South African Metal Band Seether Makes Good

by Avi Ghosh
DM Senior Staff Writer
September 29, 2003

It was just a year and a half ago that frontman Shaun Morgan of the South African metal band Seether was issued his visa in hopes of achieving U.S. success.

Within that relatively brief duration, Morgan has been married, divorced, and parted with management and the loss of two original band members.

"All this touring has definitely taken its toll on me. The thing that probably hurts the most is being away from my two-year-old daughter (Jade) who I've seen three times since January (2002)," said Morgan, sitting in the band's tour bus outside Newby's in Memphis. "At least of this (work) and success will allow me to give her anything she wants when she grows up"

The current Seether lineup consists of Morgan taking guitar and vocal duties, Dale Stewart (the other original member) on bass and vocals, and Philadelphian newcomers Pat Callahan on guitars and Kevin Soffera on drums.

"I'm really happy with this final lineup," Morgan said. "I really see this being the band for many years to come.

This is all quite remarkable for Morgan, a military school outcast and product of a broken home, who, at one point, found himself contemplating suicide.

"I ended up running away from home at 17 to record a demo. This is all I really ever wanted to do," Morgan said. "I found myself extremely frustrated and having to drop music for two years because I wasn't headed anywhere with it. I spent time learning jewelry and moving out to London for a few months that really didn't result in anything either."

After much struggle and failure, Morgan returned to South Africa in 1999 to put together his vision of Seether (originally named Saron Gas but changed due to it's ominous connotation) combining his heavier angst-ridden drop-tuned influence of Pantera with the more melodic intricacy of Tool. "I'm so drawn to melody. It really doesn't take much to scream in every single song. The challenge is to find the right balance. Maynard James Keenan (Tool) is a big example of how well it can be done."

Seether went on Monday evening to deliver an aggressive high-energy set to the packed Newby's audience. The gig marked their first headlining bill in Memphis and third appearance since the annual Memphis in May and 93x Christmas show. Opening with the album's first track "Gasoline," the group plowed through the majority of "Disclaimer" with brute force and calculated precision belting out head-bang worthy tracks "Needles," "Pig" and "Pride." It was clearly evident the band's harrowing tour schedule had paid off, as the majority of the attendees sang along to every word, moshing violently during the songs and raising their "metal" signs in between.

Morgan's girlfriend, Amy Lee from Evanesence, who he described as "the girl he's been looking for his entire life," was also at the event showing support to her labelmates and new love interest. The band closed out their 50 minute set with their biggest hit and radio staple, "Fine Again," dedicating it to the late Dave Williams of fellow Ozzfest touring partners, Drowning Pool.

Even after fulfilling their two-year nonstop tour stretch in support of "Disclaimer," the band has no plans in taking a break. Morgan says he will take a month off to write their follow-up and hit the road immediately after the band records it. "When you look at a band like Sevendust, you can't help but admire their dedication to the road. That's why they have an almost cult like following in every city they play and sell out every single club. I feel the same way about our fans. They're very loyal and I know they will support us with our future."