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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 13:58 GMT
Feeder: Beating fears of failure
Feeder had their biggest hit with Buck Rogers last January
Feeder had their biggest hit with Buck Rogers in 2001
By BBC News Online's Ian Youngs

Rock band Feeder had been one of the few new UK guitar bands to break through to win chart success in 2001, and drummer Jon Lee, who has committed suicide, was one of the founding members.

Their melodic, mainstream rock earned them a place as one of the country's most popular guitar bands and their third album, Echo Park, spawned four UK top 30 singles over the last 12 months, including the top five hit Buck Rogers.

They also earned several awards, including being named the best live British act at the 2001 Kerrang! Awards, and had just finished a European tour with the Stereophonics.

Jon Lee had been in the band since 1992
Jon Lee had been in the band since 1992
Last year, Lee told a newspaper that the band still had a long way to go and said "I'm just lucky to be doing a job I love".

He also said he was not in it for the fame or money, adding: "I don't want to come in and out of fashion so fast that we'd be irrelevant."

"I'd just kill myself, I'd take too many drugs and I'd die," he said.

But there was little chance of the band going out of fashion - in fact they were expected to build on their success.

Lee, born in Newport, south Wales, formed the band with frontman Grant Nicholas, who lived nearby, in 1992.

The pair had met several years earlier and they played in a band called Temper Temper together before Nicholas moved to London.

Feeder: Described as the
Feeder: Described as the "great white hopes for British rock music"
Jon was also a sprinter, representing his county, until a leg injury forced him to give up athletic ambitions, and wrote music reviews for a local paper when he was 18.

Lee also tried his luck in a 10-piece easy-listening band but soon followed Nicholas to London and the pair resurrected their rock hopes with Feeder.

"We are proud to be Welsh of course, but we were living [in Wales] at a time when it was hindering our goal," Lee told a newspaper in 2001.

The third band member, Japanese bassist Take Hirose, was recruited after replying to Lee and Nicholas's advertisement in a free-ad paper.

Big audience

They already had a small but dedicated following by the time their first full album, Polythene, was released in 1997, and the following year they were described as the "great white hopes for British rock music" by Melody Maker magazine.

Their second album, 1999's Yesterday Went Too Soon, reached number eight, but it was not until the release of Echo Park, which went to number five in April 2001, that the band established themselves with a wider audience.

The band played the Reading Festival in 2001
The band played the Reading Festival in 2001
The catchy, upbeat single Buck Rogers hit number five in the singles chart, and follow-ups Seven Days in the Sun and Just a Day - used in the soundtrack to the Gran Turismo 3 video game - were both top 20 hits.

Nicholas had said their last tour supporting fellow Welshmen the Stereophonics, had gone well and that he had been writing new material. It ended in Manchester in December.

Before that, they had supported the Manic Street Preachers and played to their big overseas following in countries including Japan and South Africa, including a headlining slot at a festival in Johannesburg.

Lee had moved to Miami after marrying Brazilian model Tatiana Englehart in 2000, and would always return to their Spanish villa and his son Cameron, two.

Buck Rogers has recently been used in the soundtrack to Hollywood blockbuster Behind Enemy Lines, which would have helped them to become established in the United States - one of the band's next aims.


BBC News Online readers' tributes to Jon Lee, who was found dead in Miami on MondayFeeder tributes
Your tributes for rock band's drummer Jon Lee
See also:

09 Jan 02 | Music
Feeder drummer dies
02 Jul 01 | Music
My Music: Feeder
09 Jan 02 | Music
Your tributes: Feeder's Jon Lee
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