January 7th 2002 is a date that will remain in many of our memories for the rest of our lives; it certainly will mine. It was the day that Newport’s greatest musical export, Feeder drummer Jon Lee died – the saddest day I have experienced in my life.

I worked with Jon in three different bands between 1985 and 1991 and to work alongside him was a total joy, as he was always such fun to be around.
Whether it was original music or covers and whether we were writing, rehearsing, recording or performing, Jon’s attitude was always the same. To him music was to be enjoyed and if it ever did become a career for any, or all of us, that was just an added bonus.

When Jon decided to move up to London, our working relationship ended, but we always remained the best of friends. His new band mates found that although he was always very hard working and professional, music was still fun to him and he considered himself very lucky to be earning a living doing something he loved.
The success he went on to achieve with Feeder over the last few years still left him un-changed as a person. He was the most successful Newport musician of our generation and he made us all so proud.

As a drummer he was one of the best I have ever worked with; as a friend he was the closest I had.
Jon could get inside my mind better than any other friend and with the way he viewed things, he had a knack of making me feel better when I needed it.
Even during Feeder’s incredibly busy and stressful touring schedule, no matter what country he was in, if he knew I was down, he would still find the time to call me and check if I was all right. He was so caring.
The tributes which have littered the newspapers and internet since the devastating news broke have shown that it wasn’t just those close to Jon who thought so highly of him. He was loved by virtually everyone who ever met him and Feeder fans respected the fact that he always had time for them, no matter how exhausted he may have been.

I called Jon, in Miami on Christmas Day and he seemed to be his usual happy self. We made fun of each other and laughed like a pair of big kids.
It seems impossible to believe that less than two weeks later he would take his own life.

Even that last conversation holds a happy and typical memory of his fun side for me;
As always, he was eager to know how everybody was and what we were all up to. We chatted about work and the fact that I was gradually doing less performing and more in a studio/production environment.
Jon pointed out that he wasn’t surprised, as even though I had only been referred to as ‘a producer’ in recent years, in his opinion I had in fact been doing the job for a long time:

“When you think about it Nick, you really produced all the recordings we made with Mad Hatter and Ritzi” he suggested.

“Well, I suppose to a certain extent you may be right”
I answered, not seeing it coming.

“Yeah, you did” said Jon “And they all sounded crap!”

God bless Jon.
I miss you already and I always will. We all will.

Nick Brown – Jan. 10th 2002.



Nick Brown - Guitar Tuition, Newport, South Wales.