Teen Suicide Prevention at Forefront of New Festival; Other Bands Include Buckcherry, Puddle of Mudd
Awareness and prevention of teen suicide will be the focus of the first Rise Above Fest, which will be headlined and curated by Seether  and take place Sept. 3 at the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion in Gilford, N.H.
Taking its name from the Seether song "Rise Above This," which was inspired by the suicide of Seether frontman Shaun Morgan's brother, the festival will also feature Buckcherry , Puddle of Mudd , Black Stone Cherry  and Otherwise . A portion of the proceeds will go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Hampshire, but Morgan tells Billboard.com that "there won't be a lot of preaching or shoving (the issue) down people's throats," though he hopes the event will inspire dialogue about something he feel is becoming "an epidemic."
"Our drummer (Josh Humphrey), his wife works in the local church and in the span of a month or six weeks, three kids between the ages of 12 and 15 killed themselves," Morgan says. "That's insane. That kind of thing is happening, and something needs to be done. Something needs to be said and someone needs to tell kids there's a better way to do things. And if we can just do a small part of that in our own way at one little festival in the middle of the forest, then I'll be happy if we save some lives."
Morgan considers the Rise Above Fest to be "sort of an infant as far as what I would hope for it to become," but he does have ambivalent feelings about being a leader in the discussion about teen suicide through both the festival and the song.
"It sparks the kind of conversation I'm not very comfortable with," Morgan acknowledges. "People know what ('Rise Above This') is about, I know what it's about but that doesn't mean I want to talk about it. But it's definitely been a song people tell me has been uplifting and that they listen to in times of need. It's helped them get through certain moments in their lives and it's been a comfort and solace to them. That's what it does for me, too, so the intention of the song worked. It's definitely had a positive effect, but it can be quite heavy to deal with when you hear the stories."
Tickets for the Rise Above Fest go on sale June 8, priced from $29.75-$64.50 with VIP packages also available. Details will be available at www.seether.com  .
Seether, meanwhile, continues to ride the success of its 2011 release "Hold on to Strings Better Left to Fray," which has spawned three consecutive Top 10 hits on the Rock Songs chart -- "Country Song," "Tonight" and "No Resolution." The group is on the road in North America with Nickelback until mid-July, along with summer festival appearances on both sides of the Atlantic. Morgan says Seether is planning a headlining tour of North America later this year but is particularly excited to be focusing on other territories.
"We've spread out our area of influence," Morgan explains, "and...finally have started attacking the European market with a vengeance instead of just leaving it as, 'Well, we'll just keep touring America over and over 'cause he haven't been to Texas in the past three weeks. We should go there again.' This time we've been to Australia, we've been to New Zealand, we've been to Thailand, we did most of Europe and we certainly did the U.K. Those are places we hadn't been to in over four, five years, and in one year we're going to go back to Europe three times. I think it's great we started to expand our horizons and concentrate more on other countries."
Morgan says a decision hasn't been made about a fourth single from "Hold on to Strings...," though his personal choice would be the quieter "Pass Slowly." "We've had three pretty hard-hitting songs, so to end off with a sort of ballad would be great," Morgan says. "It would be a nice way to mellowly go into the process of writing a new album."
That process, Morgan says, will begin in early 2013 "with the intent of having it out late next year. There's no writing as of yet, just because we've been slammed with touring. It's not going to be something we rush into and put out a crappy thing just because there's a deadline. This album took a little time because we wrote more songs and we wrote a little more carefully and certainly took our time with them. We want to make sure when we put out something next time it's not going to seem like there was a rush."
Also on Morgan's docket is a possible concert or tour DVD -- though he says Seether's label has never supported the idea -- as well as a box set of "old demos and things" that he's been compiling since Seether's first release, "Fragile," in 2000. "It'll be nice to put a retrospective box set together with old demos and new demos and songs that never saw the light of day," Morgan explains. "The band's been around now for more than 10 years, so it would be nice to take stock of things like that."
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