Saron Gas / Seether

Discography:

    Saron Gas

  • Fragile [November 2000] Musketeer
  • Fragile (re-issue with bonus 3-track CD) [December 2001] Musketeer

    Seether:

  • Disclaimer [August 2002] Musketeer
  • Disclaimer II [June 2004] Wind-Up (2CD remastered and expanded re-issue of 'Disclaimer')

    Soundtracks:
  • Daredevil (features 'Hang On') [2003]
  • Freddy vs Jason (features 'Out Of My Way') [2003]
  • The Punisher (features 'Broken' featuring Amy Lee from Evanescence) [2004]

Musicians:

  • Shaun Welgemoed (changed his surname to Morgan in April 2002): vocals, guitar
  • Dale Stewart: bass, vocals
  • Dave Cohoe: drums (left February 2002)
  • Nick Oshiro: drums (joined March 2002)
  • Pat Callahan: guitars (2003 onwards)
  • John Humphrey: drums (2003 onwards)

Biography:

Formed in May 1999, Saron Gas emerged onto the South African rock scene and rapidly established themselves as one of South Africa's top emerging bands. Comprised of three talented musicians - Shaun Welgemoed [vocals/lead guitar], David Cohoe [drums] and Dale Stewart [bass/backing vocals] - Saron Gas share influences in International bands - Black Sabbath, The Deftones, Creed and Silverchair.

All three musicians began music at an early age and have played in a variety of different bands prior to the formation of the rock trio. Saron Gas create music from self-experience. The vocals, written by Shaun Welgemoed, actively depict real life encounters, which further allows an audience to follow and relate to the band - a strong reason for their ever-growing South African fan base. The music is realistic, with great diversity per track - shaping the hard rock sound.

Power, strength and emotion are three words which aptly describe musicians - Shaun, Dave and Dale - and aptly summate the their musical creations. Saron Gas are destined to be South Africa's biggest and most profiled rock export. The band signed to Musketeer records in September 2000. Working with top South African producer Brian O’Shea, the band spent two months in studio, rewriting and shaping material. The result is the top selling debut album release – 'Fragile'.

'Fragile' features a re-recorded version of top hit "69 Tea", with a second single – “Fine Again”. “Fine Again” was also well received by national radio – and reached number 4 on the 5FM national Chart. The band actively toured the South African live rock circuit – with great response. December 2000 saw Saron Gas embark on the “Fragile” tour – a 14 day National tour of South Africa to promote the debut album release. Saron Gas concluded an exclusive 7 album artist deal with US label Wind Up Entertainment in late 2001. Wind Up are best known for their success with Creed, Finger 11 and Drowning Pool, and are rated as one of the top independent rock labels in the United States.

Saron Gas relocated to New York in early 2002, changed their name to Seether and lost drummer Dave Cohoe due to family commitments. The story continues...

Live Reviews:

SEETHER RETURN TRIUMPHANT
(Brian Currin was at The Mercury to watch Seether on their 2004 SA homecoming tour)

I had the privilege of seeing power trio Saron Gas play at the Jam in Cape Town on the 14th December 2001 (see review below) on the eve of their leaving for the US to try, as Judas Priest sang, 'Take On All The World'. Reviewing that show I wrote: "Saron Gas seemed to have mastered the elusive art of combining the energy and attitude of nu-metal with superb tunes and even sing-along choruses...".

On the first weekend of this new year, I had the privilege of seeing them again, though a number of things have changed. The Jam is now the Mercury Live, Saron Gas is now Seether, the 3-piece is now a 4-piece, and the drummer has changed (a few times!). The current Seether lineup consists of Shaun Morgan (nee Welgemoed) taking guitar and vocal duties, Dale Stewart (the other original member) on bass and vocals, Pat Callahan on guitars and John Humphrey (from the Nixons) on drums.

Barney Simon introduced the band by reminding us that, "if it's too loud, you're too old" and then Seether roared in with 'Gasoline' which is currently in the Billboard top ten Modern Rock Tracks chart (and was the SA Rock Digest Song of the Year in 2002). They ploughed through all their hits and popular tracks including 'Hang On' from the 'Daredevil' soundtrack. 'Fine Again' (Billboard's number 9 Modern Rock Track of the Year 2003) was dedicated to the late Dave Williams of fellow Ozzfest touring partners, Drowning Pool.

Morgan keeps his face hidden almost all the time behind a mane of hair, and he doesn't talk much. That's OK as we are not here to see his face or hear him speak, but rather to listen to the anger in his singing as he includes us in his healing process from his lack of acceptance as a teenager. In his solo spot during the set ('Take Me Away' with just him and his electric guitar) he looked like Andrew WK (without the bloody nose) and sounded like Kurt Cobain, tortured and alone. As he is quoted on the Seether website, "This, I suppose, is the only way I can purge, but it is therapeutic."

On the side of the stage sat lead singer from Evanescence, Amy Lee, Shaun's current girlfriend who he has described as "the girl he's been looking for his entire life". Amy Lee joined the band onstage for the closing number and though she may be small in size she has a huge voice, which soared above the grinding rock like the offspring of a banshee and an angel.

When Saron Gas left in January 2001 we wished them all the best as they plunged into the unforgiving US market. Now 2 years later they return home, acclaimed as new Rock Gods.

As the chorus of the anthemic 'Out Of My Way' from the 'Freddy vs Jason' soundtrack says; "Nobody's gonna stand in my way, give it up, son, I'm doing it my way". You better believe it.

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SARON GAS @THE JAM
14 December 2001

Not many of the crowd (if any) at The Jam last Friday night would have been around to see 3-piece power trios like Cream (Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker) or the early Grand Funk Railroad in their hey-day. Saron Gas are by no stretch of the imagination a retro-rock band, but the spirit of those early pioneering power trios lives on in their total commitment to keep on pushing rock's envelope.

Human Error opened the show with oodles of energy and the crowd were well warmed up by the time Saron Gas hit the stage. The 3 guys from Saron Gas (Shaun, Dale & Dave) started their set with their new(ish) song 'Gasoline' and the rock didn't stop until after the second encore. Despite the earlier comment about them not being a retro band, there were some fine guitar solo moments and even a drum solo.

Saron Gas seemed to have mastered the elusive art of combining the energy and attitude of nu-metal with superb tunes and even sing-along choruses ("don't tell me that you're trendsetters..." from 5FM #2 hit '69 Tea' for example). They recently signed to US label Wind-Up and they could just topple some US bands from their pedestals.
-- Brian Currin

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