Giving a public address and playing music are very different, according to Feeder's guitarist/vocalist Grant Nicholas.

"I love playing music live," Nicholas, a native Englishman, said during a phone interview from Richmond, Va. "But giving a speech just terrifies me."The modern pop of Feeder - featuring Nicholas, bassist Taka Hirose and drummer John Lee - will be heard at Saltair on March 20. Feeder will open for Jimmy's Chicken Shack and Everclear. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

"Music was a way for me to deal with things in my life," Nicholas said. "I hated school. I just couldn't get into subjects such as physics and chemistry. But I liked to communicate my thoughts with music."

Nicholas recognized his love for music while listening to his parents' records, primarily the Beatles and John Lennon. "I also liked the music my brother was playing in his band. I liked the Beatles and Black Sabbath."

Those two styles, Nicholas said, were pretty much the basis for the poppy-yet-intense sound of Feeder.

"It's definitely a combination of sorts," the guitarist said of Feeder's sound. "It's like sweet and sour, and it shows our depth as people. We could have easily spent our time being superficial with a light, fun sound. But we wanted to show people we were more than that."

Feeder took four years to refine its style. Lee and Nicholas - who were raised in South Wales - found Japanese-bred Hirose through a want ad. "We had auditioned about 20 bassists and none of them could play. We found a small ad and called the number, which connected us to Taka.

"After talking with him, we felt he was the right type of personality and had him audition. The next week we were practicing and getting ready for our first gig together."

During those days of pubs and clubs, Feeder signed with the independent label Echo and released two extended-play recordings, "Two Colours" and "Swim." The band signed to Elektra Records last year and released its first full-length big label debut called "Polythene."

"It was a challenge finding a record label," Nicholas acknowledged. "We had worked longer than most of our peers to get signed. But once we did, we knew it was our reward for hard work.

"But we're not stopping now. The work is just beginning. We're going to finish this tour and, hopefully, take some days off before going back on the road. The next tour we're planning to hit Europe and Asia, and then we plan to head back to America for some more dates. We just need to keep working."