By Leslie Terhorst
I decided to video tape my interview with Shaun Morgan front man/writer/guitarist. Of coarse, I ran out of memory, and didn’t get the last 10 minutes on tape. That’s cool…The pen is mightier than the camera. They say all great artists have a multitude of layers to them, almost like an onion. That’s what enables them to reach so many lives with their words. We can all relate in one way or another to their songs. Well, I peeled away several layers of Shaun that I had no idea existed. The good, the bad, and the ugly layers were all exposed. I have to say I’m very impressed with this guy. I really didn’t want to do a Q & A with Shaun; I honestly love their music and wanted to get to know the personality behind the music. I believe I achieved my goal.
We start off the interview in the typical fashion, “How the hell are you?’ I asked, “I’m great, the tour is going well; we’ve been out since August, and don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Which is great because we love to tour. We’re pretty happy with things.” I asked him about the ‘Fake It’ song and if the inspiration comes from living in L.A. “Some of it was inspired by L.A., some was inspired by, well, my sister. She’s fifteen and she represents what I would consider kids of today, and what I feel kids of today are like. She cares more about Paris Hilton not wearing underwear, than great artists. It’s kind of sad that’s what kids are into. It’s sad that being an individual makes you an outcast as far as kids are concerned. I guess it’s always been that way, but it just seems to be worse today. Kids are following the herd. It’s tragic really.” He continues “If you don’t have people striving to be themselves, or to be creative, then ultimately people just burn. Concentrating on their physical appearance more than their personality. I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen. In 30 years you’re going to have a generation that look great, but don’t have anything to offer the world. They’re more concerned with wearing the right clothes, that their hair is right, and making sure they have boob jobs. As opposed to, can you hold a conversation with somebody, and do you have anything valid to talk about?”.
On that note, I made the assumption that the song Fallen was a direct reference to this belief. But was I wrong. “Fallen, that’s more directly about the side of LA that I was exposed to, like the models, and the ‘velvet rope brigade’, which I’m not comfortable being apart of and certainly never was. But, for a short while I was with someone that was into that kind of stuff. It’s very much a social life. So I was exposed, against my better judgment, to those kinds of things”. We examined further how people want the quick fix. “That deals with that whole culture, you know, if you’re over weight, get by-pass surgery. Everyone wants the quick fix, no one’s willing to work for anything anymore.” Shaun explains, “With all the instant gratification, people have no respect for anything, they want to snap their fingers, and it’s in their hand. Everyone wants maximum return for minimum effort.”
Shaun has had very tumultuous life, and has worked extremely hard for everything he’s wanted, including music. I can understand his frustrations with society, I have also been working ‘real’ jobs since I was 10, so I have to say I agree with his analogy. Shaun went on to say “If you have to work hard for your money, you appreciate your money! I watch these shows on TV and 16 yr. old girls are screaming at their parents because their $90,000 Lexus is blue and not red.” With that statement I was reminded of Miley Cyrus on Leno, completely disrespecting her father in front of America. Shaun continued, “It’s like I said, kids have no respect for their parents, they have no respect for anything. It’s a sad state of affairs. It’s like that movie Idiocracy, basically in 500 years we are all going to be morons because no one did anything valid with their time and money”.
I thought it was time to get back to the subject at hand. The music. So I ask Shaun about the concept behind the ‘Fake It’ video. “We just wanted to do something that was fun, we’ve kind of been portrayed as this really serious band for awhile. I don’t think we’re serious. Certainly our music is the serious side of us, but as people, we’re pretty much a bunch of idiots. You know we like to have a good time and clown around and stuff, so we wanted to come out with this album and have a different approach. The first video we wanted to show our sense of humor, by the same token it’s kind of ‘tongue in cheek’ humor. It also has this kind of message pointing out ideology of excess, and that it’s all a load of crap”. Shaun explained how “One of the girls we hired to dance in our video was actually one of dancers in the videos we were making fun of. At one point it was like a light bulb just went off. She got real sad when she realized she was making fun of herself. I’m not sure how that went over.” I offered “Maybe you saved her.”
I wanted to know which song they were going to use for their next video, and when he told me it was going to be “Rise Above This”, I got a lump in my throat. This is a dedication to his brother Eugene who tragically took his own life in August of ‘07. Actually the whole album is a tribute to him. “This next video has such a positive message, but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.” Understandably so. The conversation shifted to his two kids. Jayde, his 6 year old daughter, is living in South Africa with her mother and his family. He also has a 1 year old son who lives in L.A. “I’m not going to get father of the year, it’s a catch 22, I have to work to support my kids, and work is what is keeping me from them”. I told him “We all have our challenges in life.” to which he replied, “I know as long as I do the right things & create good karma, it will all come back to me”. Seether is now touring with Breaking Benjamin and soon to be touring with Flyleaf. He conveys his excitement of getting more than 20 min on stage and finally rising above that ‘underdog’ status. “We like being the underdog, because as we rise above, we’ll be flipping the bird!”