Volume Mag

Seether Shaun Morgan
July 2004

Disclaimer certified Gold! Disclaimer II hits the streets, and "Broken" featuring Amy Lee shoots to number four on the Billboard modern rock charts (7/10/04) and a huge summer tour! Still, Seether's gracious frontman, Shaun Morgan, takes time out for a chat and to tell it like it is.

How did the re-mix/re-release of Disclaimer that you have named Disclaimer II come about?
We thought that we were finished touring the album, and they wanted "Broken" for the Punisher Soundtrack. We immediately called Amy (Lee) to do it. We had wanted her to sing on it originally, but it didn't work out. So, we did a different version than we had originally intended. We went into the studio and finished the song. The label freaked out and was all excited about it; radio heard about it and got all excited. It was on the Punisher Soundtrack. The label said, "Well, we should re-release the album with that song." I, at the very least, wanted to give the fans, who had bought the original album, something new. I added on four new songs, and the soundtrack songs we've done in the past are on Disclaimer II as well. There is also a DVD included with all of our music videos. With the excitement behind "Broken," it has opened the world up to us and guaranteed release in a whole bunch of other countries that before didn't even want to look our way. Disclaimer II is a temporary thing. Yes, we're re-releasing our album, but we'll have a new album out six months later rather than releasing one in June.

I read your journal online, and it seems that you are a little uncomfortable with the re-release scenario because of your fans…
I am very uncomfortable with it, but I can only do so much. If there is anything that I do in this band it is that I keep the fans in the foreground. I have an email address that fans can email me directly. I am on our message board at least twice a day. It's almost an obsessive thing, but I want the fans to be able to have one on one contact with us. If they take the time to come to the shows and buy the albums… I owe that to them. I've grown more comfortable with the re-release idea, but initially I wasn't comfortable with it at all.

When I read your journal, I felt bad for you; because, it kind of made me feel like you were left swinging in the breeze.
(Laughing) If you're on this side of the business, and this is something that I am sure that you have to do also, you have to keep your tongue firmly planted in your cheek and mind what you say; because, you don't want to anger the wrong people. I knew by saying what I did in my journal that some people would get it. I'm glad that you picked up on the fact that there was some level of discomfort there.

There are a lot of positive things coming out of the Disclaimer II release.
Absolutely, we're going to have distribution in so many countries that wouldn't touch the album before. We're very excited about that. We're also touring with Evanescence, and they sell-out every place they play.

You put a lot of heart into your fans and what they think and feel don't you?
People say that I shouldn't, but that, to me, is such a cliché! Without the fans bands are nothing! I've heard band members say, "Screw the fans, man!" That is the lamest thing I have ever heard. Without those people buying your albums, coming to your shows, and buying your crappy t-shirts, you would have nothing! There are people in bands that I admired when I was growing up, then when I met them, they were dickhead rock stars. I hated those people! What is that? You play in a band, so you're just WAY cooler than everyone else because you play guitar? That is the lamest thing ever! I make myself as available as I possibly can to the fans; because, I appreciate everything they've done for me.

Does all of the media "hawking" when it comes to you and Amy get under your skin? You seem like a laid back kind of person.
I have been put in positions now that I don't like. Amy is in a position where she lives her life under a microscope, and I don't like to. Walking down the "Red Carpet" (Grammy's) really irritated the hell out of me. I'm there; because, Amy wants me to be there, but I would rather be there with my band, you know what I mean? It's a weird, internal conflict that I generally have a hold on, but sometimes it gets the better of me and I rant and rave. I don't read anything that people write about us. People on my message board hate Amy; people on Amy's message board hate me. It's just a bunch of jealous guys and girls depending on whose message board. They say things about her on my message board and it's like, "How can you say this? You don't even know her!" I just stay away from things like that.

We've spoken, and she's (Amy Lee) a great girl. It's cool that you two have each other, and you're dealing with the same type of life and career situations.
I was married at one point. I got divorced; because, my ex-wife couldn't understand that I wasn't out on tour sleeping with groupies or partying it up. I was actually touring; because, I was trying to make money for her and my daughter. She came out one time, she lives in South Africa, and we were doing some Spring Break show and backstage there were models. She assumed that was how it always was. The whole thing fell apart; because, she didn't understand that you can do this (tour) and not succumb to infidelity. There are some of us who just do this for the love of the music. That's why I love being with Amy; because, I'll be on the phone with her and say, "Hey, I have to go. I've got an interview." It's not an issue of me not wanting to speak to her. She just says, "Oh cool, call me back."

About the collaboration on "Broken" you were quoted as saying "It's not something I would do again; because, there are a lot of political things that go on with working with someone." (Article on VH1.com and MTV.com)
That article was made to be very negative, and I would really like to explain my side of it. The guy said, "What was it like working with her…?" I said, "It was really cool working with her, but I wouldn't do it again." BECAUSE the amount of the "behind the scenes" political stuff that goes on is insane. Managers holding this over my head and things that I don't necessarily want to deal with. We did this song; because, we wanted to do it together, and we wanted to do something cool together. Then, it's just like anything else. You start playing in a band; because, you love music, and then you have to hire managers and lawyers. The business side is something that not everyone wants to deal with. That's not what we signed up for. We did the song, we thought it would be cool, and then it became this huge thing. If we let it, it could have gotten between us and destroyed us; because, it's such a contemptuous issue with some people. Contemptuous in the sense of, "We owe our careers to Amy, now; because, she's on the song and that's the ONLY reason why we've become successful." Both bands have a strong solid fan base, so that's not it. That's why I said that I wouldn't do it again; because, these are the things that they hold over my head that I know not to be true. If someone keeps saying it to you, you start to believe it. When enough people say to me, "You wouldn't be anywhere without Amy," that kind of stuff could eventually wind-up with Amy and I not being together. The amount of pressure that it put on the relationship was not healthy. We will definitely work together again just not in the near future.

The "Broken" video is beautifully done. Did you ever find out the story behind that place that you shot the video at?
I have an idea. It was a crystal meth lab, and I guess there was a family living there. The father and mother were the meth dealers and cookers. I don't know if anyone died or what exactly had happened. No one really wanted to talk about it. It was kind of macabre; because, there were prescriptions that hadn't been completed, kids toys, and playing cards. It definitely looked like a storm had blown through the place while the family was having dinner. Having been there, I don't think that I would ever want to go back.

Tell me about your "love" of Techno and now POP Punk?
(Laughing…) I REALLY have a problem with music that doesn't make ANY sense. It's all for financial benefit. I guess that every decade has a scourge of horrible music. In the 70's we had disco, and the 80's was the real horrible techno stuff. Growing up in South Africa is very different. The music that is popular there is this euro-trashdisco- underground-rave crap that no one here listens to, which is awesome. That is why I have this inherent hatred of it. Everyone listens to it, and it doesn't make any sense! "I'm Blue da-da-di-da-da-dah I'm Blue," that's all the song says, and people are like, "Yeah! This song is awesome!" Wow! You get no value out of a song like that, at all, lyrically or musically. As far as I'm concerned, I think that Pop Punk is just the new Boy Band. Unfortunately, what ProTools did was that they put in a pitch processor for vocals, and now, you can put pretty boys in a band, and they don't have to be able to sing. They can tune the vocals LIVE NOW! I've seen it happen! I've seen bands do it! There are these bands that are horribly mediocre and have ridiculously juvenile lyrics. They're writing about, "Mommy and Daddy hate each other…" It's like, dude, you sound like you're two years old! It's not even about teen angst; it's about "My girlfriend broke up with me but hey, guess what I was banging her best friend." Kids are eating it up, but then again, they dig Eminem, too. Eminem actually has an edge. You can love him or hate him, but he is actually getting up and saying, "Screw the censors, screw the government." THAT is what rock is NOT doing except for Rage Against the Machine, but nobody is saying anything about their stuff anymore. There's no social commentary from the music that's popular today. I always thought that was such an important part of music. It's sad; because, there was such an intense honesty and truth in the music ten to fifteen years ago. Now, I'm so hard pressed to find anything out there that's real. It's not that I hate everything. I'm desperately looking for something out there that I like and can identify with. I'm not finding it, and I'm just disgusted by it. Take these Pop Punk bands… they all sound the same to me. The all look the same to me, and they're SELLING! Everyone criticizes us for maybe sounding like Nirvana, but these Pop Punk bands all sound like Green Day. Yeah, we may sound like Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but at least those guys were cool!

Upcoming plans for Seether and when are you slated to head into the studio?
July through August: we'll be on the Evanescence Summer Tour along with Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. It should be a good time, let me tell you! Many, many beers will be consumed in the name of rock or something. August through October: we will be in the studio recording our next album! Yes! We get to record twelve to fourteen new tracks with the intention of bringing them to your ears VERY early in 2005. The band has started a guerilla band website that we are going to own and update ourselves.

www.seetherville.com

It's going to be this cool screwed up village type of website. It's going to be owned, maintained, and updated by us, so that if we take pictures with fans one night, they will be up on the message board or website the next day.

Catch Seether on Tour with Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, and Three Days Grace coming to our neck of the woods this summer!

For all things Seether check out:
www.seether.com and "Coming Soon"
www.seetherville.com