Published on March 7th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Hugely popular South African rockers Seether are in the UK this month for a series of shows in support of their sixth album Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray, so Rocksucker fired over some questions to the band’s American drummer Johnny Humphrey…
Whose idea was the video for “Country Song”? It looks like it must have been fun to film…
We knew the song probably would evoke a western theme, a ‘high noon shoot out at the O.K. Corral’ kind of feel. But, we also knew we wanted to show the humor of the band, for a change. That we can have fun and not take ourselves too seriously. This is rock ‘n’ roll, not brain surgery. So, we developed the idea with our director, Roman White. Very proud of the way it turned out…
Congratulations on the Billboard award! Did it take you by surprise? Have you noticed a swell in your American fan base?
Thank you. It did take us by surprise. We have never been the “cool” band. And we certainly have never been the band to win any awards or nominations. We just do what we’ve always done. Try to make the best album, possible…at the time. And if we (the band) like it, we hope everyone else will too. Its been fun to watch our audience grow with each album released. And it seems to have been a slow, steady climb over the last ten years.
What is the significance of the album title Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray?
The title came to Shaun [Morgan, singer/guitarist] before he had completed the lyrics to the song “Here And Now”. I think the title sorta sums up the lyrical meaning of the album. A lot of Shaun’s lyrics deal with relationships. And I think the title message is trying to say “sometimes we try to desperately hang on to things that are toxic for us…and we must try to let go”. And, of course, that can apply to relationships, bad memories, a way of thinking…however you would like to interpret it.
Why has the album taken so long to receive a UK release?
I think, unfortunately, that has a lot to do with our label. There has been a lot of change there in the last year or so, and the international distribution has suffered. We finally, as a band, had to be unified in our plan to tour again, overseas…after more than a four-year absence… and get things back on track. We are looking forward to the UK shows and we are already making plans to return again, before the end of the year.
What have your previous experiences of playing in the UK been like?
They have been great! I remember making the transition from playing the Mean Fiddler to the Astoria in 2007. It was our first real UK sell-out. We have a great fan base there and we are thrilled to be returning.
You must be looking forward to touring with Nickelback in the summer. Are you fans of theirs? What was it like touring with them in 2009?
Chad and the guys are great. I have a lot of respect for those guys. They are great at what they do and their shows are a lot of fun. Chad came out to our last headlining show in Vancouver, BC. Nickelback was off and he travelled a couple hours just to come hang with us. Such a cool guy. I remember all of us going back to his house, listening to some new (at the time) Nickelback stuff and drinking “root beer” vodka til dawn. Good times.
Is the South African music scene in a healthy state? There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of South African bands making it big in America and Europe; why do you think this is?
I can’t comment much, since I’m the American of the group, but we just did a series of shows with a great band from S.A. called Prime Circle. Great band with great songs. I think they will do very well. Like us, I think they are heavily influenced by American music. And I think that tends to connect with kids, wherever they may be from.
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
That’s tough. The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Kiss, Van Halen and Jim Croce. How’s that for diversity? It would be a lot of music.That’s for sure.
Johnny, thank you.
For more information, including a list of live dates, please visit seether.com
9th March Edinburgh, Scotland HMV Picture Houe
10th March Glasgow, UK Garage
11th March Manchester, UK Manchester Academy
12th March Birmingham, UK O2 Academy
14th March Bristol, UK O2 Academy
15th March London, UK Apollo Hammersmith