Betrayed by the Bullet
I recently had the chance to sit down with the guys in Betrayed by the Bullet to get insight into what makes a young, up and coming band tick. Hailing from Parkersburg, WV, BbtB have been making waves for some time now and are ready to unleash their own brand of hard rock/metal with the release of their highly anticipated debut album Silence.
Vocalist – Shawn Coe, Guitarists – Brandon Gribble and Dylan Fetty, Bassist – Jerry Larew and Drummer – Mason Riley are silent no more as they open up about all things Betrayed!
How would you describe Betrayed by the Bullet?
Dylan: Passionate, we all love what we do. I would call it a brotherhood. We’re there for each other inside and outside of the music.
Mason: I would describe Betrayed as charismatic, entertaining, and unique—as a whole and individually.
Shawn: I say we are a bunch of crazy dudes who love music and friends. Everywhere we go we are meeting new people, hanging out, and doing crazy shit. We are all each other’s best friends, which really helps us work as a unit.
Brandon: I agree with what these guys said, but I would just add that we’re all characters. Each of our personalities is different from the next. It is quite the atmosphere!! (Laughs)
Jerry: Leaving everything on the stage and giving the fans something to hold onto.
Could you give a brief history of the band? Who came up with the name?
Brandon: Basically, it all starts with a guy named Shawn Sexton. Sexton met Shawn (our singer), and then they recruited me. When it was just us three, Sexton came up with the name. It is not only a metaphor for anything in life, but it was a huge tribute to Dimebag, who was one of mine and his biggest influences on guitar.
After we had decided on a name we started looking for other musicians. Eventually we ran into Mason, and he is just a beast drummer. We played some Beast & the Harlot and Bat Country by Avenged Sevenfold together flawlessly, and I had never played with a drummer like that. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor!
Not too long after we picked up Mason, we were introduced to Dylan, and at the time he was slotted to be the bass player. He bought a bass guitar the day we asked him, just so he could play in the band. That was some awesome dedication, so it didn’t take him long to fit in.
Unfortunately, after a couple years, Sexton was having some health concerns which would cause him to have to leave the band. We were pretty bummed about that, him being the guy that basically got everything rolling for Betrayed. After he departed, Dylan moved up to rhythm guitar, which worked out great for him because guitar is his go-to instrument (he wasn’t a bass player originally). And of course, we met Jerry, who became our bass player. One of the biggest things we love about Jerry is his stage presence. From day one, he always brought it when it came to rocking. I can remember watching him at a show and saying, “Damn, I’m going to have to step it up, haha!!” He certainly made me better on the stage. Plus, he’s an all-around great dude, those types of people are always great to have around.
So that’s pretty much it. Betrayed history in a nutshell!!
Jerry: The first time I saw the guys live I knew I wanted to be a part of it and my first show ever was Pantera on the Reinventing the Steel tour so it was a perfect fit!
Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Dylan: My biggest musical influence is early Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, and Atreyu. I kind of “grew up” on them. Call it my guilty pleasure, but I love the metalcore genre. It has had a huge influence on me as a person and musician.
Mason: As far as nonmusical goes, it’s difficult to single anyone out but my family. They are the reason I am who I am. My musical influences are derived from a number of sources. My mother showed me old school rap/hip-hop like Bonethugs and Tupac. My father showed me classic rock like The Beatles, Blue Oyster Cult, and AC/DC. My friends showed me dubstep, and the new age of metal, and bands like Metallica. I also pay attention to pop culture because it is the “competition.”
Jerry: Music is always at the forefront for me: Quiet Riot, Metallica, Overkill, Pantera, it’s the songs for me every time. Slaughter’s Fly to the Angels and Quiet Riot’s Thunderbird speak to everyone and I try to bring that out each time I play.
Brandon: My nonmusical influences are definitely my mom and dad. I’d like to think they did a great job raising me, showing me right from wrong, and always believing in me and pushing me to chase a dream.
My musical influences range greatly. My favorite band is Avenged Sevenfold, so they are a huge influence. Guns N’ Roses is another big one for me. Pantera and Metallica are both up there as well. But I listen to a lot of classical music and believe it or not, I’m a huge Frank Sinatra fan.
Shawn: I have a lot of influences that make me who I am. The biggest one is my dad. He’s always been an excellent role model and raised me with honor and respect. Another was my mentor and music teacher Randy Brannon growing up as a kid and teenager. This guy was a musical genius and always saw a lot of potential in me, pushing me to do more and keep getting better in both music and as a person. Thanks to him, music in general became a focal point in my life. My sister, Hanah Coe, has also been a huge influence on me. This girl has the voice of an Angel and could sing me under the table any day. I remember waking up in the mornings as a kid, listening to her play the piano almost every day and those are some of the best and most vivid memories I have. She is a total sweetheart to boot, always puts others first and is a fantastic mother.
My musical influences are kinda all over the place, I’m a huge jazz fan, playing the sax since I was about 7 years old. Listening to guys like John Coltrane, Chet Baker, and Bill Evans. I really enjoy melodic metal and thrash from the 80’s and 90’s. Being a singer I’ve always really dug music with great melodies like Skid Row and Dokken. I listened to a lot of alternative rock growing up like Switchfoot, the Foo Fighters, and Anberlin. Those bands always had great melody and have really made me want to develop a unique sound and style. My more recent influences have been a little more hardcore, bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Of Mice & Men. These newer hardcore bands bring so much energy to the stage and have taught me to really bring it as well. I never want to be dull on stage, and I’m sure all our fans feel the same way.
Betrayed fans have been asking and asking, is the album ready?
Brandon: Yes!!! Silence was released on May 22, 2015, and is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, or whatever your internet music means are. We also sell physical copies at all of our shows, so come out and get one signed!
What has it been like working in the studio? Any stories to tell?
Brandon: It is just like riding a roller coaster. Every band, from day one, has a goal to get in the studio and make a record. We were fortunate enough to get offered by Jerod Mankin (formerly of Bobaflex) to record and produce us. Needless to say, we hopped on board immediately. At first, we just went in when we could because not only were we playing a lot of shows, but Jerod was touring too. We found time in between and got what we could done for about a year and a half. When Jerod left BFX, it gave us much more time to get everything done. The record took about two years, but I am happy we took the time. Without putting all the time into it like that, it wouldn’t have sounded nearly as good. The best things in life take time, and making a record is no exception.
As far as stories go, we had our fair share of laughs and whatnot at the studio. Mason was usually the center of it (laughs). Before he would start, or after he would finish his track, a lot of the times he made the weirdest fucking noise you could imagine. It’s really hard to explain, it was like a mix between a laugh and a dry-heave. Anyways, we load it up with a shit load of effects and just listen to it over and over again and all die laughing. Working in a studio can rattle your brain, and to have the comic relief was certainly nice.
Jerry: It was really easy for me because I came in prepared and anything we wrote in studio turned out well. It’s interesting to me that some classic albums take a year and others can be knocked out in weeks. This one took a while but we are stoked with the results. Jerod did a hell of a job, offering ideas and guiding us without controlling the album but rather bringing out the best in us.
How does the songwriting process work within the band?
Brandon: Every song we’ve written so far has started from a guitar riff. We get a riff we all like and just start building around it. After that, we have Mason start writing drums to it, and then Jerry adds his bass lines. We usually get to the vocals/lyrics last. Shawn has always said he feeds off the emotion of the music, so we try to have as much done as possible before it gets to Shawn so he gets the full vibe. The smallest thing can make the biggest difference in a song.
What new methods of promoting the band are coming up? Will we be seeing new merch soon?
Dylan: With the release of our debut album ‘Silence,’ we’ve seen an increase in cash flow. Our intent with that is to step up our game in every aspect we can. So be on the lookout for some new BbtB gear!
Brandon: As far as new stuff goes, let’s just say that we wanna make it a surprise! We do try to roll in new things every few months or so. We like to have something new every time we visit the same area.
Jerry: We love to create flyers electronic and printed. It’s kind of like revisiting the Sunset Strip just in the modern social media era. We always try to produce something the fans want, if we were Iron Maiden we would have our own beer too!
The photos of the band are always top notch. What’s your secret?
Dylan: Originally we would feed on the souls of our fans for immortality. That way we always look our best. All jokes aside… we have a phenomenal personal photographer Brooklyn ‘Dirt Candy’ Ewing. This girl has done amazing things for this band behind the camera, and behind the merch table.
Jerry: Brooklyn knows our vision and brings it out in everything she produces for us.
How important do you believe social media is in helping to promote the band?
Mason: Social media has opened doors to places we’d never imagined. People who cannot view you in person, or who are just browsing the Internet have access to us now! We have touched fans musically we didn’t even know were there!
Brandon: It’s definitely important. It is easily the best way to stay in touch with current fans. I wouldn’t say it is the most important, but it is up there. It’s hard to beat the radio.
Jerry: I believe it’s very important as it leads to shows and friendships that we may not have had before. If bands from the 80’s would have had access to social media so many bands would have blown up so much bigger than they ultimately did. Fan clubs are instant now as opposed to old pen and paper method.
Shawn: Being the tech guy in the band, social media has been a huge focal point to me. It gives us such a massive outreach to spread the good word of Betrayed by the Bullet. Nothing else has that kind of reach. This year I really think we’re gonna hit the video scene hard, maybe even a music video before long. Social media has made it really easy for us to interact with our fans and get their input on who they would like to see us play with and what to do for our next big event. Lately I’ve even gotten to play some PlayStation with a few of our fans, my PSN name is “SilenceIsDefeat” if anybody wants to play some GTA, BF4, or Helldivers sometime, just hit me up on there.
If you could do one gig with any band past or present what band would you choose?
Shawn: Ohhh this is tough, one modern band would be Mae from Virginia. The atmosphere they bring at their shows is always sincere and relaxing, some of my best memories growing up were at Mae concerts. If I could play show with Motley Crüe my life would basically be complete, those guys put on the ultimate party and I wanna do that!
Jerry: We just did an acoustic show with Mike Tramp from White Lion that was absolutely killer. I went to a show a year or so ago to see him and then had the opportunity to open for him, so that was like a dream come true. To get to sit through sound check and hang out beforehand was awesome, he closed the night with Radar Love, he even gave me a CD that was not for sale and gave me many of the merch items that he had. Quiet Riot is also a dream gig because those guys are still doing it for the passion of the music.
Mason: Probably Metallica and their orchestra from S&M.
Dylan: My dream is to do a gig with the bands I looked up to for inspiration when I was just starting to learn how to play guitar. Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine, and We Came As Romans.
Brandon: I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but the 1988 version of Guns N’ Roses. That’s before someone in the band went bat-shit crazy, and they would kill it on the stage. Every. Single. Night.
You’ve been playing a lot of shows in the Mid Ohio Valley. Do you have plans to venture into new territories?
Mason: In the future, this question will have no relevance. Everywhere for everywhere one. Period. Worldwide.
Dylan: We have every intention of playing for every ear that will listen. No matter where that takes us. I’d travel halfway across the world just to play for a crowd of 10 people, if our music means something to them. You never know who you’ll meet or what stories they have to tell. I wanna hear them all.
Shawn: I can’t wait for the day we can travel the world and play our music, so the answer to that question is “Hell Yes!!!” We have a lot of opportunities coming up to play out in new places. That means new friends and new bands to take places with us!
I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the band do a cover song. Is that something that you intentionally stay away from?
Mason: Oh no, we will be adding covers to our set list (acoustic and full on) but currently that isn’t In our priorities. That will be soon though…
Brandon: In the beginning, we were focused on writing entirely original material. That was a goal of ours. We put a lot of focus on songwriting because we wanted a record with completely original material. No band ever made it huge playing covers. Now that the record is out and complete, it is an idea we are tossing around.
Jerry: We are not opposed to covers, we do several in our acoustic shows. Time will tell if we plug in to do some or actually record one.
Shawn: We have some up our sleeves, “Animals” anyone?
Any shows that stand out as the most memorable?
Mason: May 22, 2015. Betrayed’s first ever CD release.
Dylan: June 6, 2015. BbtB’s first local show after releasing our debut album. It’s the first show where I literally got cold chills while playing. I remember looking out over the crowd and seeing everyone singing our lyrics back to us. It was amazing. Definitely a moment I’ll never forget.
Brandon: For me, it would have to be the album release show. Every show has its story, and every show is important, but that one will always stick out to me. It was our first record, and I remember all the hours that went into it. To see a huge, positive response was overwhelming.
What is the best advice that you have ever been given?
Dylan: “Find faith in love. Find faith in life. In whatever will keep you believing that we are not meaningless.” This is a lyric that really spoke volumes to me. I heard when I was in a dark place in my life. Long story short, I realized that no matter how small or insignificant you think you are, everyone has a place, everyone has a purpose, everyone has a meaning in this life. Mine just happened to be playing music. It saved my life, and every time I take the stage, I do it in hopes that I can repay the favor to someone who looks to music for inspiration like I did.
Shawn: “Become who you are” something I’ve been really living lately, my amazing girlfriend has always pushed me to be myself, and won’t let me lose sight of who I am and the dreams that I want to achieve. She’s been the biggest supporter of my music and career and I literally can’t thank her enough. I really believe in being kind and compassionate even if you don’t get it back, there are too many cynical people in the world. I strive to never be that way.
Jerry: Cliff Burton always said, “Keep a great attitude!”
Mason: “I can do anything I want in life, just don’t be a fucking bitch about it”
What advice would you give to fellow bands?
Mason: Play to a metronome, practice as often as possible, and don’t be afraid to test new things. Your band is your family, and they will be the ones paying your bills in the end. Be kind to one another.
Jerry: Don’t fake it. If it satisfies you, do it. It’s a tough lifestyle so you’re going to want to love it or you won’t make it.
Shawn: “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But, if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien. We all have to help each other, there is no room for bands to be undermining others to get what they want. Play with anybody, regardless of what kind of music they are, not just bands that can help you out. Extend your hand to others that need it and don’t be that band that talk s*** just because of jealousy. You are never “too big” for anything or anyone. Listen to advice people give you, especially your fans and other bands who have been in your shoes. Lastly, make friends and lots of them. Friends help each other in times of need.
Brandon: I’d just have to echo on what he said. Practice is definitely the most important thing. Playing to a click is immensely helpful. If you’re playing in and out of time, people will dislike your music and not even know why. It’s like a subconscious thing for the listener.
Where can fans find the most up to date information on Betrayed by the Bullet? Any special gigs coming up that fans need to be watching for?
Mason: All friends and fans can find our up coming shows on Facebook and our main website here. We have some great shows coming and some that have already passed like The Rim with Brad Smith! June 20th we will be opening for Hinder and June 27th we have a major benefit we are performing for!
Jerry: We also just added another show at The Rim on July 18th with our friends from 21st Century Goliath and another great band that I’m excited to see, The Damned Angels.