Band of the Month – Seether

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Seether- Shaun Morgan by JaredWingate Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether- Shaun Morgan
by JaredWingate
Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether is a post grunge/alternative metal band hailing from my country of birth, South Africa. They were founded in 1999 in Pretoria. Seether consists of Shaun Morgan (lead guitar, vocals), Dale Stewart (bass guitarist) and John Humphrey (drums).

The band got the chance to be a part of Ozzfest and released an EP before unveiling their full-length debut album (“Disclaimer”) in August of  2002. “Disclaimer” featured the single “Fine Again”. A great deal of pre-production took place in South Africa under the supervision of a Wind-Up representative, it continued in New York before the recording sessions took place in Los Angeles. The band began extensive touring in promotion of Disclaimer in July 2002. They performed alongside the likes of Our Lady Peace into the following year.Initially the band emerged with the name Saron Gas (a name taken from the back of a sound effects CD) and they released their debut album called “Fragile” on Musketeer Records. South Africa’s musical tastes are centered around pop, dance and mainstream music. Despite this fact Fragile found impressive chart success, making US-based record label Wind-Up Records sit up and take notice. They signed the South African band mates who changed their name to Seether. Saron Gas was too similar to the lethal nerve agent sarin gas.

A planned follow-up to their first album was delayed by almost a year when Seether was chosen as the support act for Evanescence’s worldwide tour. During this time a romance started to blossom between lead singer of Seether, Shaun Morgan and lead singer of Evanescence, Amy Lee. The tour ensured Seether’s commercial success, but delayed the band’s return to the recording studio. The band reworked their acoustic ballad “Broken” to an electric ballad with guest vocals by Amy Lee. “Broken” along with a new song entitled “Sold Me” featured on the soundtrack of 2004’s movie “The Punisher”.

An alternate version of the original album entitled Disclaimer II was released on the 15th of June 2004, with some songs remixed and reworked, with an extra eight new tracks (in the US).  The major reason for the reworking of Disclaimer was the popularity that the song “Broken” achieved after its release. Seether viewed the album as an opportunity to re-evaluate their debut’s release (whose mix was, according to the band, sub par) and provided fans with material to serve as a holdover until the band’s proper follow-up album.

The band’s follow-up album “Karma and Effect” was released on the 24th of May 2005.  It is certified gold in the US and Canada. Originally titled Catering to Cowards, the name was changed at the record label’s demand. The album debuted at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 album charts. It spawned three singles; “Remedy”, “Truth” and “The Gift”. “Remedy” reached number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Charts, Seether’s first number 1 hit.

Seether released an acoustic CD/DVD set, “One Cold Night” on the 11th of July 2006. Shaun Morgan had suffered from a stomach ailment and decided to do an acoustic set instead of cancelling the show. The concert was recorded in Grape Street, Philadelphia. The record label wanted to exclude any obscenities from the album and that explains why “Needles” and “Burrito” do not feature on the album.

Lead guitarist Patrick Callahan‘s departure was announced  on the 16th of June 2006, an explanation was not provided. Patrick apparently didn’t enjoy Seether’s new music.

In August of 2006, Shaun Morgan entered a rehab program for alcoholism, which forced the band to cancel their tour with Staind and Three Days Grace.

The day that Evanescence released their single “Call Me When You’re Sober” on radio, it was announced that Shaun Morgan was entering rehab. Amy Lee confirmed that the song was inspired by her ex-boyfriend and that the song had become somewhat of a chick anthem. The track leaked to radio on the 30th of July 2006, causing several radio stations to play it early without it being released as a single.

Shaun didn’t want to “lower” himself to Lee’s level, therefore he didn’t really want to react to the song, but stated that he was upset that she had said “those” things. Upon the release of Seether’s 2007 album release “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”, Shaun knew everyone would be looking for an Amy Lee reference on the album. He was desperate not to have one, but did mention that the song “Breakdown” , he considered a lament and not an angry backlash. He further states that the song isn’t about one person, its more universal, vague and respectful.

“Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces” was originally planned for an August release that was delayed until the 23rd of October 2007 due to the suicide of Shaun’s brother Eugene Welgemoed. The album debuted at number 9 in the Billboard 200 album charts and sold 57,000 copies in its first week. The first single off the album “Fake It” reached number 1 of US Mainstream Rock Charts and Modern Rock Charts,  the song held that spot for at least 9 weeks on both charts. “Rise Above This” was written in memory of Shaun’s brother, Eugene. The last single from the album “Breakdown” won Seether their first South African Music Award in the “Best Rock: English” category. The song won them their first MTV Africa Music Award for “Best Alternative Artist”.

A tour in support of the album lasted for most of the year 2008. Troy McLawhorn previously a member of bands such as Dark New Day, Evanescence, Sevendust and doubleDrive was hired as a touring guitarist on the 15th of February 2008. During the tour Seether shared the stage with bands such as Three Days Grace, 3 Doors Down, Skillet, Breaking Benjamin and Red to name a few. After the tour Troy was named as an official member of the band. A cover of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” was made available for purchase as a digital or mobile download. The music video for the song was released on the 15th of June 2009 and the song is included as an extra track on the reissue of the album “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”.

Seether supported Nickelback during March and April of 2009 and it was confirmed by Dale and Shaun that after the Nickelback tour the band would take the rest of the year off from touring to concentrate on recording new content for their upcoming album. Nevertheless the band made their appearances at select shows and festivals.

The band spent several months recording in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Brendan ‘O Brien. Recording was completed in August and the album went into the mixing process. The album was completed in September and “Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray” was released on the 17th of May 2011. Seether reached their highest place on the US Billboard 200 Chart when the album reached the number 2 slot. Billboard named Seether the No. 1 Active and No. 1 Heritage Rock Artist of 2011. Troy McLawhorn left Seether and returned to Evanescence in March 2012.

Seether played the main stage on the Uproar Festival alongside bands, Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Bullet for my Valentine and Escape the Fate. Seether supported 3 Doors Down on their European tour which started in November and lasted till March the following year.

A compilation album titled “Seether 2002-2013” was released on the 23rd of October 2013. It was released as a double-disc album featuring their greatest hits, unreleased demos, soundtrack songs and 3 all-new tracks including a cover of Veruca Salt’s song “Seether” where the band got their name from. Seether carried out a small, semi-acoustic tour of Europe and South Africa. I had the privilege to attend one of these shows and you can read my review of the concert here:

https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/an-intimate-evening-with-seether-kirstenbosch-gardens-parklife-festival-review/

On the 31st of January 2014, Seether posted a video on their YouTube account in which Shaun Morgan stated that the new album is well underway and recording should be completed within a week’s time from the date the video was recorded. In April 2014 the band posted teasers of the album on apps Snapchat and Instagram. Teasers of two of the songs off the new album was posted on YouTube namely; “Words As Weapons” and “My Disaster”. Later on more song clips were teased on the band’s official Instagram account. In late April 2014, it was announced that the new album titled “Isolate and Medicate” was set to be released on the 1st of July 2014. “Words As Weapons” was the first single to be released on the 1st of May 2014. On the 29th of April 2014, the band’s long-time guitar tech, Bryan Wickmann and former Art Director of Schecter Guitar Research was announced as Seether’s new touring guitarist.

Seether has been present in my life, since I can remember. I remember hearing “Fine Again”, mesmerized by the melancholy nature of the song. I really identified with that song at that stage of my life. After having the privilege to see the band perform in November 2013, I was blown away by Shaun Morgan’s vocals. Its like you can hear his whole life story just by listening to his voice. It doesn’t matter how dark the song is, the band delivers the material with a flair which is unmatched. Seether does not like to conform to anyone’s rules, they play by their own. This is a trait which is admirable considering the power that record labels have at their disposal. Seether has proved what determination, ambition, drive and talent can amount to if you make it count.

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

The band recently released their creative video for their latest single “Words As Weapons”. Watch it below:

While promoting their latest album release “Isolate and Medicate” the band stopped by Loudwire’s studios to perform a few songs. Watch them perform the acoustic version of 2004’s hit “Broken”.

Seether by CatCleopatra Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by CatCleopatra
Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS
Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza

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An Intimate Evening with Seether @ Kirstenbosch Gardens, Parklife Festival Review

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Last night (22 November 2013) I had the privilege to spend an intimate semi-acoustic evening with Taxi Violence and main act Seether. Everyone had their blankets, picnic baskets and drinks ready for the evening. The gates opened at 18:00 and we took our place on the grass just to the left of the stage with a great view. The weather was great, although as the night wore on it got slightly chilly not that anyone even seemed to notice. The crowd was munching away waiting for the show to start when Jon Savage our MC for the evening took to the stage. He introduced the band(s), sponsors and recited the rules for the evening with hilarious responses from the audience.

Taxi Violence consists of

  • George van der Spuy – lead vocals (2004–present)
  • Rian Zietsman – lead guitar (2004–present)
  • Louis Nel – drums (2004–present)
  • Jason Ling – bass (2008–present)

Around about 19:30 Taxi Violence took to the stage and I was really impressed by their overall performance. The lead singer’s (George van der Spuy) vocals were fantastic as was the rest of the musicians in the band. The band played a few covers, their much-loved original songs including “Love Sick Rock ‘n Roll”, “Heads or Tails”, “Devil n Pistol” and they ended their set with “Brainmash”. Nearing the end of Taxi Violence’s set a lone head banger expressed his enthusiasm at the front of the stage. Taxi Violence’s performance was energetic, passionate and it set the scene for what was still to come…

After about 30 minutes after Taxi Violence’s set Jon Savage took to the stage to introduce the main act Seether. The excitement in the air was palpable.

Seether consists of:

Shaun Morgan was the first to walk on stage cigarette in his mouth, bottle of water in hand and a devil-may-care attitude. Dale Stewart was the second member to come on stage and John Humphrey came on last. The band expressed their excitement at being back in South Africa and it is the first time the entire band has been back in South Africa. The band opened the show with the moody and intense “Gasoline”, followed by “69 Tea”, “Driven Under” and to the delight of the crowd an old Seether classic “Fine Again”. “Sympathetic” was up next and then the band threw in a Neil Diamond cover “The Needle and the Damage Done” which Shaun Morgan introduced as being one of his favourite songs. The band followed the cover with one of their more mellow songs “Here and Now”. The tender “Pass Slowly” was up next followed by “Breakdown” and the crowd swooned when the band started playing the intro for “Broken” to which they sang along in unison. Shaun introduced “Polly” by Nirvana as the first song that he learned to play on the guitar about 20 years ago. My favourite songs all followed one another. I was eagerly awaiting “Rise Above This” and even tough Shaun slipped up on a note or two ( 😀 ) the performance was flawless. Seether broke into a toned down version of “Fake It” followed by one of my favourite songs “Tonight”. The addictive “Remedy” was played and after that the band said there goodbyes much to the dismay of the fans. After a few chants the band came back on stage to play out with the catchy “Country Song”.

Some members of the crowd was slightly disappointed at the exclusion of “Careless Whisper” on the set list. It didn’t bother me much, because most of the songs that I came to hear was played. I really enjoyed the casual atmosphere of the crowd and the laid-back attitude of the band. The band was in a jovial mood cracking jokes and interacting with the crowd. They even introduced their latest band member who will become an official member of Seether next year, he will take on the role as the band’s lead guitarist. The crowd even threw underwear on stage among other strange things. I really enjoyed the night, the weather was great, the support act was a delightful surprise and Seether was on the top of their game.  The texture and sound of Shaun Morgan’s voice was astounding, for a semi-acoustic show it got pretty loud which I won’t complain about. Shaun Morgan confided in the crowd saying that he always gets extremely nervous when playing to a South African crowd which I found quite endearing. It was an experience I will hold dear for many years to come.

I apologise for the low quality of the photos and if you’re hungry for more/better photos of the event search for #ParklifeSA on Twitter to see some great shots of the night!

You can follow Taxi Violence on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Taxi_Violence_

Follow Seether on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SeetherOfficial

Follow Shaun Morgan on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SpawnMorgan

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

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