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MORGAN LANDER


Biography


“Kittie was formed in 1996 when drummer Mercedes Lander and guitarist Fallon Bowman met in gym class. Mercedes’ sister Morgan Lander became the lead vocalist and guitarist after weeks of Fallon and Mercedes jamming. Tanya Candler completed the lineup by joining as the bassist. Kittie made demos and started playing concerts in 1998. The band played concerts at Call the Office and the Embassy and signed up for Canadian Music Week in 1999. Kittie approached Jason Wyner, a person who was second in command at NG Records. The band went up to Jason and made him see them play live and Jason and the rest of NG Records signed Kittie in the summer of 1999. Kittie got signed to the NG Records-distributed record label Artemis Records and producer Garth Richardson acquired Kittie’s demo. NG Records was bought out by Artemis Records. Therefore, Kittie ended up on Artemis Records. Kittie released their debut album Spit on Artemis Records and toured with the band Slipknot. Although Kittie’s album Spit was finished in August 1999, it was not released until January 2000, due to the departure of original bassist Tanya Candler. The album is the band’s most successful album, being certified gold by the RIAA. Spit has sold at least 600,000 copies in the United States and at least 40,000 copies in Canada.

Their debut album and supporting tour earned Kittie coverage in Metal Edge, whose readers voted Morgan Lander for “Female Performer of the Year” and Spit for “Home Video of the Year” in the magazine’s 2000 Readers’ Choice Awards. The band was also voted “New Band of the Year”, “Who’s Going to be the Next Big Thing”, and “Most Underrated Band”, earning them a total of five Metal Edge Readers’ Choice Awards that year. On July 11, 2000, Kittie made a home-video called Spit in Your Eye which featured interviews of the band and the band playing shows with the band Slipknot.

In August 2001, Fallon Bowman left Kittie. Bowman explained why she left the band, saying: “I was unhappy with some things in the band so I felt that maybe it was time for me to depart. I think it was for the best”. On October 30, 2001, Kittie released their second album Oracle. Sounding more aggressive than “Spit”, the album features elements of death metal and thrash metal. Morgan Lander noted how the band members were only 14 years old when writing their debut album and said “We haven’t written in 4 or 5 years.” She acknowledged a change in influence from their early days, stating, “Then we listened to bands like Nirvana, Silverchair, and Alice in Chains. Now we listen to stuff like Cannibal Corpse and Nile.” However, the band would continue to write in the same fashion by first composing the music and then using that “as the backdrop behind the vocals.” The album Oracle was recorded with Morgan Lander as the sole guitarist. Fallon’s position as guitarist was filled by Jeff Phillips who worked as Kittie’s guitar technician. In 2002, Talena Atfield left the band and was replaced on bass by Jennifer Arroyo. In 2004, the group added guitarist Lisa Marx, and Jeff Phillips went to work full-time on his side project, Thine Eyes Bleed. On July 27, 2004, Kittie released their third studio album Until the End.

Until March 2005, Kittie were signed to Artemis Records but parted ways with the label due to “a proposed amendment to the recording budget for the pending fourth Kittie album.” Problems between the group and record label had been long speculated. In March 2004, Artemis and Kittie came to an out of court settlement over unpaid royalties and eleven breaches of contract by Artemis.

On March 23, 2005, Morgan Lander reported that both Lisa Marx and Jennifer Arroyo had left the band. Jennifer Arroyo’s split was amicable while Lisa Marx’s came as a surprise. As with Talena Atfield’s departure from the band, unjustified rumours about financial reasons were cited and in the case of Jennifer Arroyo, the desire to work outside of Kittie full-time was an additional factor. Jennifer Arroyo would go on to join Billy Graziadei of Biohazard to form Suicide City.

In 2005, Kittie added two new members: Tara McLeod on guitar and Trish Doan on bass. In 2005, Morgan and Mercedes Lander’s clothing line, Poisoned Black clothing, started. Morgan and Mercedes also appeared briefly in the documentaries Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Heavy Metal – Louder than Life. On February 7, 2006, Kittie released their Never Again EP through Rock Ridge Music. Also in 2006, vocalist Morgan Lander provided vocals on the song “It Turns to Rust”, from the album In the Arms of Devastation, by the Canadian death metal band Kataklysm.

Kittie created their own record label, Kiss of Infamy Records, and used it to release their fourth studio album. The label name was later changed to “X of Infamy” after a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys representing Kiss Catalog Ltd. (the owner of the intellectual property rights pertaining to the musical group Kiss) alleging that the Kiss of Infamy trademark was “confusingly similar” to their client’s trademark. Kittie’s fourth studio album Funeral for Yesterday was released on February 20, 2007 through their record label. Along with the release of Funeral for Yesterday, Morgan Lander announced that Kittie would release a 45-minute-DVD with the CD. In February 2007, Kittie toured as part of the Funeral for Yesterday Tour alongside Walls of Jericho, 36 Crazyfists, Dead To Fall, and In This Moment.”

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