Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Interview: Shaun Morgan of Seether

Being different has never bothered Shaun Morgan.

"We don't really follow trends," said the lead singer of South African hard rock band Seether.

"We're not underground, we're not emo, we're not punk rock, we're not metal. We don't really have a place."

Not having a place seems to work for Seether. With three chart-topping albums since 2002 and numerous No. 1 radio hits including "Fake It" and "Rise Above This" off their current full-length Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces, Seether is one of the biggest modern rock bands on the planet right now. Loud guitars, murky riffs and aggressive-yet-introspective lyrics characterize the group's Nirvana-inspired sound.

Speaking enthusiastically from a concert stop in the U.K., Morgan wasn't taking interviews at press time, but made a special exception to talk with us.

"Fake It" is huge. (The track, which criticizes materialism, reached No. 1 on the Billboard rock charts.) I heard the song started out as an experiment.

(He laughs.) Yeah, I was having one of those days where I was kind of in a weird mood, and I had this drum beat with this swing to it, and I was like, "Man, that's kind of weird, let's see what I can do with it." So, "Fake It" originally started off as just being a complete joke to amuse myself.

Dating and breaking up in the public eye must be rough. You took the high road when Amy Lee (of Evanescence) put your personal relationship out there with "Call Me When You're Sober."

Yeah, I did write some songs that were complete lash backs, but those I knew were never intended to be used, they were just for me, personally. I'm not going to say that some songs don't touch on that subject, but not in an obvious fashion. I'm never going to air out anybody else's dirty laundry. That's not who I want to be. And I think that was the route she felt she needed to take. ... But I'm telling you, as much as you've just given me accolades, it was a tough decision to make.

Your current single, "Rise Above This," comes from a very private place. (Morgan wrote the song for his brother who has since taken his own life.) Do you have mixed emotions about its success?

I think it's a positive thing. If you consider it to be a tribute to somebody, then you'd rather it was successful than it wasn't. It's weird having my diary on the radio, but I couldn't do it any other way. It is the way I write music, and it is very personal to me. I don't think it's more important than other songs we've done, but it helped me through a rough time, and that's really what its intention is. That it can help other people.

-Anne Erickson, Gannett LSJ

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