Another musician might think of it as a career boost, but not Grant Nicholas.
Already at work on tunes for the next album, the lead singer and songwriter for the British
pop trio Feeder seems ambivalent about the placement of his band's current
modern-rock radio hit
excerpt) on the soundtrack to the summer teen flick "Can't Hardly Wait."
"I think [the filmmakers] thought the song suited the spirit of the film," Nicholas said of the
narcotic pop ballad. "They thought it would work in that [party] scene in the film." But he
wondered whether the inclusion of "High" on the movie's soundtrack LP would cut into
sales of Feeder's first full-length album, Polythene.
"I don't really know if it's made that much of a difference," Nicholas said, although he
added that consumers might prefer getting Feeder's song alongside tracks by Third Eye
Blind, Smash Mouth, Busta Rhymes and Matthew Sweet on the Can't Hardly Wait
album. A look at the sales figures for both albums seems to back up Nicholas' hunch, with SoundScan reporting U.S. sales of 16,000 for Feeder's album since its February release and 300,000 for the Can't Hardly Wait soundtrack since May.
The inclusion of the infectious "High" in "Can't Hardly Wait" seems especially appropriate
given the escapist nature of the song's lyrics. "I'm going out for a while/ so I can get high
with my friends," Nicholas croons in a keening falsetto over acoustic guitar and
"It's about gardening," the 30-year-old singer joked about the tune's party-friendly theme.
"I wasn't trying to be a rebel or anything, or encourage people to take drugs, because
'high' can be anything. If your idea of having a good time is smoking pot, fine. It's up to
the individual. I'm not trying to preach anything."
Nicholas sees the accessible, melodic side of Feeder, found in such songs as the
power-popping "Polythene Girl" and the psychedelicized "Radiation," as the key element
in the band's sound. Their music thrives on juxtapositions, mixing heavy, grunge-like
guitar dynamics and Nicholas' saccharine lyrics -- rife with nature imagery -- in the same
Although American audiences are just getting their first taste of Feeder, Nicholas said he
has already written music for 27 new songs that he hopes to record next month in
London. "I was quite lucky to have a writing spree before we went on tour with
Everclear," he said. "Which is great, because it takes the pressure off me, so I don't have
to go home and start from scratch."
While Feeder have been touring the U.S. over the past seven months, "High" has clearly caught
the ears of an American audience. The song, a follow-up to the group's first single,
(RealAudio excerpt), has been on the top 10 of Boston alternative station WFNX's (101.7
FM) playlist since June.
"It's just a really good summertime song," WFNX music director Laurie Gail said. "And
even aside from being a good summer song, it's just a good, straightforward rock song
that's sort-of ballad-y too." Ironically, according to Nicholas, "High" almost didn't make it
onto Polythene because the song wasn't completed in time for inclusion on the
U.K. version of the album.
Formed more than five years ago in London, Feeder are comprised of Nicholas,
drummer Jon Lee and bassist Taka Hirose. The band, which has released two EPs prior
to Polythene, is a reflection of Nicholas' musical youth. According to the singer, he
embraced everything from ABBA to Black Sabbath, the Beatles, the Human League and
At least one industry expert thinks that this is just the right time for a band such as Feeder
to be hitting American airwaves. "I saw them early on and I thought, here's a band that's
real aggro, melodic rock being introduced at a time when we were way outside of the
hard-rock thing, where anything that had any grunge residue was being tagged," said
Sky Daniels, general manager of radio industry trade magazine Radio And
Records. "I have a gut belief that good, hard, melodic rock stuff never goes out of
"I'd be happy with being called a good pop band," Nicholas said. "My preferred term is
'heavy pop.' I just love heavy guitar, but I also love pop songs and melodies, so I try to do
both in our songs."