 songs to be released, they were contained on the Two Colours EP which was released during late 1995 and only officially sold at Feeder's gigs (if anyones got an unwanted copy then let me know!). From here on, Feeder began to build up their loyal fan-base, and gained the reputation of being a great live band, supporting such acts as Terrorvision and Reef during 1996, the same year which they released the 6-track record, Swim.
They released their first album 'Polythene' in 1997 which was named Album of the Year in Metal Hammer magazine. This album was (and still is!) a collection of upbeat, feel-good sort of pop-ish rock tunes, "heavy but melodic rock" as Grant says.
The album and singles didn't achieve the success the band had hoped for, but as new fans were drawn to Feeder, each single got progressively closer to entering the UK Top 40.
High was their big breakthrough, gaining more radio airplay than the band had ever had before and entering the charts at number 24 in October 1997.
In 1998 Feeder played with such bands as Foo Fighters and Everclear and embarked on a 125 date tour (more than any other British band that year) of the U.S. to promote the release of Polythene on the Elektra label. High was contained on the soundtrack to teen film Can't Hardly Wait and was one of the most requested songs on U.S. radio during the summer of 1998.
Feeder from 1999
The tracks for Yesterday Went Too Soon were completed in early 1999 and the first single from the new album, Day In Day Out was released in March 1999, followed by Insomnia in June. Feeder performed this song on TFI Friday, and made their first appearance on Top Of The Pops on the 11th June. The single proved to be Feeder's biggest hit yet - reaching number 22 on the UK charts.
Another appearance on Top Of The Pops and another new highest single placing for Feeder (not that I'm saying these two are related). Yesterday Went Too Soon reached number 20 in the singles chart. The brilliant album of the same name was released a month later and entered the UK Album chart at a worthy position of number 8.
1999 ended on a high, as Feeder supported the Manic Street Preachers at the new Cardiff Millenium Stadium on New Years Eve.
During the summer of 2000, Feeder made their usual British summer festival appearances, including previews of new tracks including Buck Rogers and Oxygen. They also had short tours in Taka's home country, Japan, and Australia with Muse, as well as playing various dates around Europe with Skunk Anansie.
Four 'intimate' pre-Xmas dates were played around Britain, one of which I was lucky enough to attend (photos under "Living In Polaroid"), where they previewed even more new songs from the forthcoming album Echo Park - as well as some old favorites. During this tour, on 15 December, Feeder were added to the Radio 1 'A List' for the first time, new single Buck Rogers of course being the track in question.
Talk among Feeder fans was this would be Feeder's biggest hit yet, possibly reaching the top 15, but as Buck Rogers was released on the 8th of January (Woolworths predicted 14), they had already performed on CD:UK and were asked to play on The Pepsi Chart and Top Of The Pops (for which they had to cancel two signing sessions). Mid-week, Buck Rogers was out-selling other new releases by Texas and Fatboy Slim and barring any disaster (such as all copies selling out), it would easily make the Top 10. In fact, it was even better than this, the mid-week chart had Buck Rogers at number 4, while on the Official Chart on 14 January, Feeder had entered at Number 5! Another new (live) performance on TOTP followed in this week as well as Feeder appearing on other TV shows, a second week in the Top 10, number 8!
Well its March 2001 and Feeder have finally made it! Why? Well because they've been played on Match Of The Day and in the Queen Vic on Eastenders of course! Grant said himself on an interview that Feeder would have made it if they got played on Eastenders, I think he said the Cafe, but still, same thing. March also saw Feeder start their UK tour with hip-hoppers Mark B & Blade, for whom Grant has remixed a single.
2 weeks before release, Feeder's new single was on the Radio 1 'A list' again, Feeder now get more airplay in a day than they ever did before! The 2nd April saw Feeder V Ash part 1, simultaneously releasing 7 Days In The Sun and Burn Baby Burn respectively. Some music journalists called it the biggest battle of the guitar bands since Blur V Oasis in 1995. All just hype really. Feeder's support on this months tour was the good up-and-coming new band My Vitriol who released their debut album at the end of March 2001.
A bit of a disappointment on Sunday 15th April, Seven Days In The Sun entered the chart at 14, well at least it was still Feeders 2nd ever biggest hit! Just for the record, Ash got to 13 and we beat Elvis who only got to 15!
The week after its release on April 23rd, Echo Park entered the UK Album Chart at number 5. Obviously, Ash's longer establishment at the top (their 1st album went to No.1) counted for something, as Free All Angels entered at number 1.
Turn was the third and ultimately the last single to be released from Echo Park. Personally, I think Turn is one of Feeder's best ever songs, but others disagree. The chart position of 27 seemed disappointing, although when asked if he was disappointed with the single's postion Grant replied "not really, because the album sold well after Turn was released".
From the BBC Top Of The Pops website:
We're not sure, but we think that Feeder may have the record for the most appearance at the 'Pops this year. With a couple under their belt for 'Buck Rogers' back in January, a cracking shot at 'Seven Days In The Sun' plus Grant's guitar fest on the Mark B & Blade track 'Ya Don't See The Signs', we think that they may be up for some sort of award! Still, when you consider that it took them so long to reach the dizzy heights of fame, you can't really blame them for making the most of their 15 minutes of fame!
They're going to be around for a lot longer than that! Lets hope new single Just A Day joins Feeder's list of TOTP performances. No release date has yet been set for this Gran Turismo 3 soundtrack, although fans have been invited to take part in its video!
The story behind the name of Feeder's latest single - "Buck Rogers"
The first Echo Park single Buck Rogers is about a relationship - someone's relationship has finished due to a Mr X person (Buck Rogers!*) - the one who has a brand new car, this is why Grant (sorry this 'someone') doesn't want to talk about it anymore. The 'someone' thinks if he starts over again (get a house in Devon etc) with this women he's broken up with, then they will make it together (the relationship will work out). Does that makes sense? Grant says there is also meant to be a bit of humour in the song.
*Buck Rogers is this 'Mr X' person. The name Buck Rogers originated when Grant was messing about on some keyboards and he & Matt Sime (engineer) thought what he was doing sounded futuristic - Buck Rogers became the songs working title, the song was about a mystery figure and Buck Rogers just stuck and conveniently became this mystery figure, "it also makes the song less personal" said Grant.
Perhaps you don't know this?
It is widely believed that the name "Feeder" originally came from the name of Grant's goldfish - perhaps this was due to the front cover of mini-album Swim (below). It is actually fishy-related, recently Grant has said he was reading an article in a fishing book when he saw the title "Feeder" and thought it would be a good name for the band. Feeder is certainly a better name than the band's previous names - "Temper Temper", "Reel" and "Real"!