The Waterfront Concert series kicks off for the season Saturday, May 10, at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion with the Rise Above Fest. It’s a daylong heavy music concert that starts at noon and features bands including Avenged Sevenfold, Hellyeah, Trivium, Kyng, Devour the Day, Black Stone Cherry and Seether, whose frontman, Shaun Morgan, is the organizer of the event. Morgan, who now lives in New Hampshire, started the festival back in 2012 with the express purpose of raising money and awareness about suicide, something he knows about all too well.
Seether, as well as the executive director of SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) will be at Bull Moose Music in Bangor from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 9, for a meet and greet and a chance to enter a raffle for a custom poker table, signed by Seether, to raise money for SAVE. The Bangor Daily News recently caught up with Morgan, whose band is getting ready to release a new album — “Isolate and Medicate,” due out on July 1 — and who has very strong opinions about rock ’n’ roll.
First off, tell us about the origins of the Rise Above Fest.
It really all started back in 2007. My brother committed suicide. It was one of the worst times of my life, and it took me a long time to recover from it. It’s well-documented that suicide is one of the highest killers of teens and veterans. It’s this pandemic that no one talks about. It’s an ugly topic, and people like to pretend it doesn’t exist. So I wanted to take this awful thing, this national problem, as well as honor the memory of my brother, and turn it into something positive.
What do you hope to accomplish with the suicide prevention and awareness efforts surrounding the festival?
It’s as much about raising money as it is about raising awareness. It’s about reaching out to kids and letting them know that there’s someone out there that cares about you, and there are great organizations that can help you. We’re raising money for SAVE, which is an amazing organization that does so much good work.
Do you have any personal stories of connecting with a fan around Rise Above Fest?
We get stories all the time. It’s a lot to absorb, sometimes, when you hear these really difficult stories. It’s flattering in that fans feel like they can open up to me, but I’m also very sensitive to that kind of stuff, naturally, and sometimes I don’t know what to say. People tell me about their divorces or breakups, or their friends that died, or whatever it might be. It’s an honor to be a part of that. It feels like a responsibility.
You’re originally from South Africa, you lived in Los Angeles for a long time, and now you live in New Hampshire, where the first Rise Above Fest was held in 2012. Why do you like New England, and why did you want to bring the festival to Bangor this year?
I love being in New England. I feel much more comfortable here, out of the rat race. Last time, the festival was 10 minutes from where I live. This year, we wanted to keep it in New England, and we wanted to work with a venue that we could have a good relationship with. Bangor was perfect. The venue is really beautiful and the promoters were really easy to work with. I’d like to start doing it annually, if it’s possible.
Tell us about the new Seether album, “Isolate and Medicate.” What can fans expect?
We just finished recording it back in February. It’s coming out in July. As far as what we’ve done, this is certainly a big step for us, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised. I’m so bored with the state of rock music and rock radio. I don’t even listen to the radio anymore. Everything sounds the same. There’s not a lot that’s honest and true and experimental. Modern rock is incredibly stagnant and juvenile. I think this album is a response to that. I’m not saying we’re starting a revolution or wildly changing our sound, but I think we’re being really honest and being the best we can be. It’s songs that I wish were being played on the radio. I’m ready for rock to be creative and vital again.