Frontman of the Week – Shaun Morgan

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Today I’m proud to feature a talented local musician (fellow South African)from the rock band Seether. Shaun Morgan Welgemoed was born on the 21st of December 1978, he is widely known as the lead singer and lead/rhythm guitarist for Seether. All of his early life was spent in South Africa, his parents divorced when Shaun was still a child. At the tender age of 14 Shaun heard Nirvana’s Nevermind album for the first time, which inspired him to become a musician.He began to play the guitar by first learning to play “Polly” by Nirvana before starting to piece together bands that he could play with. His biological father did not approve of his son playing in bands, so Shaun ran away from home in order to cut a demo while living in friends’ garages and even their cars. Shaun eventually returned home to Pietermaritzburg to live with his mother and stepfather. He started playing in bands again, but quit playing music after three years, because he wasn’t making any progress.

Shaun is one of three children, he has a sister called Lucy and a brother Eugene who passed away in 2007. Shaun attended Maritzburg College (which was renowned for their sports) in Pietermaritzburg where he showed promise as a front-row rugby player for his age group’s top teams in his first 3 years in highschool. In his third year as a rugby player Shaun injured his back and he was forced to give up the sport. Rugby is a hugely popular sport in South Africa.

Prior to forming Saron Gas, Shaun was a member of a tribute band that used to play covers of songs from Metallica and Korn. In May 1999 Shaun became the rhythm guitarist and back-up vocalist of Saron Gas. Four other members excluding Shaun formed the line-up for the band which included a female vocalist, drummer, bassist and a lead guitarist. However the vocalist and the guitarist didn’t attend the band’s first practice, the remaining members decided to form a three-piece with Shaun on lead vocals and guitar. Saron Gas had moderate success up until the point where the bass player decided to quit in January 2000 which forced Shaun to find a replacement. Shaun Morgan phoned the only other good bass player he knew which was Dale Stewart. Later that year Saron Gas released their debut album entitled ‘Fragile’.

In January 2002 the band relocated to the United States where they signed with Wind-Up Records. During this time the original drummer for the band decided to return to South Africa where the two remaining members had to fulfill Wind-Up Record’s request to come up with a different name for their band. The band agreed on Seether named after a song performed by the band Veruca Salt. Due to the fact that Americans had a hard time pronouncing Shaun’s surname ‘Welgemoed’, Shaun decided to use his middle name as his last name while performing, which is more convenient. Seether released their debut major-label album called ‘Disclaimer’ on the 20th of August 2002.

Shaun Morgan has a daughter named Jayde Fourie-Welgemoed with his first wife Jill Hollon with whom he split in 2002. From 2003 to 2005 Shaun Morgan dated Evanescence’s lead singer Amy Lee. The relationship ended bitterly and Amy Lee eventually admitted that their song ‘Call Me When You’re Sober” was written about her relationship with Shaun Morgan. Shaun had a brief stay in rehab in August 2006 for alcoholism. Shaun’s rehab stint began on the same day that the Evanescence track in question was released to the nation’s rock radio stations. Shaun Morgan was not happy (to say the least) about the fact that Amy released intimate details about the couple’s relationship, he claimed that the song followed him around for a year and has haunted him ever since, influencing his reputation in a negative way. Shaun Morgan was not interested in a public response to the song and preferred to avoid any Amy Lee references on their album ‘Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces‘ as he didn’t have the need to write back and be mean. Shaun added that if there was any references in the album it would refer to his most recent ex which he claims was a horrible relationship. “Amy and I, at our worst moments, were still better than this last girl and I at
our best moments.” – Quote source, article MTV.com by Chris Harris

In September 2006 it was reported that Shaun was engaged and was about to become a father once again. His fiancé gave birth to a son named Bowie in November 2006. In August 2007 Shaun’s brother Eugene sadly comitted suicide just a few weeks before ‘Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces‘ was set to be released. Eugene’s death was reported by Rapid City Journal, who stated that he had jumped to his death shortly after midnight on Monday 13th August 2007 from an 8th-floor window in Radisson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota.   Shaun has 1308 tattooed on his four right fingers and 2007 on his left four fingers in tribute to the day that Eugene died. Seether’s song ‘Rise Above This’ is a tribute to Eugene, I have always really loved this song and it just means so much more after I learned about the subject matter. This song will never lose its potency and power, a true classic. Another song was written about Eugene on Seether’s latest album ‘Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray” called “Pass Slowly”. In March of 2011 Shaun became a father for the third time when his daughter Gracelee was born.

In addition to their major-label debut album Disclaimer, Seether has released three more studio albums Karma and Effect (2005), Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces (2007) and Holding On to Strings Better Left to Fray in 2011. In addition to these albums they released a compilation album titled Disclaimer II in 2004 and the live cd/dvd One Cold Night in 2006. In 2009 Seether released the original track titled “No Shelter”, the cover of George Michael’s Careless Whisper which was a huge hit and received a lot of radio airplay in South Africa especially and lastly “I’ve got you under my Skin” a Frank Sinatra cover.

Shaun Morgan is known for his raw, emotionally charged and aggressive voice paired with Seether’s equally powerful teeth clenching rock songs. Seether appeals to quite a wide range of tastes, they have hard rock songs, ballads and rock/pop hybrids in their reportoire of songs which make them all-rounders in the rock genre. Definitely a band that have moulded themselves into a successful rock act.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Shaun Morgan

Shaun Morgan
Photo Credit: Sean Derrick

You can follow Seether on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SeetherOfficial

I came across this gem where Seether performs Nutshell by Alice in Chains with Shinedown,

two great bands performing together is always a treat!

Enjoy!

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