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Roanoke Rapids, NC | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Roanoke Rapids, NC | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Indie




"Laying down some tracks"

GASTON — For four Roanoke Rapids residents, crafting music is more than just making loud noises — it’s about reaching those who will listen.
The members of CounterSuit gathered Tuesday evening to practice, one of their usual times, according to band co-founder Bill Waugh. He and fellow co-founder Johnathan Sharpe created CounterSuit about October 2014, and recently released their debut album “The First Appeal.” It was recorded at Tequila Sunrise Music in Gaston.
“We’ve got four personalities to put together, and four people drawing from four different life experiences, and we got to put those into one song at a time,” Waugh said.
He described the band’s songs as rock and a throwback to the 1960s style of music, noting the band uses minimal audio augmentation.
According to lead guitarist Matthew Godsey, CounterSuit’s goal is to touch listeners on an emotional level.
“We are the group that brings all original rock, and if you listen to the lyrics that (Waugh’s) written, a lot of it’s very personal stuff, and there’s that part of us that hopes that the audience out there will be able to relate to those personal experiences,” Godsey said. “Like even if it’s one person, they hear, they can say ‘you know, I’ve been there, I’ve done that.’ That’s important as well.”
During one show, when the members expected about 150-200 people, only two were there. But the group still played as if it was a full crowd. Waugh said just playing for one person, if that person never heard of CounterSuit previously, is still good for the band.
“That’s worth it. If we can gain one fan or even to get one person to hear us that’s never heard our songs, we feel like we have success,” he said.
Waugh noted the songs from CounterSuit derive from his own personal life, as well as what he’s seen people live through. He added all his songs are already written and copyrighted, but it takes time for the band to flesh out the pieces.
“We mostly play by ear,” he said. “If we feel something, hear something sounds good, that’s what we go with.”
Sometimes, a song takes shape the first time the band rehearses it, and other times, it takes numerous months.
“We’ve had some songs we’ve worked on for six months and kicked it because we weren’t feeling it, and if we’re not feeling it, we think the audience won’t, so we’ll kick it and go to the next one,” Waugh said.
Godsey said one song the band recently practiced is already shaping up, and he added the piece may be one of the band’s best yet.
“Already, it’s falling together to where it sounds like, in my opinion, maybe one of our best songs, and that was just one rehearsal,” Godsey said. “If anything, our chemistry as a band is improving and increasing.”
Waugh noted because there are four people who comprise the band, visions on what the songs should be often clash.
“We’ve had some creative differences, but from my past experience with other musicians, it’s actually really going well, surprisingly,” he said. “We really click.”
Other times, the bandmates don’t get along so well. That’s when the band’s bassist and defuser Scotty Strickland steps in, according to his bandmates.
“(Waugh) hasn’t threatened to kill us yet,” Strickland said, which brought laughter from the band members.
Strickland said he actually joined the band when he jokingly told Waugh and Sharpe he played bass, which he only picked up a handful of times prior.
Although he was more into guitar, he said he’s gotten the hang of the bass.
Godsey said Strickland’s history with guitar is an asset now that he plays the bass.
“A cool thing about his bass playing is because he’s primarily used to guitar, he almost brings a kind of guitarist style to his bass playing,” Godsey said.
Godsey noted the creation of CounterSuit was similar in a domino effect.
Waugh noted the band formed after Sharpe bugged him about creating a band, so the two then reached out for a bassist, which resulted in Godsey joining them.
“It’s amazing how someone can flip the dominos,” Godsey said.
But though the band members have support from each other, they also receive support from friends and loved ones.
Waugh said he and Sharpe actually work together at Turner’s Garage II in Gaston. He noted their boss actually gives them time off to pursue their music.
“Not only does he give us that time off work, but he’s been there physically to help us,” Waugh said.
Another time the band members received support was when they arrived at a show, but the venue’s doors weren’t open yet due to a miscommunication.
To alleviate this problem, one of Sharpe’s family members started blaring their album in the vehicles of those who came out to show their support.
“We’re over here sitting like ‘oh my gosh,’” Strickland recalled.
Waugh said since the band is in Roanoke Rapids, and because it is a smaller city, the group has been attempting to network.
“We’re already in a small town, so we’re going take advantage of that as far as knowing people who know people,” he said. “So we’re already trying to branch out and make that radius a little bit bigger.”
In the future, Waugh said he wants CounterSuit’s next album to still have the band’s unique flavor but show improvement.
“It’s not about the noise, it’s not about being rock stars or rich and famous ... that’s not what we’re about,” Waugh said. “We want to put quality music out there.”
For more on the band, visit its website, - Khai Hoang-The Daily Herald

"Roanoke Rapids band remodels school bus for touring"

Singers, guitarists, bass players and drummers are all components of a rock band, but there’s still one more thing that ties them all together — a tour bus.

Roanoke Rapids band CounterSuit started reconstruction of an old school bus, which the members said has already eaten up a lot of hours. But their hard work started to pay off as the bus has shaped up and earned the right to carry the CounterSuit name.

Inside, the bus will feature two bunk beds in the back for the four members, a storage area for their instruments, a restroom facility and a lounging area in the front. Already, CounterSuit members have started pulling out the seats and rearranging them to suit their goals.

Bill Waugh, lead singer for the band, said owning a tour bus has been a long-time dream.

“Honestly, I’ve wanted a bus for, like, six years,” Waugh said.

What started CounterSuit down the road to owning the bus was its van, its current mode of transport, was too small. Whenever the members had to go to shows around the state, fitting the instruments and band members left little to no room for movement.

“When we all got to get together and drive for three or four hours or more, it feels cramped,” he said. “We wanted something a little more spacey and comfortable for us.”

So a few months ago, Waugh decided to make the jump and go after his white whale, or rather his yellow bus. He browsed Craigslist, a classified advertisement website, and saw one he wanted. He took out a loan, but when he went to purchase it, someone else had already bought it.

“But I was already hell-bent on getting one. I already made up my mind. I already got the loan,” Waugh recalled.

So he called KIPP Gaston College Preparatory and asked if they had one for sale, and the school did. After Waugh made his purchase, he let his other bandmates know.

Lead guitarist Matt Godsey recalled Waugh posting a picture of the purchased bus, telling members “this is ours now, fellas.” He even thought it was some sort of April Fools joke even though it wasn’t April.

“I tell you ... we thought he was kidding,” Godsey said.

While the others initially laughed, Waugh made it clear he was serious. When Godsey, bassist Scotty Strickland and drummer Johnathan Sharpe arrived for their practice at Waugh’s home, they saw the bus in all its glory.

“I think my jaw literally hit the ground,” Godsey said. “It was amazing, man.”

Since then, the group has actively been working on separate parts of the bus. Sharpe handled the paint job, which took quite some time to change it from school bus yellow to the current shade of black. Sharpe used cans of spray paint to cover the bus, and he also added the band’s logo through vinyl decals, provided by local business Express Signs.

Godsey said he’s on the more creative side of things, envisioning something else to add on to their project.

“Just like he does on his guitar, he’ll go way out there and then we got to reel him back in a little bit, come back to reality a little bit,” Waugh said of Godsey.

Waugh noted he’s been more focused on the beds in the back of the bus since it was the first thing the group started on.

As for Strickland, he’s helped with the painting, but more importantly, he’s the one who keeps balance, his bandmates said. Whenever Godsey and Waugh go on opposite ends of the spectrum for what they want for their tour bus, Strickland is the person who finds a middle ground.

When the bus is finished, the group said they hope to take it to shows not so close to the area, spanning two to four days, serving as their base of operations.

“Walmart and McDonald’s, we’ve been told from other touring bands, are the best hotels as long as you got a vehicle to sleep in,” Waugh said, laughing.

Band members also want to add an entertainment system, a heating and cooling system and even pay for a dedicated driver so they can kick back after a gig.

Ideally, band members said they want the tour bus ready to go for a large concert in Texas early next year.

“One goal for next year which we’ve applied for, we won’t know until December or January, probably, is South by Southwest for next year,” Waugh said. “It’s one of the biggest music concerts in America, and they do it every year.”

The concert takes place in March in Austin, Texas, so Waugh said he wants the bus good to go by January.

Although the tour bus would allow for a more comfortable trip from show to show, it’s also a symbol of who CounterSuit is. Waugh noted while many bands today take vans and trailers, using a bus is more old school.

“I think if we had, let’s say even $200,000 to buy a big motor coach, personally, I’d still opt for taking a bus and spending our time and creating our own because we’re going to have a one-of-a-kind tour bus that nobody else will go by and that nobody else is going to have,” he said.

For more on the band, visit - Khai Hoang=RRDaily Herald

"Living Like Rock Stars"

• CounterSuit shares meal, drinks with Saving Abel after concert

• Roanoke Rapids rockers impressed with Saving Abel

• Waugh calls CounterSuit “North Carolina rock”

Members of Roanoke Rapids rock band CounterSuit play like and with rock stars, but they never imagined hanging out with them.

That changed Friday after nationally known rock outfit Saving Abel headlined a BarnBurner Promotions concert at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

CounterSuit bassist Brian Waugh said he and his bandmates were introduced to Saving Abel through local resident Josh Misner, who served as an opening act at Friday’s show with his band. After the concert, Waugh said Saving Abel members invited his band to hangout at Logan’s Roadhouse.

“It was great,” Waugh recalled. “It was like really hanging out with a bunch of friends. We just met those guys, but we had a common bond: Music. They’re really cool people.”

He said the bands did a lot of talking over drinks and appetizers, adding they headed back to the theater once Logan’s closed and didn’t wrap things up until about 3 a.m. Saturday.

“Those guys are definitely great,” he said. “They appreciate their success — and they know the fans are a big part of it.”

It didn’t stop there, though. Leaving Eden, another alternative rock group that served as an opening act at Friday’s show, ended up spending significant time with CounterSuit.

Waugh said his bandmates had played alongside Leaving Eden previously, so they had a connection prior to this weekend. After spending significant time together, CounterSuit extended an invitation to the band to play with them at Hux’s Billiards on Saturday. Waugh said Leaving Eden accepted that invitation and ended up crashing on the Roanoke Rapids group’s tour bus.

Waugh and Countersuit lead guitarist/backup vocalist Matt Godsey visited the Herald hours before their band and Leaving Eden were set to perform. The two were in agreement about the weekend.

“You know what, what I would say is that if you treat people like people, the experience is so much better,” Waugh said.

Said Godsey: “They’re rock stars, but we weren’t thinking about it like we were hanging out with rock stars … there’s a respect for local music.”

Waugh said CounterSuit’s future plans include playing more shows and recording new music. - Matt Lindberg-Daily Herald

"Roanoke Rapids rocker lets loose with new solo LP"

• CounterSuit lead singer says solo work gives him another avenue to create

• Album recorded in Roanoke Rapids, Gaston

• Waugh uses personal experiences to create album

Sporting a baseball cap, blue jeans and T-shirt, Bill Waugh looked like an ordinary Joe on an early May afternoon as he walked along Roanoke Avenue.

But that changed when he pulled out Avelyn, his Yamaha Silent Guitar he affectionately named after his favorite song by rock band Trapt. Any place with a guitar and a microphone is where Waugh will tell you he feels most comfortable.

“I’ve always had the music in me, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” Waugh said. “I’ve learned a lot more going about doing this.”

Tia Bedwell | The Daily Herald
Waugh is best known throughout the area as the frontman of Roanoke Rapids-based rock band CounterSuit, which found success through the release of its debut album, “The First Appeal,” and touring the region with its signature “Carolina rock” sound.

But Waugh has ventured out again on his own by recently releasing his third proper solo album, “This Is Me.”

Taking cues from more well-known artists like Johnny Cash, Aaron Lewis, Rob Thomas and Corey Taylor, Waugh tapped into his love for acoustic-driven rock that has hints of country and blues for the project.

“More of it goes back to being a songwriter. The reason I did the band was I wanted to have a different avenue for people to hear my songs,” Waugh said. “There are places I can play that the band can’t and places that accept the rock band that wouldn’t accept the acoustic-rock thing. So I feel blessed I have two ways of getting the music out there. I get a bigger demographic that way.”

Waugh used the eight-song LP to explore a variety of topics, including a divorce and the heartbreak that followed, outside judgement, doubters, new love and fatherhood.

“It’s very personal. I guess it’s all the emotions I have,” said Waugh, who has a deep-singing voice. “I’m a very emotional person … It has to be personal. I don’t want it be too commercial. Everybody can say get up and dance, but to explain what’s deep down in your heart, that’s hard to do.”

Humble beginning

One could surmise music truly is in Waugh’s DNA. He said he’s been listening to all kinds of music since he was a young kid, adding he was about 13 when he began fiddling with his dad’s old guitars. But it was an iconic movie scene that got him thinking about making music a profession.

“Ever since I watched ‘Back To The Future’ and saw Marty McFly play ‘Johnny B. Goode’ on the stage — I thought it would be really cool to do that,” Waugh recalled. “I had an ear for it.”

A native of Boise, Idaho, Waugh relocated to Roanoke Rapids with his first wife. The couple, however, divorced soon after, and Waugh elected then to finally pursue music and relocate back west.

“I started feeling something and writing things down,” he said. “I ended up writing my first song.”

About a decade ago, and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to make a name for himself with his music, Waugh moved back to Roanoke Rapids. He said his intention was to stick around for only a short bit to make some money and move to Nashville, Tenn.

Then, life happened — in a good way.

“I met a girl, I had a kid,” Waugh said, with a smile.

His wife, Melissa, co-produced “This Is Me” with Waugh and contributed vocals while running her local artist booking company, MusicBreak Promotions.

Making the record

For the last year, Waugh has been recording his latest solo project while performing live regionally by himself and with CounterSuit. Album production took place at his home studio in Roanoke Rapids, as well as Tequila Sunrise Music in Gaston. The latter is where the entire album was mastered and the title track was recorded.

“I wrote that song after I went back to Boise,” Waugh said of ‘This Is Me.’ “I was kind of in a dark space, I guess. I felt a lot of judgment from people.”

That song, which he had in his back pocket for quite some time, ended up being the foundation for the whole album. He said he stressed the word ‘Is’ because the song is a true reflection of him.

Bill Waugh holds his guitar ‘Avelyn,’ named after his favorite rock band Trapt.
Tia Bedwell | The Daily Herald
“I tried to choose the songs that fit that theme — every song I’m trying to explain myself to the public,” Waugh said. “I’m hoping they’ll hear these songs and say, ‘it’’s OK to expose how I feel and how I am.’”

Standout tracks in addition to the title song include the unapologetic “My Collar,” in which Waugh expresses pride for his roots. There’s also the anthem “Here I Am” and an ode to his 8-month-old child.

“‘Lexi Lee’ is one of my favorites because it’s about my daughter,” Waugh said. “And probably ‘This Is Me’ because it has stuck with me.”

Although it’s a solo record, Waugh’s set of usual suspects pop up.

In addition to his wife’s vocals on several tracks, all three of his CounterSuit bandmates contribute individually to songs.

Countersuit bassist Brian Waugh, who is also Bill’s brother, said he was proud of Bill for many reasons.

“I know I can be a firsthand witness that he has been playing guitar for over 20 years and at least 15 years of working on song lyrics. I also know that he is very dedicated to his family … ,” Brian Waugh said. “He is smart because he does his research about the music industry. I also know the lyrics don’t come from thin air. They are really a part of his life experiences, and it’s his way of telling people about them.”

Bill Waugh said he was appreciative of his supportive bandmates, noting they often come to his solo concerts. Still, he assured he remains committed to “going the distance” with CounterSuit despite his solo endeavors. Ultimately, he said his music is his music whether he’s playing individually or fronting the band.

“I try to give ’em the same energy. If they know the lyrics for CounterSuit, they should have the same feel. It’s a stripped down version of me,” Waugh said.

“This Is Me” is available on iTunes and on his website, waughmusic. Those who want a physical copy can buy them at his shows, including his 6:30 p.m. concert on Saturday at WatersView Restaurant in Littleton.

“It’s a little scary. I kind of feel like it’s the equivalent of running out in public taking my shirt and pants off — I really do,” Waugh said of the album’s release. “I feel like I’m exposing myself, which is very ironic for me because I’m normally very shy. This is my emotional way of doing that, but at the same time it’s very exciting. I’m hoping people will enjoy it when they hear it.

I don’t need to get rich and famous; I just want to make a living with my songs, with my music.”

OK, he admitted, there’s one more thing.

“If I ever get to play with or meet the guys of Trapt,” he said, then briefly paused. “I’m telling them I named my guitar after one of their songs. That would be cool.” - Matt Lindberg-Daily Herald


The First Appeal-Full length album released April 2015



The name: CounterSuit... 

A response, a rebuttal to relationships. Here is an answer to life's circumstances. Some serious, some a little sarcastic. Here... a four piece Rock group from North Eastern North Carolina.


William Charles Waugh (Bill) has performed in Las Vegas, opened for Country artist Bill Lyerly, shared a stage with Jon Royce of "The Beam", worked with Limp Bizkit's former manager and played many festivals in Boise, Idaho. His songs have been on several records, one sent to France and one aired on an FM Rock station in 2012.

Bill picked up and old acoustic guitar at age 13 and began playing along with songs on Country radio. After 10 years, Bill realized he could put some lyrics and melody to the chords he had learned, and started writing songs of his own. He soon set up to record them at home so others could hear what he had created.

After moving to North Carolina in 2013, a co-worker and drummer, Johnathan Sharpe, befriended Bill, and with a few weeks of jamming, they decided to start a new band. And “CounterSuit� was born...


Johnathan Dewayne Sharpe (John) had a friend and mentor gift him an old drum kit when he was about 7 years old. He played around for years with other musicians, joined a few cover bands and performed several live shows.

That same set of drums is what he brought and gave them a good "tune-up" to become the backbone of CounterSuit...


Brian Waugh ties it all together with the bass. Bill's twin brother, they have performed in the past together in a Rock band.


Matthew Godsey (Matt), who has been a part of Carolina Crossroads, got his start in 1998 as a versatile musician, experimenting with any instrument put in front of him. Although influenced by Progressive Rock, Matt has spent years in his church Worship group, and spending his free time intentionally surrounded by music.

Matt was brought to the attention of Bill and John by Scotty, and he carried his electric guitar and keyboard into the studio. He brings the leads, accents and fullness to complete the sound of CounterSuit...

The Mission:

Collectively, the band want to create an original Rock sound, pushing each other and themselves to be altogether better musicians, and to see how far it will take them. The songs have a message, the music has an appeal that moves emotion..

Band Members