Combining controversy, contrasting view points, and great music may be the key to Seether opening much needed lines of communication in the US and throughout the world.
I’ve been following Seether for over six years now and I have to admit I do have a touch of the fan girl in me for them. Getting to actually interview Dale Stewart was somewhat of a thrill even before I sat down to prepare for it. Once I did however, I became even more anxious. See, my goal with any interview, is to provide a different angle than the cookie cutter style of regurgitating facts already available. I want more, I want unique quotes and facts and stories that compel people to want to read. I didn’t expect to see a music video with such a strong message much less one that literally forces you to see all the view points and encourage you to always find the truth in what you see. With everyone, especially in the U.S. eager to point fingers and set blame, the concept of neutrality and truth keeps getting buried. It poses my question why does a band from South Africa, who just a generation ago was still dealing with apartheid feel the need to tell the U.S. who has had “equal rights” for fifty years how we should deal with racism? Well, because obviously, we have forgotten what it was like and how hurtful it was.
This isn’t a quote, it’s my opinion. After all of this let’s get to the real story.
On the album Isolate and Medicate, all I can say is Shaun Morgan is probably at his best vocally than he has been in years. Having just gone to the show and seeing Seether live I can honestly say THEY ARE BACK! Musically it is clean and flowing. The single accompanied by the amazing video (watch it here) Nobody Praying For Me, is the serious and haunting song it’s title would suggest. The thought and work that went into this interactive video is just mind blowing. You actually click on various characters in the opening scene to watch the events unfold, how the media spins the story, and put yourself into the position of both the officers and those involved. When asked why Seether decided to do this project Dale simply said they wished to give the message to “question everything, get all the facts and not to just rely on the media’s spin of the event, and inviting to to swap places with someone to try to understand all the information” adding the response has been “very positive and thoughtful”. Admittedly he says they “ don’t know of any critism for it because they typically ignore anything negative written about them”. He also agreed that is was primarily geared at the U.S. Audience since that seems to be where most of these types of stories have been coming from.
When discussing the album title, Isolate and Medicate, it is already published on their website that Shaun Morgan created a type of sanctuary in his home in order to Isolate himself to help his creativity. This lead me to my next question, “and Medicate means?”. I received a surprisingly candid response. “Everyone medicates themselves. Whether is be smoking, drinking, weed, or other things. For us its alcohol, we are a drinking band.” I myself have seen a great video on You Tube of Guitarist Bryan Wickman and Dale Stewart having a go at Karaoke. Watch that here. I want in on the next time! All three members Shaun Morgan, Dale Stewart and John Humphrey, with Bryan Wickman as a touring member, have these larger than life stage personas, but they really are just normal people who happen to be amazingly talented and doing well at their jobs.
As always I do ask about the perils of road life. Dale elaborated on the hardships letting me in on how “when in Australia and New Zealand we must fly everywhere”. This is particularly problematic when “you have a show that goes on until very late and then a four AM lobby call to get to the next flight to do it all over again”. In the states it doesn’t seem to have been much better as on the day of the Jackson, MS show I covered they had just flown in from Wisconsin after spending many nights back to back in Florida prior. It didn’t seem to stop them from bringing down the house, or stop Shaun Morgan from coming out to play guitar and sing a cover of Phil Collins’ “Another Day In Paradise” a duet with Mississippi Native, Brad Arnold of Three Doors Down, at the request of Brad’s wife, even though he hadn’t played it in years It turned into an amazing sing along with a sold out show, just as in this previous shot video. Watch it here. It was a show stopper.
I also had a chance to talk to Dale about Seether’s Rise Above Fest which began in 2012. “It is an homage to Shaun’s brother who took his own life. Seether created a music festival named after their hit song, to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention, and mental illness Through their work with the SAVES Foundation, each year the festival gets bigger and better with many more “bands getting behind the cause”. It’s all about “playing, having fun, and talking about prevention”. For more information got to the website: http://riseabovefest.com/ join in by attending, or making a small donation.
Written by Belinda Glass Reedy
Photographer Belinda Glass Reedy for Got Image