Feast was extremely charismatic live, with Mick playing the active front man. The band's sound combined the Deep Six punk/metal hybrid with postpunk. In 1986 Feast had become a top draw at the Central. "Feast was always one of my favorite bands," promoter Claudia Gehrke states in an email. "... they had a very heavy sound. I remember when I [booked a show with] Soundgarden and Feast together. Feast was the headliner at the time, and then we found out that Soundgarden was getting scoped out for a record deal. We had to switch the lineup to Soundgarden playing at the headliner time. It was a huge night. Both bands were great. Feast was a guaranteed heavy hitter. [They had] great posters, stepping out into their own brand of art and music. I wish I had seen them get signed. They always had a great crowd."
To whom it may concern, I was asked to write a brief history of the band Feast. My name is Tom. I'm the singer of said band. The way I see this, unfortunately for you, is as a "best recollection" and it may not be 100 percent accurate. There are bound to be holes and maybe even slight fabrications, because, you see, I seem to have chosen the path of least resistance...if you know what I mean. If you don't, you will.
I first met Danny at a party where a local band was playing in a barn. It was called "The Chicken Coop.” The only band in town that would play parties at the time was "Section Eight.” They played mostly covers (Bowie, Roxy Music, and...Devo.) I'm not gonna tell you how old we are, but we thought then, a band that played Roxy Music was alright. At that time the Seattle radio station KJET was sponsoring a "mail in your cassette battle of the bands thing." (Yes,cassette.) Dan and I were talking around the keg and he asked if I had sent anything to the radio station. I told him we did, me and a couple of my friends, one of which was Ben Shepard's older brother Andy. Dan asked the name of the band and when I told him he said he recognized it and asked what I played on the recording. Me and my friends were in high school at the time, none of us knew how to play anything, but we'd been listening to Iggy Pop's "The Idiot” a lot, and thought we should form a band. The only thing I knew how to play was the saxophone, so we hooked it up to a bunch of pedal effects with a transducer mic taped to the reed. I can't remember who played what, but Andy Shepard sang. He did a great Iggy. Like I said, Dan asked about the contest, he said he remembered liking our band's tape and that he and his girlfriend Jane sent in a tape as well. Dan was on bass, and Jane was on this reddish wood-tone SG. By the end of the night, Dan asked if our band was serious. When I said no, he asked if I would like to play with He and Jane. I said yes, concealing my excitement. Dan was a couple days older than me and had been listening to cool music his whole life. So it was me, Dan and Jane and a drum machine. We played parties around our small town, across the water from Seattle. People hated us, but we played a lot of parties and pissed people off. Dan is big. When we were younger he could knock out most assholes.
Our influences at the time ranged from early punk rock, Stooges, NY Dolls, Ramones...but Dan turned me on to a bunch of bands that made those bands. He had and still does have a huge, comprehensive record collection. I won't speak to that because I'll leave something out that he would of have liked to mention. Before I met Dan, I loved fairly accessible music. Early Alice Cooper still being my favorite.
So we kept on playing, and after developing some songs we could play twice in a row, we invited a friend of ours from the "Island" to play drums with us. Regan Hagar was maybe fifteen at the time, and he was already playing in bands that played in Seattle. We were "The Smooth Dogs" or "Monkeys who invade the heavenly palace." We changed our name a lot to get people to show up. It didn't take long for us to tire of playing small town keg parties, about as long as our "fans" would hang around at our shows. As I remember...we all moved the fifteen miles across Puget Sound to Seattle in the summer of 1981. We didn't all move at the same time, but it wasn't very long before Dan Blossom, Jane Higgins and I, Thomas Mick were living in the same city where there was a whole new talent pool to pull from to complete our band.
By some luck of the draw we were graced with the young talent of Danny Peters playing drums. I can't exactly remember how we met, probably watching bands play. That's how we, or speaking for myself, I, met most people then. I consider myself so lucky now, to have been able to watch some pretty good local bands develop into some very good national bands. By moving from Bainbridge Island, where I lived with Kevin Wood in an old farmhouse, (we never did get our damage deposit back....we were told to vacate) we already had gained, in my opinion, one of the best, most innovative drummers to hail from Seattle! While I was still playing the saxophone hooked up to as many electronics as I could think of back then, we enlisted Kevin Evans as our singer; he also played rhythm guitar. Kevin came from back East some where, Detroit I think. He loved most of the same bands we did and could sing Bowie's "Five Years" with so much emotion he made me tear up, no kidding. So, it was Jane playing bass, Dan playing guitar (they switched for some reason) Danny Peters on drums, Kevin up front and me playing electro-sax. We called ourselves, "Feast of Friends". We were filling out bills with the art rock bands of Seattle at that time. Although we were never headliners, we were playing cooler clubs: Gorilla Gardens, The Grey Door, The Metropolis, Lincoln Arts Center.
I told you in the beginning of this novel that there might be holes in the story. That the facts may seem wishy-washy. I'm trying to include everybody that played with us. My memory suffers the sling and arrows of opiates and Budweiser. I've already forgotten to mention the countless drummer auditions. We sampled some guys that were just alright to some that were mentally unstable. However, this is the time that the beautiful Miss Pony Maurice enters the picture. I believe she single-handedly put us on the map. The city map. Along with her stunning long curly red hair, her voice was memorable. We started to write more melodic music with a 4AD feel. We were invited to record on a couple of compilation records when Pony was in the band. That was cool. I guess. The "Seattle scene" was starting to roll at this time and our sound was not part of it. We tried another guitar player Daryl Meyers. He wanted to write Sixties obscure psychedelic stuff, which all of us liked, but it wasn't to be what Feast was about. We pressed on. I would jump on the mic at practice and yell the latest cool song I could remember. Pretty soon Danny and Jane warmed up to the idea and we wrote a song that I sung on. We worked it into the set and the crowd responded favorably. That was just kinda how it went. I was soon splitting the song list with Pony. We even covered the “Immigrant Song” together. So along with the gradual shift toward straight-ahead heavy, thick, slow rock, came Pony’s dissatisfaction. She eventually quit. The door was open once again open to modify our direction.
When Pony quit, Danny Peters was struggling with playing in two bands, ours and Bundle of Hiss. He left for the latter. Here we go again. More drummer auditions. Fortunately, one of Danny P.’s best friends and a good friend of the rest of the band, Rolf Berteig was available. He was playing in a couple of bands around town, including the White Boyz. None of them were too serious. He played with us one night and he never left. Where Dan Peters had a style all his own, so did Rolf. They weren’t the same styles at all. It didn’t take Rolf long at all before he fit naturally into the band, as he’d been listening to Dan and Feast since the beginning.
Then came the most controversial personnel addition, Reed Alan Hutchinson. Reed came from up North, and when I say up North, I mean way past the county line. He was very young compared to the rest of us. For his first Feast show, we scooped him up from his high school graduation ceremony and smuggled him into the Vogue to play with Soundgarden. I can’t remember who opened that night. We traded off until they got signed. Reed could play the guitar. Maybe a little too good at first. As time went on he picked up on what we were trying to do. To play the heaviest, thickest rock on the planet. He helped us rewrite almost every song we’d written and we slowly forged a sound that was a top draw in Seattle for a couple years. We were breaking attendance records in more than one club we played.
The Steve Lawson recording project was a huge deal for us back then. To record at a major Seattle studio was a dream come true. It turned out to be a nightmare. We booked late night hours with an engineer named Bruce Calder. While Cindy Lauper was passing us in the halls, Bruce was setting up the drum kit in one of the bathrooms. He had a lot of cool ideas and did exactly what we asked him to do. Little did we know that making your first demo in a high-dollar studio wasn’t too bright. There was a ton of stuff to learn about recording. Since we weren’t signed it was coming out of our meager band fund and our personal bank accounts. It was stupid, but we did it. We made our first quality demo.
We shopped it to all the labels our then manager suggested. It gets kind of sketchy for me around this time. I think I was partying like we had already been signed. I think our then manager quit after getting no real response from anybody. Sub Pop offered to help us out, but I think I said something I regret to Bruce Pavitt. Something about we aren’t a Sub Pop band and aiming a little higher... In the end, all we got out of that way too expensive recording project was a cassette tape that was cleverly packaged by Jane, the bass player. She was a graphic designer at the time. And we got a West Coast tour, and that my friends was the actual beginning of the end...kinda.
The tour was set for the fall of 198?....can’t remember...I really can, but I’m not telling, you can look it up. A couple of shows in Oregon, Portland and Ashland then to San Francisco for two or three shows and on to L.A. We were supposed to have an A & R person from a major label come watch our showcase. Somebody said they watched her come in...turn around and walk out. It was that quick. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and half of my desire to continue with the band walked out with her. We went back to S.F. for more shows. I couldn’t muster up much energy. I saw a friend of mine in the crowd. After the show, while we were sitting around licking our wounds, he passed me something under the table. It was something that I wanted. I left the band that night and went home with him and his girlfriend. I called Danny the next day and told him I quit the band, and that I was staying in San Francisco. I told him that he could have my van, the one that without trouble, had hauled our gear and us down the coast. That I was staying in S.F. That was the end of Feast. That day.
The party favors finally ran out. My friend and his girl realized it was another stupid idea for me to stay in S.F. After a couple days my buddy's girlfriend’s dad bought me a ticket to fly home. When I arrived, I learned the band van had broken down 100 miles short of Seattle. Somehow everybody got home. I went back to my job only to get fired for being four days late of my scheduled return. No band, no job, no nothing.
Let's skip to 2009. I’m living in Beaumont, TX. That is a long story. I get a phone call from Dan Blossom. We had talked through the years and patched up what we could of such an ugly demise of one the coolest rock bands in Seattle. He asked me if I would consider a reunion show. I said of course, that I had been dreaming of doing a show since we broke up. It’s the most fun I can think of. Dan called the rest of the original members. Everyone was in except Jane. For whatever reason she opted out. We totally understand. I went to work calling bass players. One of my first choices said yes! Jeff “Simon” Simoncini commuted to Seattle every other week so we could put together our set. Within two months we played a “warm-up” reunion show in Bremerton, Washington. We all had a gas! We played a couple more shows in small clubs closer and closer to Seattle. Then...being a married, gainfully employed man with some sense left in him, Simon had to admit that the long commute was too much. Back to finding another bass player. Scott Boggan of “Room Nine” fame said he’d like to take swing at it. I am here to say we couldn’t have found a better fit. Not only is he a well-rounded bass player, he also has a great easy-going, calming personality....And, like Simon, he’s one of my oldest and dearest friends.
We were having such a good time playing out and even practicing, we decided to give recording another go. This time, we chose the man we should chosen originally to record. Jack Endino. He has listened to us since our inception. Nobody knows what flies around here better than Jack. The record, people, is a true representation of what we think Feast should sound like. We don’t have any regrets. We hope you like the record and you can expect the second record soon. The songs have already been written.
Thanks for reading this, Thomas Mick