Arriving in Boston for their show at the House of Blues with Papa Roach, Seether’s drummer John Humphrey sat down with Blast’s Madeline Knutson for an interview. Originally from South Africa, in 2002 the group went through both a name and personnel change. Since then, they have won numerous awards and released ten albums. Composed of John Humphrey, Shaun Morgan and Dale Stewart (with Bryan Wickmann playing guitar for this tour), the group is currently traveling through the US.
Blast Magazine: Originally there was another incarnation of the band called “Saron Gas” but some of the members switched out and the name changed to “Seether” in 2002. What was the reasoning behind that and how did you come up with the new name?
John Humphrey: While the band was recording what was to become our first album, “Disclaimer”… 9/11 occurred. Things were very sensitive at the time and the label didn’t feel confident in working with a new band called “Saron Gas”. So, the band had to come up with a new name. The name SEETHER comes from a song by the band “Verulca Salt”. They had a hit in the mid-90’s called “Can’t Fight the (Seether)”.
Blast: The images on the cover of each of your albums really differ in style and idea. How do you come up with the titles for these records and how do you choose what picture will be seen on the front of them?
Humphrey: A lot of the art ideas and imagery come from ideas Shaun [Morgan] has. These ideas are, sometimes, based on over-all vibe of an album. On the recent album Isolate and Medicate, Shaun described some ideas to our guitarist, Bryan Wickmann. Bryan then painted and developed the front cover.
Blast: Your latest album, Isolate and Medicate, seems to be really personal and talk more about individual struggles. Was that the intention when creating this album or did you just write each song individually and it overall had that feeling?
Humphrey: I can’t really speak to Shaun’s bases for his lyrics but I do know they are sometimes personal and can also be a form of therapy for him. However, I believe the lyrics are open enough to allow the listener to make his or her own interpretation.
Blast: In 2009, you did a cover of Wham’s “Careless Whisper”. What made you decide to choose that song and are there any songs in the future you guys would be interested in covering?
Humphrey: Yes, we were asked in 2009 to record a “Valentine’s Day” type song for iTunes. Not being a “love-y, dove-y” type band, we decided to have fun with an old song. All being kids of the 80’s, the song [Careless Whisper] was one we had all grown up with… a song you wouldn’t really expect to have Seether cover. We loved the idea of taking the song and totally changing the feel of it. Fortunately for us, the idea worked. We are very proud of how the song turned out. We have also covered our “name sake” song: “Can’t Fight the (Seether).
Blast: What is the craziest thing that a fan has done for you/you’ve experienced?
Humphrey: Nothing really crazy. Recently, we had a huge crowd of fans gathered around and banging on our bus in Paris. It felt like the Beatles or something. Generally, I’m very impressed, sometimes moved, by our fans. We have been given original art, notes and letters of inspiration. We have also been around long enough to inspire fans to start their own bands. I too, am a fan of a lot of rock bands and can really appreciate how they feel.
Blast: Was there ever a moment in the beginning that you thought you wouldn’t make it or that your music wouldn’t be what people wanted? How did you recover from that and what would be your best piece of advice for an aspiring musician who is wondering that?
Humphrey: There were many time of frustration. But, just like any new band, you have to pay your dues. You have to play a lot of shows, start the buzz and grow your fan base. Hopefully, you’ll get that shot as an opening band and receive some exposure, that way. It takes a lot of hard work and persistence. You also have to write a lot of songs. You have to be honest with yourself as the first song you write may not be a hit. I’ll put it this way, if you are looking for overnight fame and fortune…this may not be the business for you.