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On tour with Seether’s Dale Stewart

Seether's Dale Stewart
Seether's Dale Stewart
Chris Zambello

I recently caught up with Seether’s bass guitarist, Dale Stewart at Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival in Tampa, Fla. To chat about life on the road with one of the world’s top rock bands. I found it hard to believe that the down-to-earth, humble man sitting across the table from me has spent the past fifteen years playing in a band that has sold millions of records and toured the world countless times. He could have passed for being my next door neighbor far easier than a rock star. Yet within an hour he would be up on the main stage kicking it into high gear and pouring out an incredible amount of energy for the crowd.

That being said, I was curious as to the life as a member of a world-famous rock band focusing on the current tour and how one spends their time off. Here’s what he had to say:

CZ: Let’s start with Seether as a band. You guys have been together for over 12 years now. Last year you released a Greatest Hits album, usually those are released at the end of a band’s career. Thankfully, not Seether. This year you came right back balls to the wall with a new album and a world tour. Would you ever have dreamed this run would last for so long?

DS: In a word- no. It’s funny, you start a band because you love playing. It’s fun. You’re in the garage with big dreams and aspirations and that’s about it. It’s kinda like a pipe dream, especially being South African. There’s never been a band to come out of South Africa and be successful anywhere else. It was kind of a ‘expect the worse, hope for the best’ kind of deal. I feel we were driven regardless. Looking back it’s crazy. I would have never thought fifteen years down the line we’d still be doing this. It’s definitely a trip.

CZ: Judging by your schedule, you guys are a touring machine this year with shows worldwide. But this is typical for you guys. Though it has to be very exhausting, you gotta be having a blast visiting all these great cities. How has the response been so far?

DS: It’s been actually really good. We’ve been doing a lot of time in Europe. Every time we go back, it’s a little bit better. We’ve played in the States a lot, so we can go to most places and do okay. We’re really trying to service Europe now and get our foot in there. I think it’s something we’ve been neglecting for a while. I like visiting Europe. I like sight seeing, I love the history of it and I love the food. It’s always nice to come back. We live in the States now and I consider that home. But touring Europe is fun!

CZ:You’re co-headlining Uproar Festival with Godsmack. My two most favorite bands ever. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better line-up. How has it been sharing the stage with the boys from Boston?

DS: It’s cool! We’ve known those guys for a while, but we’ve never done a proper tour together. They put on a hulluva show and draw a lot of people and hopefully we help draw people. The attendance is awesome! It’s a good contrast between bands. When I go to a show, I like to see each band’s a little different. I think it works really well.

CZ: Of all the cities you’ve played in, you have to have a favorite.

DS: I do. I’m definitely biased in saying it; I love playing my hometown shows such as Pretoria and Johannesburg. You know, the places that I grew up in. The first places that we played as a band or the first places that I played in bands before Seether and Shaun as well. It’s just the nostalgia of it: seeing old pals, I love it when my mom and dad get to come watch. They’re just so proud!

CZ: Hypothetically speaking: You’re on a world tour. Today is an off day as far a shows are concerned. How do you spend that day? Do you go out and take in the city or do you relish the peace and quiet, just relax and re-charge your batteries so-to-speak?

DS: Generally speaking; I like to relax on my days off. Get in your hotel room, order room service, catch up on your emails and Facebook. But I do like to get out there as well. I do like to do stuff. In Europe, I’m a big tourist. When we were in Paris, I walked down to Jim Morrison’s grave, I stood there for about a half hour just listening to The Doors. It was the coolest thing! All of Europe is so cool. It doesn’t even have to be a big city, you can just walk down some old street with no agenda in mind and you’ll find that the old churches and statues just blow your mind. Sometimes you’re in really cool places, then I like to get a motorcycle and just go cruising.

CZ: Now Sully (Erna) brings his bike on tour with him. Have you ever borrowed it?

DS: (Huge smiles) I don’t know if he’d lend me his bike. It’s probably not a bad idea to not lend me your bike. You know, Yamaha is one of the big sponsors on this tour, so on the first day they took us on this big ride. I don’t know if we’re gonna do it again, but I hope so. It was a lot of fun!

CZ: What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced at a Seether show?

DS: One that springs to mind was at a show just two nights ago: I was getting the crowd all rowelled up with my hands in the air, cheering them on. I had my mouth wide open and suddenly a fly flew right into my throat and got stuck there. I’m gagging just thinking about it! I was choking on it through the middle of a song and I just ran over to my amp and drank like half my water and it was still stuck there! I chugged the other half and it finally went down. It sucked so bad!

An hour later, Dale and the rest of Seether took the main stage and put on a show! Hit after Seether hit mixed with several new tracks off their latest album, Isolate and Medicate. They displayed more energy than on any other tour I’ve seen them play. If you haven’t had the chance to see them live, check them out as they co-headline the Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival throughout North America. Dates and cities can be found here.