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Seether

Seether


There are musical styles, like Alternative Rock, that become ubiquitous. Still, it's a little odd when an Alt. Rock group hails from South Africa - not exactly a place known for liberal attitudes or cut-loose lifestyles.

Guitarist, singer, songwriter Shaun Morgan paid for his Rock tendencies. An outcast from birth, his father was English and that set him apart from the other Afrikaans (Dutch ancestry), Morgan took a fateful step. Turning toward Rock caused his devout Christian family to practically disown him. Morgan stuck with it, hooking up with bassist/vocalist Dale Stewart and drummer Nick Oshiro. Seether was on its way. Riding the alienation theme, Morgan's lyrics were said to reflect his experiences, Seether scored big in their native country where their post-Grunge, wall of sound guitar, was in sharp contrast to the rest of the South African music scene.

Patrick Callahan was added as the second guitarist in '02. That same year, Wind-Up Records issued "Disclaimer" in the U.S. However, Morgan was unhappy with the mix so "Disclaimer II" was released in '04 with new songs including "Broken," a duet with Morgan and Evanescence's Amy Lee (an ill-fated romance had blossomed between the two). "Karma And Effect" hit the following year.

Oshiro served as tour drummer for Static X before taking on the assignment full-time. Kevin Soffera replaced him. But he soon left to be with his wife and concentrate on session work. Next up was former Nixons drummer John Humphrey who played on Seether's '05 release "Karma And Effect."



In the summer of '06 Callahan departed. Now a trio again, the group expressed no immediate desire to add a new member. "Maybe if the right guy comes along . . . we'll consider it," said Stewart. "But we're not going to throw somebody in the mix just for the sake of it." Guitarist Troy McLawhorn eventually got the assignment in '08.

"Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces" was Seether's third studio album. "It's been quite some time since we've had a single at radio, so we're extremely excited to be back in the saddle, so to speak," said Morgan of "Fake It." The song ended the Foo Fighters' 18 week run at #1 on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks with "The Pretender." "Fake It" was also #1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.

The 12-track set included "Like Suicide," "6 Gun Quota" and "Eyes Of The Devil." "We've adopted an 'anything goes' attitude for this album. We didn't restrict ourselves to straight Rock songs, and we were completely open to new ideas." He felt it was the group's best collective effort to date. Humphrey concurred. "I've never been one to sit and listen to my own stuff - but I have been listening to this one," said Humphrey. "I'm quite proud of it." That's just the sort of thing you'd expect the new guy (relatively) to say.

The success of "Fake It" and "Rise Above This" turned Seether's frontman around. "I'm having fun playing music again for the first time in years," said Morgan. "I [had] started feeling like I was burning out on the whole thing and I started feeling like it wasn't fun anymore."

Speaking of fun, every now and then somebody takes a campy, mess of a song, and does something with it. In '74 Grand Funk Railroad took Little Eva's early '60's chart topping hit "Loco-Motion" to #1 (it's the only song in pop history to reach #1 by two different artists). A quarter century later ('99), Pearl Jam recorded "Last Kiss" ("oh where, oh where has my baby gone"), another early '60's 'gem', and the song became the group's highest charting pop single (#2). Then in '09, Seether's label asked the band to record a song for Valentine's Day. As a joke, they took Wham!/George Michael's overwrought '80's hit "Careless Whisper" and gave it a Metal sheen. Well, the track took on a life of its own, even to the point of it being included in the reissue of "Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces."

After completing an '09 tour with Nickelback, it was decided that Seether would take the remainder of the year off. Still, they performed a series of one-off shows for military personnel stationed in Asia.

Under the guidance of producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots), Seether recorded "Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray" in Nashville. Humphrey talked up the album calling it ""very strong, melodic, and heavy at times."

But before the album dropped, Seether announced via Twitter that "McLawhorn had decided to leave the band to pursue other interests."

Indicative of the continuous sales decline in the music business, "Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray" went to #2 on the Billboard 200 and topped the U.S. Rock Albums and Alternative Albums charts on first week sales of 61,000 units. That was the group's best showing since '05's "Karma And Effect" moved 81,000 copies in its first week but managed to only get to #8 on the Billboard chart.

"Country Song," the lead single from the group's fifth studio album, was named Billboard's Active Rock Song of the Year.

A couple of years later, "Seether 2002-2013," a two-disc greatest hits collection, arrived with a cover Veruca Salt's "Seether." Seether lifted their name from the Veruca Salt song.

With the past decade appropriately chronicled Seether made Bryan Wickmann, the band's long-time guitar tech, their lead guitarist before presenting "Isolate And Medicate" in June of '14. The album, which debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200, contained the single "Words As Weapons."


Seether Discography

Studio Albums:

2000 Fragile (as Saron Gas)
2002 Disclaimer
2004 Disclaimer II
2005 Karma And Effect
2007 Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces
2011 Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray
2013 Seether 2002-2013 (a greatest hits collection)
2014 Isolate And Medicate

Nirvana may be gone but the approach or attack, lives on. Seether features sledgehammer guitars and guttural vocals riding roughshod over a driving rhythm section. Seether isn't going to make anyone forget the Grunge masters of the '90s but they hold their own.

 

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