Even though they currently reside in Los Angeles, they’ve not forgotten their South African roots. Bassist Dale Stewart speaks to us…
Thank you for taking some time off from your hectic touring schedule to answer our questions. Which has been your best performance so far in 2008?
I don’t know about the best but my most memorable shows I would say were the South African shows we did this year. It’s really rewarding to come home and sell shows out and have the chance to have friends and family at the shows… Hi mom!
Which song off your new album gets the best crowd response?
“Fake It” I like playing that one too ’cause it starts with the bass line and people instantly recognize the song, it’s great to see their faces light up.
Your success is almost like a rocking fairytale come true. Where did it all begin?
It all began in a tiny little jam room at our original drummer’s house. Pretty humble beginnings but I think there’s something to be said for that. How a band deals with success I think is largely attributed to whether or not they have paid their dues on the road. I think one learns to appreciate it more.
Why do you think that hard rock songs frequently make top twenty listings in this day and age?
People like rock music, since “The Beatles” changed the face of the industry people have been drawn to rock music. It’s honest, passionate and real. Music for the working man.
You’ve come a long way since playing venues like Rhythm and Bru in Johannesburg. Did you always know it was going to happen?
I don’t think we did. One always tends to hope for the best but expect the worst. The fact that there had never been a band to come out of South Africa and make a mark on the international scene made it seem like an unrealistic dream. None the less we pressed on and just had fun with it setting little goals along the way. So far we have been really lucky and achieved most of them.
Shaun has been quoted as saying ‘if it wasn’t for Nirvana, I never would have picked up a guitar.’ How do you think the rock industry would be if Kurt Cobain never lived?
Probably quite different, I think he inspired a lot of generation X to pick up a guitar and an old sweater. I think it’s because the music is really simple and the melodies are strong. It’s honest and passionate but anyone can learn the three chord songs on an acoustic. I think in many ways it made music accessible to kids.
And if Kurt Cobain was still alive?
It’s hard to say. When you’re so good there is only one direction you can go. It’s not like the music can get any better. Maybe it’s best that the music ended when it did. Unfortunately it was in such a tragic way.
You have a choice to remake Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman no Cry’ or Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’. Which do you choose and why?
I think I’d go with the Bob Marley song. Metallica wrote the book on metal, you can’t mess with that and secondly I don’t think we can play the riffs! I think we’d be better off taking a song from a different genre and putting the “SEETHER” stamp on it.
Seether’s collaboration with Amy Lee presented a double edged sword for the band. If you could it again, would you do it the same?
I would, that song did a lot for the band and looking back those were fun times and I like the song. We wouldn’t be who we are today had we done anything differently.
Please define the genre ‘post-grunge’ as you see it.
I hate labels. I consider us to be a rock band and that’s all. I guess post grunge would be defined by a certain vocal style, raspy yet melodic. That and few guitar solos!
How is the biltong in Los Angeles?
There is actually a German butcher in Beverly Hills who lived in South Africa for years and he makes really good billies. He’s a life saver!
Tell us about your craziest fan.
There are many! It seems the bigger the band gets the weirder people become. It can be a little alienating sometimes but generally I would say our fans are pretty respectful.
Why do you think SA bands have to move overseas to make it big?
South Africa is just really small as far as a fan base is concerned. If you sell 10 000 copies of an album as a rock band, you’re doing well. We caught a lot of flak for leaving but the bottom line is we got given an opportunity to be exposed to millions of rock fans as opposed to mere thousands. I think the South African scene is great and there is a lot of talent, hopefully we can have some more bands overseas in the future.
Tell us your most wicked Oppikoppi story.
To be perfectly honest every time I ever went to Oppikoppi I remember arriving and vaguely remember leaving. I’m sure I had a great time. I do remember playing once or twice. I miss the SA festivals…
Are you planning to visit South Africa any time soon?
I will be home for Christmas this year as usual and hopefully we will be done touring mid next year in which case I want to come home and spend some time with the family. I miss it.
There are many South Africans abroad who read this magazine. Do you have a message for them?
Yeah, howzit okes, bef*k boet!.