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AFTER a run of 150 shows in support of their latest studio album, Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray, Seether’s front man Shaun Morgan is looking forward to settling in for a quiet New Hampshire, New England, Christmas with family and friends.
It’s been four years since Seether enjoyed South African Music Award recognition and almost as long since the band played shows in the country. Not, they say, for lack of trying.
“We had really hoped to be home for Christmas,” Morgan says on the line from the US.
The good news is, with as many as 300 shows planned for next year, there’s a good chance we’ll see them back home sooner rather than later.
“There’s not much time for us,” he says. “We get two weeks, either way, to relax and reconnect, and then we’re back out there again. We’re looking forward to doing a proper national tour next year. It’s important to play as many cities as possible – so that’s what we’ll do.”
Seether continue to convert fans of classic modern rock wherever their tour schedule leads them. Since leaving South Africa in pursuit of the American Dream, Morgan and his bandmates Dale Stewart and John Humphrey have been hard at work at making it a reality.
“We’re truly blessed to have a career in music,” Morgan admits. “We’ve toured with bands way bigger than we are that no longer exist. So, yes, we’re humble and very aware that we’re as big or as small as our fans dictate.”
Since Morgan fell off the wagon six years ago due to substance abuse, he’s more than made up for it with two albums’ worth of life-lesson, chapter-driven cathartic storytelling.
“I think experience and hindsight helped me on my way,” he says.
“We have a place,” Morgan says of Seether’s on-going significance within modern rock and Top 40 reality. “The world is changing and, fortunately for us, our fans are moving with us.”
The band’s sixth Brendan O’Brien-produced album is the reason for their calendar being so chock-a-block with tours to countries they haven’t had a chance to get to for a while.
“Our shows in the new year in New Zealand and Australia sold out in 90 minutes. That’s wonderful confirmation,” he says.
“Places like Russia and other European countries, that last saw us perform there four or five years ago, are also signing up in equal numbers to see the band perform live.”
As 2012 rolls closer and with it ever-diminishing traditional retail album sales (owing to the multitude of online options available), Morgan laments the loss of the package.
“I miss the artwork and creative elements, beyond the music, that aid in making the traditional CD package whole. It’s difficult to be a part of an economy that doesn’t include that,” he explains.
That said, though, this is a band that’s always seen the glass as half-full. “Until someone creates the technology that turns our live show into a holographic replication, we’ll be out there… sweating it live.”
As long as bands like Seether have stories to tell, rock music prevails.
“The more self-indulgent we become, the better the end result,” Morgan says. “Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray is simply another piece of our ongoing journey filled with reality that touches us all.”
For now, the band’s time is happily taken up with shows around the world to promote their latest album.
“There’s no technology out there that can replicate what we do live,” Morgan says. “We need to give punters something that they want and we seem to be ticking all the right boxes on that score.”
With rock – modern or otherwise – clearly influencing popular culture, Seether’s role within that space is certain.
“Rock is here to stay,” he adds. “Every three or four years our fan base evolves and our job, as a band, is to influence that migration. We work hard, tour extensively, but most importantly we stay true to ourselves. We can never afford to be lethargic – ever.”
As our summer kicks in to high gear, Morgan is excited at the prospect of welcoming his KZN family to his East Coast American Christmas.
“It would have been way more fun to be in the southern hemisphere, but being with my family over the holidays, no matter where, is the best gift ever.”
Seether’s New Year’s resolution is to go beyond what we already know and love about them.
The band will play Europe in February and March, with Three Doors Down and Prime Circle. Local fans might have to hold on for a while before dates are confirmed for their homecoming tour, but all bets are on that it will be within the first half of what promises to be the band’s biggest and busiest year yet.
l Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray is out now and available through Musketeer Records.