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Dan Julian for NOISE

Shaun Morgan doesn't want to be a rock star. He doesn't even want to be rich.

He says he's just doing music simply for the passion, making him an atypical front man for one of the fiercest bands on the nu-metal wave today.

And in his band, becoming a rock star can get you fired, as some drummers learned early on.

"You hire these guys to come in and play the songs, and when you see them not enjoying it, it just sucks," he said. "We had to get rid of some drummers because their attitudes were not right, or they got huge egos and became rock stars -- their hearts weren't in it."

But sometimes success sneaks up on artists in unlikely ways, and in 2004, it did just that thanks to a duet with Evanescence vocalist (and Morgan's girlfriend) Amy Lee on the radio hit, "Broken," which appeared on "The Punisher" movie soundtrack.

"That song did wonderful things for us," he said. "It enabled us to tour overseas and it did wonderful things for us worldwide -- we were blown away by its success."

But that band soon learned the drawback of getting sucked into the mainstream -- putting what's marketable ahead of the band's artistic vision. In 2004, the band's label, Wind-up Records, opted to re-release its 2002 debut, Disclaimer, instead of allowing the band to head back to the studio to record its sophomore effort.

"It was understandably frustrating because we didn't want to delay this album," he said. "But in retrospect, it worked out, because at that time if we had gone into the studio, we wouldn't have recorded an album as good as this one."v
Success and label issues aside, Seether managed to keep their sound going in a straight line on their new record, Karma and Effect, instead of conforming to record execs' standards.

Morgan said the band went into the studio with only one intention -- writing a great rock record.

"I'm not very good at deciding what will be a hit song and if anything, I just wanted to get away from that," he said. "That was the mindset we had - just to write an album that we would all enjoy being a part of."

Apparently, the band wanted to record an album just like Disclaimer, as each share a lot of the same elements - rock filled with both soft and grinding choruses, all with the occasional growl or scream. And while it has some potential radio hits like "Remedy" and "I'm the One," the best moments come on the emotional rockers "Because of Me" and "Burrito."

Even before "Broken" put the band in the limelight, they were tour junkies, hitting about 450 shows in the band's first year and a half, all while struggling with various line-up changes.

This time out, Morgan said Seether plans to play only five shows a week instead of seven.

"It is easier playing almost every night when you only have half-hour sets," he said. "Now we get up there and we play up to an hour and a half - we'd rather not burn ourselves out."

Morgan even admits there isn't much the band does outside of, well, the band.

"It's so mind-numbing to play games or watch television, so what we've been doing is actually jamming and practicing on the bus," he said.

But Morgan admits to one guilty pleasure.

"Lately we've been getting into really crappy rags like US Weekly -- it's fun to read," he said.

Morgan said there isn't space to do much else, although he would like to learn how to play the piano. "But that would be tough to do on this bus," he said.

And while Morgan is an unusually levelheaded guy considering the success of his band, he attributes that to his simple goal.

"We're all here just to play music; it's a good feeling for a change."