Interview with Papa Roach: The Creative Struggle

Papa RoachOver the last decade, Papa Roach have demonstrated their true staying power in rock and roll. “Last Resort” from their first record, Infest, was lightning in a bottle, and usually bands with that rapid kind of rise fade away just as fast. That’s not the case for vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, bassist Tobin Esperance, guitarist Jerry Horton and new drummer Tony Palermo. Palermo, formerly of Unwritten Law, replaces original stickman David Buckner.

Shaddix declared that the line-up transition was a seamless one. “He is fucking bad ass! He toured with us a few times when Dave left the road on the Paramour Sessions [tour], so we really clicked in a live environment.”

Their confidence in Palermo manifested itself by allowing the newcomer to write on the band’s latest record, Metamorphosis, which drops on March 24. “It was kind of a risk,” the heavily tattooed and gregarious frontman expounded. “You know any good drummer can come in and play somebody’s songs well, but can you create music together? That was the risk that we were willing to take with Tony. We got in there and it just fit. He had a sense of who we were and he came from the punk rock background, so we let him flex on some of his styles to push us in new directions, too!”

Metamorphosis reveals a band that has found its sound with slinky riffs, battering basslines, determined drumming and is relatable, yet very biting. In addition to the strength and instant gratification factor of Metamorphosis, Papa Roach really distinguish themselves with their bombast on the world stage. Shaddix boasts, “We can play with just about anybody, and we have. We have done Warped Tour, OZZfest, metal tours, and we have toured with Eminem. We tour with any kind of band that wants to take us on tour or wants to tour with us, and we fucking slay it.”

Currently on the road with Buckcherry and Avenged Sevenfold, Shaddix insists that Papa Roach will be unyielding in their pursuit to deliver Metamorphosis to the masses—he exuberantly revealed the band’s itinerary.

“We are going to be doing another month with Buckcherry and Avenged Sevenfold. Then in April we are going over to Europe and doing a headlining tour and it looks like it’s going to be sold out which is fucking awesome! Then we are going to be back in America on one of those big summer tours, but I can’t tell you about it yet because I don’t want to jinx it. We are going to steal crowds on the nightly. Then back to Europe in June, and then come back to America for a big headlining tour in the fall. So I will be on the road for the next year and a half.”

As with his lyrical style, Shaddix spoke candidly to the Aquarian Weekly about what went into Metamorphosis, his goals and his sobriety.

Your lyrical approach has always been bluntly honest, were you ever apprehensive about being that way?

It’s always been a part of what I do with the music. I mean, that’s what I loved about bands like Social Distortion, they always wore their heart on their sleeve or bands like Nirvana and Green Day—just storytelling and I have always kind of stuck to that. I think that’s like the thing that Papa Roach fans really just connect with in our music, just that honesty and that passion. That real life stuff that’s going on in our music. For us, that’s what it’s all about. I think that is what has maintained our relevance.

‘Live This Down’ is the ultimate break-up song. Where did that one come from?

Well, to people that are really close to me, that song is directly about them. I wrote it from the lady’s perspective, and it’s just like you said, the ultimate break-up song. ‘Fuck you, I am better off without you!’ That was one of the last songs we wrote for the record, and I was struggling lyrically like, ‘What am I going to write abut?’ My friend came to me, just fucking crying on my shoulder, and I was like, ‘Here we go, this is a fucking song right here.’ I wrote from her experience. But it could be anybody’s anthem, because you know there are some scandalous hoes out there that fuck dudes over.