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Q&A: Papa Roach

While visiting in Florida, I had the opportunity to cover the Welcome To Rockville tour in Jacksonville, Fla., not only as a photographer for Illinois Entertainer but I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacoby Shaddix and Jerry Horton from Papa Roach. The band will appear at Mojoes in Joliet on May 14.

Illinois Entertainer: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me and welcome to Florida. What is the best part of touring for you both?

Jacoby Shaddix: Best part? Getting’ on stage man, you know? I mean, we get to do some cool stuff too. Yesterday, I got to take a day off in Baton Rouge and go fishing and then we caught a college basketball game, which was kind of cool. But mainly it’s all about getting on stage man.

IE: Do a lot of people notice you when you go to places like that?

JS: I definitely stand out like a turd in a punch bowl down in Louisiana! You know what I’m sayin’? People don’t dress like me down there so I hear a lot of, ‘Hey man, you in a band?’ I’m like, ‘What do you think? No, I’m a gynecologist.’

IE: So you guys were touring with Stone Sour, how was it being on the road with them and how is Cory Taylor?

Jerry Horton: It was great.

JS: He’s nuts; he’s a character, such a great guy.

JH: They are all great guys.

JS: They have an odd sense of humor, kinda goofy. They are just good people. They’re cool shit. We’ve known them for years and became really good friends with the rhythm section: [Johnny] Chow and Roy [Mayorga]; bass player, drummer. Those guys are really fucking cool . . . we get to talk football with Josh [Rand]. My 49ers just beat the fuck out of the Falcons, so that was tight.

IE: Describe the band’s writing process? Who writes most of the music and lyrics?

JH: Jacoby does the lyrics and our bass player Tobin [Esperance] does most of the music

JS: Writing songs for Papa Roach happens in so many different ways. Sometimes it’s like a riff or an idea, or it may be an electric loop. Sometimes it’s just all of us in a room jamming it out – a couple of songs on the record were born that way. With the Leader Of The Broken Hearts, the guys sat down with acoustic guitars and started building. So if you really think about how this last record was written, it was done in so many different ways that there was no magical formula. That’s kind of how we approach writing now, it’s not like we just get in a room and bash it out. It’s always evolving.

IE: Jacoby, it’s no secret to that there were trials during the recording of Connection. Does your music help you through the trials of your life?

JS: Most definitely man. For me, it’s the music and also getting spiritual. That has really been what has helped me through, relying on a greater power other than myself. It’s the music and my spirituality; those two things have really helped me through this last year.

IE: You gotta hit rock bottom in order to crawl out.

JS: That’s exactly where I was man. I’ve been sober for 14 months right now. That’s a big thing for me. My sobriety is very important to me and also maintaining and being there for my band.

IE: Did it create a lot of friction with the band?

JH: There wasn’t any friction actually; we were all pulling for him.

JS: Yeah, they would all be jamming and saying, ‘When is he gonna show up? Is Jacoby here yet?’

IE: That’s great man. You guys have obviously been together from the beginning, so you guys are like brothers. It had to have been hard seeing someone go through stuff like that. I read about your old drummer, Dave Buckner, too. Is he doing good?

JS: Yeah, he is doing great! He got another band he is putting together. It is called Halo Method. It is with the old guitar player from Evanescence. So they got something going on right now, which is cool man.

IE: Exactly how long have you two been together?

JS: 20 years man.

IE: Both you and Tobin have been together pretty much from the beginning? How is the new drummer, Tony Palermo, working out?

JS: Tony Palermo is fuckin’ crazy! A fuckin’ Italian, ya know? He is awesome. Jerry and Tony are much like water and me and Tobin are like two battleships floating in their water, ya know what I’m saying? But it’s cool man, it just seems like me and Tobin have battleships floating in the same direction; which is to go and destroy someone else’s. It’s a good dynamic right now.”

IE: What was the inspiration behind your new video for “Leader Of The Broken Hearts” and are you pleased with the outcome of it?

JH: Oh, we love it!

JS: Visually pleased, special effects are amazing, storyline is great and the band looks awesome in the video. With that video, we just wanted to make something very positive, ya know? It kind of stems from the movie Pay It Forward where it’s like, ‘If someone is in need, like let’s go and help them out. It really goes in line with where I’m at in my life. It’s like giving back, helping somebody else out that is in need. That’s really what that video is all about.

IE: Who directed the video?

JS: Ezio Lucido, our Italiano!

IE: Was it good working with him?

JS: Oh yeah, it was great. He also did “Before I Die” and Where Did The Angels Go.”

IE: Jerry, who were your favorite guitarists growing up?

JH: Definitely [David] Gilmour and [James] Hetfield.

IE: Great Answer. Jacoby, two vocalists that you grew up with and really liked?

JS: If we take it back, Mike Ness and Mike Patton were two that I really liked. I liked Ness’ honesty and his storytelling – he wore his heart on his sleeve. Mike Patton, well he is the total opposite, his is just nuts! He is a nutty technician and an amazing vocalist with a wacky personality. Although I am not like either one of those guys, I definitely drew from them.

— John Affinito & Sheri Archambeau


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