Seether Lose Guitarist; Frontman Credits Stomach With Acoustic Night

Patrick Callahan split with band Wednesday; new LP due July 11.

None of the bands on this year’s SnoCore tour were safe from the ruthless stomach flu that made the rounds during the two-month trek. But no one on the tour — which wrapped a little more than three months ago and featured South African rockers Seether along with Flyleaf, Shinedown and Halestorm — was hit harder than Shaun Morgan.

“I got so sick on SnoCore, but I could still sing, so we decided to, instead of canceling and pulling off the bill, just do acoustic sets,” recalled Morgan, who fronts Seether. The band played at least three acoustic shows during the tail end of the tour, and Morgan said the response from the fans was one of overwhelming approval. “We’ve always had fans asking for acoustic music and acoustic albums, and we do a lot of acoustic sets at radio stations.”

Some good did come out of Morgan’s pain, suffering and frequent trips to the latrine: The acoustic sets inspired the band to record an acoustic LP. That album, One Cold Night, is scheduled to drop July 11. “Maybe I should eat some bad fish and see what happens after that,” Morgan joked.

The two-disc CD/DVD package was taped February 22 at Grape Street Philadelphia. It features a dozen tracks culled from Seether’s two full-length studio offerings: 2002′s Disclaimer and 2005′s Karma and Effect, both of which have gone gold. The DVD includes the live acoustic set, captured with 16 different cameras, plus behind-the-scenes footage, a 45-minute interview with the band, the video for “The Gift” and a making-of segment.

Fans can expect to hear unplugged versions of the band’s hits “Gasoline,” “Broken” and “Driven Under,” as well as a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Immortality.” There’s also “Tied My Hands,” a fan favorite that the band often performs live and wrote as its previous incarnation, Saron Gas, before moving to the United States.

“We’re excited,” Morgan said about the acoustic endeavor. “It’s something different from us, and it’s part of the whole new philosophy we have, that we want to at least release an album a year — whether or not that’s brand-new material or an EP or a covers album. We’re going to start doing it the old-school way, where bands used to release music as often as they possibly could, because we’re concerned that one day, when we’re sitting on our couches, [we'll] look up at the shelf and … I mean, I want to see more than three of four albums and the demise of a career. I want to see a back catalog of 30, 40, 50 albums.

“You look at Johnny Cash’s discography and it’s ridiculous,” he continued. “That’s more impressive to me than how many millions of dollars you made and how many albums you sold. What’s more impressive to me is that he wrote enough songs to fill up 60 albums. That’s awesome.”

In accordance with the band’s new mission, Morgan said Seether will spend the next two months writing material for their next studio endeavor, which he said should be in stores in March. “We bought ourselves some time with this acoustic album, because it will allow us to spend more time in the studio,” he said.

Morgan said Seether have skeletons of at least 15 songs and plan to self-produce their next LP.

“You pay producers a lot of money for guidance, and that’s all it is. It just seems the fee doesn’t justify the involvement, so the last album we pretty much produced ourselves. [Producer] Bob Marlette,” who has worked with Shinedown and Saliva, “will say the same thing. We just figured we would steer the ship ourselves this time.”

Later this summer, Seether will take a break from recording to hit the road with Staind for a tour that Morgan said should run two months and start in August or September. Seether will split each of their sets into two halves: a batch of acoustic tracks and then a full-on, plugged-in finale.

“The original idea was to play twice in every city and play plugged in one night and acoustic the second night,” he said. “It’s a great dynamic that occurs. You know a song for years sometimes, or you’re used to it in one form, and when you hear it acoustic, it almost seems more special. We love to play acoustic shows. The whole feeling of the show is different, the whole atmosphere is different, the way we approach the set. It’s a fun way for us to diversify and not do the same thing every day.”

When Seether do board the bus for this upcoming tour, they’ll be doing so as a trio. On Wednesday, Patrick Callahan — the group’s longtime touring guitarist, who was made a full-fledged member of the fold two years ago — “decided to part ways with the band.” He played his final set with the group June 3 in Great Falls, Montana.

According to a posting on the band’s MySpace page, “Seether has since decided not to replace [Callahan] at this time with another guitarist,” and will instead “take it back to where it began and keep it running as a three-piece unit. If you have been to the shows over the past few weeks, you have noticed the change. We all think it is a positive one. We hope that the fans will understand and respect this issue without distorting it into a convoluted and nasty misunderstanding, as it wasn’t. Seether wishes Pat all the best in his future endeavors.”