Shawn Richards – vocals and rhythm guitar at Cloning Betty (Buffalo nu metal), drummer at Under the Black (Buffalo metal/rock/alt)

Don’t remember Shawn? He’s been around for decades now. You might remember him as the frontman of Buffalo hardcore/metalcore legends, Three Minutes of Hate, or perhaps as the long-running sound guy at Xtreme Wheelz in the 2000s. He was also the spearhead of promotional entity, Sonic Indian Productions at one point or another. These days, he’s playing drums with Under the Black, and doing rhythm guitar and vocals in his upcoming nu metal project, Cloning Betty. We caught up with Shawn recently to discuss both projects and see what the future holds. Here’s Shawn:

1. I guess this is a 3-parter:

Firstly, talk about the conception of Under the Black. How did you come to start this project?

I’d also like to hear about UTB’s transition from metalcore to rock, or in YOUR case, YOUR transition from vocals to drums.

And lastly, talk about how you came to form your forthcoming nu metal project, Cloning Betty. This is one I’m particularly excited for because it’s so nostalgic for me, reminiscent of everything I listened to back in high school.

So, tell us everything we need to know about both bands! Go!

Under the Black originated from a reunion/benefit back 2017. Concept of the band really was to have some fun smoke weed and drink whiskey, but also try different things musically. we are currently working on recording and video concept. Im not sure that I would call UTB a rock per say, with our new vocalist Chazz there is an edge that wasn’t there before. Killswitch to clutch is the kinda vibe the band rides in my mind. This is the first band I played drums in. I’ve done so many shows fronting a band, that actually thought hey I got this wrong. I was so damn nervous it was like my first show all over again.

Cloning Betty started in winter of 1998 in Niagara falls. Origins really was just a bunch of twenty year olds that grew tired of just watching our friends on stage, and said hey we can do this too, so we started out sharing rehearsal space with STEMM. CB unfortunately disbanded in 2001, we started families and pursued other projects shortly there after I started the building of xtreme wheels concerts. What brought this project back, was we lost a good friend and band mate to suicide. So we decided in his honor to bring the family back to the table and create something good that he would appreciate. We know hes listening, smiling and bobbing his bald head while looking down on us. CB is a slow burn, we are currently tracking the new material. I would say we are half way done writing the new record. nothing planned show wise currently, media and a merch will be available shortly.

Going from singing heavier music for the better part 3 decades to switching to the drums was kind of natural. I’m a rhythm guy, I like groove, believe it or not but I love Latin jazz and big band music. And I might add not that great on drums either . ive played drums all the time, just ask every drummer ive ever jammed with, I beat the shit out of their cymbals. I also play a little guitar, terrible at that as well (laughs).

2. How long have you been doing vocals? Who first inspired you to pick up the mic?

3. How long have you been playing drums? Who first inspired you to pick up the…sticks?

I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration for many different genres as well different decades of music: Led Zepplin, Metallica, Opeth, Hed pe, Korn. Obituary, Manson, Pink Floyd, Papa Roach, Exhorder, Hank Williams, Wallon, Willie, Ratt, Max Cavalara, Necrophagia, Santana, Deep Purple, Dean Martin.

See? I’m all over the place.

As for new bands: Turnstile, Spiritbox, Nothing More, Fever333, Sanguisugabogg, Undeath, Crobot

4. Talk about the most memorable live shows of your career and what made them so special. These could be road shows, local shows, etc.

I’m not sure if there’s a time that was more memorable, then when I co-promoted the Jägermeister tour with Slipknot headlining. I’ve done a lot of show promoting and engineering for bands, going from Sick of it All, to Sea of Treachery, to Silverstein. to Despised Icon, etc. Some day I’ll get that list straight. Live engineering for bands like Death Angel and Nuclear Assault were teenage dreams that came true (laughs).

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