Seether's Shaun Morgan on returning to SA, getting injured and the local music industry

Cape Town - South African rock superstars Seether are returning to South Africa for one night only and will play at Marks Park in Johannesburg on Sunday, 20 May 2018. 

The show is almost sold out and local fans are excited to see the band back in SA after an extended absence from our shores.

We called lead singer Shaun Morgan and spoke to him about coming back to the country where Seether was formed, what he thinks of the state of the local music industry and whether or not he parties as hard he used to on the road.


Where are you right now?

I am in London right now, we’re currently on tour with Nickelback. Then I think they take a break for two weeks and we come to South Africa and then we go to New Zealand and Australia. Then we meet back up in Europe and tour another month, so we have a bit of a hectic schedule in front of us. 

What made you want to come back to South Africa for this tour?

I’ve always wanted to come back and come back as often as possible, it’s just not logistically always the easiest thing to pull off. You know, it’s quite expensive to get everyone on a plane; it’s quite expensive to rent gear and a whole bunch of stuff. And, unfortunately South Africa is one of those countries that doesn’t neatly fall into a touring strategy. We’ve always wanted to come back for a long time, I think the last time we came back (if I’m not mistaken) was a few years ago for Oppikoppi. Which was great, which was awesome, but I do wish we could make it out more often because I love being in South Africa and obviously I love being home. Ya, we’re looking forward to it. 

What’s the one thing you always do when you get home? 

Well, I guess the easy thing would be to say, ‘hang out with the family’ so that and sleep and if the weather is nice, it’s a bit of cliché but if the weather is nice you have a braai with the family. You just try and be as normal as possible. I think this time, we’re only going to be there for just over two days. I think we get there the day before, play the next day and leave the next morning. It’s probably exactly 48 hours, so we don’t really have much time to socialise. I think on this one we might just chill in our hotel rooms and get as much rest as possible. Because we’ve got that pretty hectic Australia/New Zealand leg right after that. We tend to lay low these days, we don’t tend to go as crazy as we used to. I’m looking forward to it, I’m really excited about it. 

That type of rigorous tour schedule must be brutal on your body, to fly for so long and to only be on the ground for about 48 hours before flying out again, how do you keep yourself together?

(Laughs) It’s funny you should ask that because about a week ago, right before we were about to go on tour, I got out of the shower and I was drying my hair and I managed to pinch a nerve in my neck so for the past week I have had this stabbing pain in my shoulder blade. I finally managed to go see a chiropractor a few days ago. We’re all falling apart to be honest, there’s no two ways about it. I wish someone had told me when I was 21 that it would probably be a good idea to take care of myself. Nobody did. So, if there’s any advice for anyone out there it would be: ‘If you’re in this for the long haul, take care of yourself from the get-go. Don’t start when you’re almost 40.’ So ya, we struggle through it and it’s fine. We survive on adrenaline and we enjoy playing the shows and those are the highs that make up for the times when getting out of bed hurts a little bit more than it should. 

Speaking of highs (and lows): Seether was first formed in 1999, what have been some of the highs and lows of that time?

The lows are easy, it’s being away from family, being away from home, especially when you start out. We would start out in the States, you’d be on tour 9 or 10 months before you even got to go home. Those are the ones where you’re really out there trying to make a fan base. You’re out there trying to leave your mark on a crowd and trying to get people to listen to the music, that’s the tough time. But I think even now it’s tough not seeing family and not being home, especially if you’ve had a break of a month or two and you get used to being at home; you get a routine going. You hang out with the family and the next you know you have to get on a plane or a bus and - in this instance -  you won’t see them again for 9 weeks. So that part, the emotional stuff, is the low part of it. The highs: we got to tour with Metallica, we got to tour with Audioslave, I got to sing on stage with Chris Cornell!


You know, those are the kind of things, were if I think back on them I can’t believe they happened. Even now, being on tour with Nickelback, I think the guys are great guys and they’ve been on tour with us many times. It's the third time we’ve been on tour with them and so far, they’ve been awesome. These are things that you never thought would happen, when you were a kid. You know, I grew up on a pig farm just outside of Pietermaritzburg, it wasn’t like I was destined for greatness (laughs) it wasn’t like: ‘This is what’s going to happen.’ It’s been a lot of hard work so it’s nice to see it pay off. 

What has changed in the South African music scene in the past twenty years?

Well, I’m a little out of touch (with the South African music scene) but the one thing is that a lot of the heavier bands…there was a lot more of a market for them. It seems like that market has dwindled quite substantially. Even though, just before we left, we used to play in Joburg and a lot of those places started closing down because of neighbourhood complaints and they didn’t want the loud music. I think that’s just because it’s not the most acceptable style of music to play. Then again, I might be completely wrong, I know that the festivals are still doing really well in South Africa. Oppikoppi is still huge and I know that there’s still a great scene. Some of my friends have come over; Chevelle came over and they had a great time. There’s definitely a market for it, it’s just not very self-sustaining, it’s kind of sad. 

For us guys in the States, for us to do a single tour takes four to five months whereas in South Africa you can tour the entire country in about a week, because you play 5 or 6 shows. It’s a much larger place for us to try and exist, I guess. I wish I knew more about the South African scene, unfortunately you lose touch because it’s such a world away. 

We have a lot going on, so it’s difficult to stay in touch, but I love Francois van Coke, he’s one of my favourite people in the whole world. So, I came to stay in contact with him and follow up on what he’s doing and him and Karen Zoid have had a lot of success together and that’s cool. He does little things that I sort of pick up on here and there.


In fact, I try to stay up-to-date as much as possible, it’s just difficult. Most of the stuff coming out of South Africa is horrible, terrible political stuff so you first have to wade through all of that before you think of looking up new rock bands for example. A lot of the stuff I read is quite disconcerting. 

Before I became a music journalist I was one of the kids who clamoured to see you on tour in Cape Town, I’ve heard that some crazy things happened at those shows back in the day; can you tell us more about that?

(Laughs) We did a lot of crazy things. I don’t think any one thing stands out. That’s the thing when you pride yourself on how hard you can drink for 10 to 15 years, you tend to forget a lot of things. And if I look back now I go, ‘wow I did some really stupid things’ but I also don’t really remember a lot of things. We’ve done all the things you read about, unfortunately, we can’t say that we haven’t but these days we’re a far more demure band. If there’s a crazy story you’ve heard from any band we were probably in the framework. 

What’s the one thing you always take on tour with you?

These days I always take a mini-recording studio. I always try and keep my mind busy. I have a little setup that I will put up on a daily basis, if I feel creative. I’ll try and record some ideas or sometimes a song. 

If you want to see Shaun and the guys perform the only tickets available are for general admission and they cost R395. Click here to find out more.