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Shaun Morgan with Seether at Van Andel Arena in September 2011.
|Birth name||Shaun Morgan Welgemoed|
|Born||21 December 1978|
|Origin||Pietermaritzburg, South Africa|
|Genres||Post-grunge, alternative metal, hard rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, vocalist, guitarist, songwriter|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass|
|Associated acts||Saron Gas, Seether, Amy Lee, Van Coke Kartel|
Early life and education
Morgan spent all of his early life in South Africa. His parents divorced when Morgan was still a child. Morgan is one of three children; he had a brother, Eugene, who committed suicide in 2007, and has a sister, Lucy. He was a student at Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg, where he became a prolific front-row rugby player for his age-group's top teams in his first three years of high school. In his third year of playing rugby, Morgan injured his back and was unable to play anymore, which then lead to him following his passion of playing guitar (his stepfather bought him his first guitar).
Prior to forming their band, Saron Gas, Morgan was a member of a tribute band, tributing songs of bands such as Creed and Tom Petty. In May 1999, Morgan became the rhythm guitarist and back-up vocalist of a new band, Saron Gas. There were four other members to the band; a female vocalist, a lead guitarist, bassist and drummer. However, when the singer and guitarist did not turn up to the first practice, the band decided to stay as a three-piece, with Welgemoed on lead vocals and guitar. Saron Gas enjoyed moderate success before the bass player decided to quit in January 2000, causing Welgemoed to get in touch with the only other good bass player he knew, Dale Stewart. The band released an album later that year, entitled Fragile.
In January 2002, the band relocated to the United States to sign with Wind-up Records. During this time the band’s original drummer left to return home to South Africa, whilst the two remaining members were left to think of a new band name, at the request of Wind-up. Eventually they settled on Seether, after the Veruca Salt song of the same name. Around this time, Morgan decided to use his middle name as his last name professionally while performing for Seether because Americans have a hard time pronouncing "Welgemoed". Seether went on to release their debut major-label album, Disclaimer, on 20 August 2002.
Since then, Seether has released four more studio albums; Karma and Effect (2005), Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces (2007), Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray (2011) and Isolate and Medicate (2014). In addition, they released the compilation album Disclaimer II in 2004, and the live CD/DVD One Cold Night in 2006. In 2009, the band released three new songs; one a Seether original entitled "No Shelter", the second being a cover of George Michael’s "Careless Whisper" which Morgan and Dale have said had a special significance to the band and "I've got you under my Skin" a Frank Sinatra cover for Sinatra's tribute album "His Way, Our Way".
Bands that have influenced Morgan include Nirvana, Portishead, Silverchair, The Beatles, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam (mainly the album Vs.) and Deftones.
Morgan primarily uses Schecter Guitar Research guitars, mostly the PT models which he has had custom made for himself. On the "Remedy" video he can be seen using a 2000 Schecter C-1 Custom, and on the video of "Gasoline", he can be seen using a Schecter 006 model, discontinued in 2004. Schecter produced a signature model for 2011, which featured a totally new shape based on a 'Mosrite' and comes in three tone sunburst, candy apple red, silver, and white. On most of his personal guitars, he uses Duncan Designed pickups, specifically the HB-102 and his signature guitars come stock with the HB-102 with clean bobbins. In 2006, he stated in an interview with Ultimate Guitar that he doesn't use a lot of effect pedals. His amp of choice has been the Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier which he has modified to his own presets that are not available on stock models.
Morgan mainly performs with Mesa 4x12 cabs, but in 2011 he was seen using a huge Mesa Boogie dummy stack. It is meant for looks and has four 4x12 speakers inside of it. Dale Stewart also has a Hartke bass dummy stack for performances loaded with bass cabinets. In 2012 on the Triple Threat Tour, he and Dale Stewart are seen using steampunk inspired cases.
Current live rig:
- Schecter Guitar Research Shaun Morgan signature model guitars;
- Schecter Guitar Research customized PT Fastback model guitars;
- Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier amp heads with 4x12 Mesa cabs;
- Dean Markley Blue Steel 10-52 Strings;
- Seymour Duncan Duncan Designed pickups (HB-102);
- Modded Shure SM57 vocal microphone;
- Shure SM58 vocal microphone;
- Dunlop Custom Tortex picks;
- Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor pedal;
- Boss CH-1 Super Chorus pedal;
- Boss OC-3 Super Octave Pedal;
- Dunlop Manufacturing ZW-45 Zakk Wylde Signature Crybaby Wah Pedal;
- Dunlop Manufacturing JD-4S Rotovibe Pedal
During Seether's live album "One Cold Night," Morgan was using an Alvarez FD60. This guitar is an acoustic electric that he only uses for live acoustic performances. There are different colors that Morgan uses such as Orange, Green and Black.
Specifications For the Alvarez FD60:
- Electronics - System 600T
- Body Style - Cutaway Thin Dreadnought
- Back and Sides - Maple
- Top Wood - Quilted Maple
- Rosette - Abalone
- Binding - Ivory/Black
- Fingerboard - Rosewood
- Inlays - 12th Fret Diagonal
- Machine Heads - Gold Die Cast
- Bridge - Rosewood
From 2004-2005, Morgan dated Evanescence singer Amy Lee. Morgan checked into rehab in July 2006. When Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces was released on 23 October 2007, its third single, "Breakdown", was rumored to be about Amy Lee, which Morgan denied.
In August 2007, Morgan's brother, Eugene Welgemoed, committed suicide, just a few weeks before Seether's third studio release Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces. As the album was finished there was no delay, but the opus was dedicated to Eugene and featured a memorial. Eugene jumped to his death shortly after midnight Monday, 13 August 2007 from an eighth-floor window of the Radisson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota. According to police, no foul play was suspected in the death, and the death was ruled a suicide after an investigation. Morgan has 1308 tattooed on his four right fingers, and 2007 tattooed on his four left fingers which marks the day Eugene died (13 August 2007). Seether's song "Rise Above This" is a tribute to Eugene. On Seether's May 2011 album Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray, the song "Pass Slowly" was written by Dillion Conyers, who then gave the rights over to the song, rather than let them buy it. He had written "Pass Slowly" about his infant brother who died not long after birth from Sudden Infant Death syndrome, also known as SIDS. Morgan has stated that the song "Crash" off of their 2014 album Isolate and Medicate was also for his brother. Shaun Morgan was awarded The National Council’s 2016 Artistic Expression Impact Award of Excellence.
- Studio albums
- As Saron Gas
- Fragile (2000)
- As Seether
- Disclaimer (2002)
- Disclaimer II (2004)
- Karma and Effect (2005)
- Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces (2007)
- Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray (2011)
- Isolate and Medicate (2014)
- Live albums
- One Cold Night (2006)
- Digital albums
- iTunes Originals - Seether (2008)
- Rhapsody Originals - Seether (2008)
- Art of Dying featuring Shaun Morgan - Die Trying (2008)
- HURT featuring Shaun Morgan - "World Ain't Right" on the album Goodbye to the Machine (2009)
- Acoustic cover of Alice In Chains "Nutshell". Duet with Brent Smith, lead singer of Shinedown. The song is featured on The 97X Green Room: Volume 2, which is a radio station based in Tampa, FL.
- Bottomley, C. Seether: South African Seattle, VH1, 6 March 2003. Accessed 25 March 2009.
- iTunes Originals - Seether
- "Seether". YouTube. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant: 'Hopefully We'll Have Many, Many More Years Doing This'". Wardlaw, Matt; UltimateClassicRock.com. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "Seether | Related Artists". MTV. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Harris, Chris. Seether Frontman Enters Rehab; August Tour Dates Canceled, VH1, 26 July 2006; accessed 25 March 2009.
- Harris, Chris. Seether Frontman Won't Respond To Amy Lee's Attack: 'I Just Refuse To Lower Myself To That Level', MTV, 18 July 2007; accessed 25 March 2009.
- Brown, Katie. Radisson suicide brother of Seether front man, Rapid City Journal, 16 August 2007; accessed 25 March 2009.