Band of the Month – Seether

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Seether- Shaun Morgan by JaredWingate Source:

Seether- Shaun Morgan
by JaredWingate

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:

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:

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:

Seether by CatCleopatra

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS Source:

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS


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 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:

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

two great bands performing together is always a treat!