AND then there were two...
For a band whose name carries different connotations, Feeder seem to keep slimming down.
While they’ve always been a lean, keen three-piece of some sorts the band that brought you Buck Rogers, High and Feeling The Moment now has originals Grant Naylor and Taka Hirose as its full-time members.
Ever since fellow original Jon Lee died 10 years ago Feeder’s drum stool has been kept warm by a few different faces.
After replacement Mark Richardson left to re-join Skunk Anansie pop beats man Karl Brazil matched his potency for the Renegades project which last sent the temporarily re-named band to Sheffield.
Now they’ve got Damon Wilson touring with them ahead of Feeder releasing latest album Generation Freakshow.
“Karl played on this one but the thing with Karl is he wants to do everything,” explains Grant.
“We get on amazingly well. I just wish he wasn’t so busy but Karl was committed to pop world stuff.
“I have chemistry with him in the studio like me and Jon had. He’s a good laugh as well.
“So when we write songs I go in with the drummer first and we make a racket and Taka’s there working things out in his head.
“They’ve got to keep up with Mark and Jon who were awesome drummers.
“But Karl understands melodies which is an important thing in what we do.
“We’ve always worked with great people and we needed someone who was good enough to play the old stuff as well.
“Damon did a lot of live stuff on the Renegades tour. He looks more rock, has got more hair and the beard.
“I wish I played drums, it looks like fun, banging the hell out of the kit. It looks therapeutic and keeps you in shape as well.”
Grant and Taka return as Feeder to The Leadmill on April 23 – same day they release Generation Freakshow on their own label – the first of a handful of showcases.
It’s the first visit since recording and playing as Renegades, an episode that helped shape the new record.
“It was the best thing we did. It was a bit of a weird underground way of doing things but that was the only way it felt like it would work.
“It confused a lot of people and that’s not always a bad thing otherwise you start to get too predictable.
“It worked really well, doing some small shows, getting into a van, a couple of crew, like when we first started.
“It was the best way. It was a very portable record that could be done as a three-piece.
“That’s where I feel we sound best sometimes. It’s quite honest, you can’t do as much with three of you but we can make a good noise and that’s where our roots are.
“Commercially Renegades didn’t do as well as we would have hoped, but that’s not why we did it.
“Hand on heart, if I was trying to write a radio-friendly album then I wouldn’t have released that.
“But it showed a side of the band newer fans don’t know. It was great to play live and introduced us to a lot of younger fans.”
Either way, Renegades blew some fresh air through the camp and made Feeder approach the new record in a slightly different way.
While it is more of a return to the melodic chart-hugging rock romps that turned Feeder into an arena and Download headline concern, it has riff-led fuel in the tank with tracks such as Headstrong and Generation Freakshow to warrant its addition to Grant and Taka’s CV.
“I just wanted to make a record I was proud of and whether it does well commercially or not…I just feel it’s an album I can listen to when I’m older and think we did a really good job.
“I think it is classic Feeder. It’s still as heavy as Renegades, but the songs are a bit more melodic in places so it doesn’t seem it. I can’t help but write songs with melodies – it’s what I do and what we are as a band.
“We’re not trying to reinvent ourselves and change into a prog rock band or anything, so I want to play to our strengths.”
And among those keeping an ear on what Grant does these days are his kids Hannah and Coe, aged six and four.
“It can go either way having kids. Obviously it slows you down but it can inspire you. I think I’ve managed to balance it. It does get difficult because I was writing at home but I do spend a lot of time with my kids.
“They’re my worst critics as well. They can be so blunt when you play them a song, but it’s great when they pick up on a catchy song, whether it’s Feeder, Green Day, Beyonce or Lady Gaga.
“They pick up on those hooks or melodies.
“And it is quite good to hear a child’s opinion on a song sometimes. It’s often a sign that it has got something in it; their ears zone in.”
Grant’s managed to have both nippers at various festival shows, including Reading and V, but says they’ve affected him in other ways.
“Lyrically I find I’m writing about things I didn’t before. I do worry about issues and the future of my kids. That’s kind of where the album title came from.
“The Freakshow bit was inspired by the student riots that were happening. And then the Tottenham riots spread during the recording process.
“It was a slightly risky title because people might think it sounds like a Marilyn Manson album. But I kept coming back to it as it felt right. Generation is a great word that I associate with music and energy and frustration. I was in bed at four in the morning on my iPhone typing in some lines when it came to me.”