Independent News and Media

'Seething In The States'

July 13, 2004

Seether (previously known as Saron Gas) is making it big in the Northern Hemisphere. Siner Shaun Morgan Welgemoed tunes about making it and wooing a rock star.

Q: How did you get your deal with the US record label?
A: Sony Germany were interested, but they can only sign bands from Germany, Sweden and Austria. So they passed the album on to labels that distribute through Sony, and Diana Meltzer at Wind-Up Records loved us. She flew us to New York to play a showcase. Then they said they wanted to sign us. It was the moment I'd dreamt about as a child.

Q: Are other majors kicking themselves they didn't sign you?
A: I hope so. Some people at the majors in SA were so condescending. They'd speak to us like special needs children. But it gave us more drive to achieve our goal.

Q: You had to rename the band...
A: It's a compromise we made with the label. At first we were p***** off, but it made sense when [original drummer] Dave Cohoe left. We needed a change, and this gave us a chance to do it.

Q: How did you arrive at the name Seether?
A: It's a Veruca Salt song. I first heard it on Barney Simon's show when I was 13. I love the song, and it seemed to fit our sound.

Q: Why did you decide to change your name to Morgan?
A: My middle name's Morgan. I use it 'cos nobody here in Los Angeles can pronounce Welgemoed. It gives me privacy. If I use Welgemoed to check into a hotel, nobody's going to knock my door down trying to get an autograph after I've just got out of the shower!

Q: Are you guys made for life now?
A: Not a chance! We've too much debt to repay! Maybe in 10 years, but right now we're scrambling to recoup our album costs.

Q: What advice can you give SA bands wanting to crack it?
A: Work as hard as you can. We practised seven hours a day until we could play in the pitch dark. Do what your heart tells you.

Q: How many albums have you sold?
A: In the US we've sold 500 000, which means we've gone gold.

Q: Isn't it odd that SA's most happening band sounds American?
A: I don't know that there's one SA rock sound. Squeal was the first SA band I listened to, because they sounded great. I didn't think about them as SA rock. I love Karen Zoid, but she probably wouldn't do well overseas because she's Afrikaans. We wanted to make music that would transcend all boundaries

Q: What other bands have you played with and met?
A: Staind, Cold, Sevendust, Nickelback, Foo Fighters, and Evanescence, obviously. Also Stone Sour, John Mayer, Korn... almost every band out there.

Q: Oh yes, you're dating Evanescence singer Amy Lee. How did the two of you hook up?
A: We met after a radio show, and sang drunken karaoke together. Some song from Grease.

Q: What's she like?
A: She's the closest I've come to finding anybody who's the same as me. She was the first woman I could speak to for hours on the phone. Normally I'm one of those abrupt phone people.

Q: What does she see in you?
A: I have no idea! She must have cataracts or something.

Q: What's been your most hectic tour bus experience so far?
A: Listening to a bandmate having sex in his bunk, two feet away.

Q: Who's the most famous person you've met?
A: Liv Tyler. She's as pretty in real life as on screen. She helped me put on eyeliner before a gig.

Q: Does the band have groupies?
A: They always end up with other, cooler bands. Besides, Dale has a girlfriend, John is married, and I have Amy, so the only available one is Pat, and he's hairy!

Q: What's the most rock 'n roll thing you've done?
A: Wooed a rock star. That was pretty sweet, I thought!

Q: What was the last tattoo and piercing you got?
A: I had angels tattooed on my forearms and had my lip pierced about a year ago. It all hurts too much to want to do anymore.

Q: Why do you hate techno so much?
A: It's brain-dead music, created for people to go to raves and ingest Ecstasy. It takes as much talent to create as it does to be on Idols. It's huge in Europe, so maybe I should be more tolerant. Nah, f*** it! It sucks and I won't stop until it's eradicated!

Q: Who in the music biz has made the biggest impression on you?
A: Johnny Clegg! I still get a lump in my throat every time I hear Great Heart. I saw Jock Of The Bushveld as a kid, and that was the song playing when Jock died.

Q: Will you ever write a happy song?
A: Maybe when I'm old and grey. Right now I have too much anger and sadness to purge. When I go solo I'll turn to acoustic guitars and happy kids' songs.