Interview: Seether – Shaun Morgan, Dale Stewart and John Humphrey

I was actually talking to Peter Iwers, the bassist of In Flames, before Christmas and he said the same thing. He went on holiday to New York with his wife and he was looking forward to going into HMV and Tower Records but he couldn’t find one single store that he could buy a CD from.

Shaun Morgan: Unless you go down to the Village (Greenwich Village) and find some little second hand store but of course you won’t find any of the new stuff that is just being released. Even then that sort of place is the size of this room, it’s tiny. The first real CD store I found was in Australia and I found out that it had been around for thirty years. Even where I am from, you need to drive at least an hour or two just to get to the nearest place that sells CDs. I’ve seen people go into a CD store just to buy one of those little iTunes cards [laughs]. How far do you need to travel to get to a store that sells CDs?

Seether Glasgow Acoustic Performance

Seether Glasgow Acoustic Performance

Five minutes in the town where I live. I have an HMV basically across the road or if I had to come into Glasgow, my overall trip would be around an hour and then we have a few of them here in the city centre.

Shaun Morgan: At least you’re still lucky in that way to have several stores in your city and one in directly in our own hometown. There’s an instant gratification when you are able to pick up a CD but what’s sad is that people don’t appreciate the time and effort that went into the album and the packing. I suppose it will become a hell of a lot cheaper to start making and selling records though now with no physical album production costs [laughs]. If anything, bands will just start to do a limited pressing of albums and they will become collector’s items

That seems to be the way it is now with a lot of bands on independent record labels. It is much easier to do a limited run with a t-shirt and something else that the hardcore fans will be prepared to buy. Those fans are also willing to pay more for such a special collector’s item because of their attachment to the band.

John Humphrey: Dedicated fans will always be there but you never want to rip off them, you still have to appreciate them.

I want to go back to the topic of diversity and also ‘Country Song.’ To date that is your most experimental song and although you showcase a lot of diversity on the album, had you thought about doing another song with a sound that you have never tried before or did you and it just didn’t work out?

Shaun Morgan: The problem is that we’re just not the only ones involved in what makes the album, there are other people. It all starts with the arsehole A&R guy. Once you have finally dealt with him, and at this point the band, producer and management are always on the same wavelength, then you have the label to go to and for a bunch of non-musicians, they certainly have a lot of views on the music. For example, they all told us that ‘Country Song’ was a shit song but we proved them wrong.

You don’t top the rock charts in the US and Canada with a shit song.

Shaun Morgan: [Laughs] I know. A lot of the stuff we write is really different, outside of what Seether would be categorised as but I think a lot of it would be best saved for another project. In all honesty we just love playing rock music but if you can do something that is unique, and it works, then that’s cool, it gives you something new but you need to stay within a level of what the band is. I can write songs for me or in other styles all day long but you’re never going to hear them [laughs]. I have a hard drive at home which has easily 200 to 300 songs on there with a bunch of other ideas that have never made it to the table because they are just so far out there. There are three of us who need to like what we’re doing and if one of us doesn’t like it then it doesn’t happen. We’re not going to push each other into something we hate, the A&R guy will do that [laughs].

The title of this album, ‘Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray,’ is all about letting go and trying to move on, step away from your past and demons – well of course you know that.


From your perspective – I’ve read a few interviews recently were artists still say they feel emotionally involved in songs years after they release them – if these stories are linked to events in your life that you have trouble letting go of, how do you move on when you’re performing them over 200 nights a year? Do you feel that sort of attachment to them still or are they just songs now.

Shaun Morgan: Meanings shift and change all the time and honestly man, no-one is going to up on stage and feel every lyric every night, it’s a job. When you write them and you rehearse them a couple of times or you don’t perform them for a while and then you come back to them, then yeah it’s cool, you feel what the song was about. Most of the time now it’s just a case of looking at it and saying “here’s the melody and these are the lyrics, let’s go out there and do it as well as we possibly can” and that’s all it is. I was actually talking to Brad [Arnold] from 3 Doors Down about this and he says that some nights he will just catch himself thinking about what he ordered for dinner [laughs].
Dale Stewart: You just go into autopilot.
Shaun Morgan: Unfortunately you do but you still play with the same energy and passion. You can’t be expected to always have that same fire you had in the beginning. We’re going to playing ‘Fine Again’ twice tonight, right now and later tonight, and we’ve played that song easily four thousand times. I still like playing it but Jesus [laughs], it’s very rare that I will get an emotional response from it.
Dale Stewart: It’s like crying over the same movie that you’ve been watching every day for ten years. You know the story and you know what’s coming, it just doesn’t mean the same anymore.

Seether – Fine Again

The last question I have for you as you’re about to get ready and go out to perform is about your live show and how it has changed over the last year. I know this isn’t the first time you have been a three-piece but when Troy [McLawhorn] left last year, and you have already spoke about his departure in detail, how did that change the dynamic of the live show now that you were a guitarist down again? Is the band in a much better place as a three-piece?

Dale Stewart: Yeah it’s great. I think we’re actually having more fun now than ever before. A four-piece is cool and it has its pros and cons but I think the three-piece is cooler and it sets us apart from the other bands as they are all four-piece or five-piece bands and there are very few three-piece bands around.
Shaun Morgan: We don’t use like backing tracks or anything like that, what you hear on stage is just us three guys.
John Humphrey: No Pro Tools rigs set up or anything [laughs].
Shaun Morgan: Yeah, no Memorex running behind us or BASF Dat tapes running in the back, it’s just us [laughs]. You sort of become complacent when you have someone else in the band that can pick up some of slack. We never felt like we needed anybody anyway, that was also a decision imposed upon us ten years ago by the record company but not knowing any better we appeased them back then and now we’ve been through three guitarists in ten years. Enough is enough with it, we see it as three strikes and the idea of it is now out. We have more fun and the shows are far better albeit a little more stripped down but that’s fine with me. I think the idea of what we started this band out to be has now returned to this day and we’re back on that old school train of thought.

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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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