Fan girls staking out hotels leading to a decade of checking in under aliases, performances so passionate surgery has been required, providing the angst needed to motivate gym lovers around the globe — this is the life of Papa Roach, the biggest act to come out of one of the smallest towns in California.
The band, which turns 23 this year, has spent almost a year teasing fans with hints of an upcoming album which they guaranteed would sound like nothing they’ve done before.
This January Papa Roach is staying true to their word, releasing 12 explosive tracks which come together to make F.E.A.R – Face Everything and Rise, a colossal fusion of rock, metal, pop and everything in between.
Music Feeds caught up with Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix to talk crazy fans, massive failures, their terrible name and, of course, guilty pleasures.
Watch: Papa Roach – Face Everything And Rise
Music Feeds: When I told my friend that I was interviewing you, he said to tell you, and this is a direct quote, “I love listening to them when I work out. Tell them bourgeois middle-aged white guys lose weight to their jams so they can look good in a suit”. How does that make you feel?
Jacoby Shaddix: [Laughs] That’s awesome. We are inspiring people to get trimmed up and get fit. You know, I got a lot of other bands that made middle-aged mother fuckers get fit at the gym to too, so that’s whats up.
MF: Do you work out?
JS: Yes, I do. Regularly. I have an inner fat child that is dying to get out so I have to work out to suppress the inner fat kid.
MF: I can relate. So if you meet someone who has been living under your rock and has not heard any of your tracks before, which three tracks would you tell them to listen to?
JS: I would say Last Resort, Scars and a brand-new song of ours called Falling Apart. Those songs speak the last 15 years, the fast forward of all the dynamics of our band have passed right through to where we are at now.
MF: Do you personally have an artist or a song that is your guilty pleasure?
JS: I think for me Sam Smith. I think he’s just got an incredible voice and he’s an incredible artist and I don’t think that Papa Roach fans would expect me to enjoy music like that. But I think that he just puts so much of his heart and soul into his music that I identify with it on that level. You know, just being a vocalist myself and listening to him, that kid has a gift. His voice is like straight butter-covered diamonds, if that makes any sense.
MF: How have your fans reacted to your album?
JS: It just got released in Germany the day before yesterday and the fans there are loving it. We’ve got a lot of really good response from it which is nice because it’s always good when your fan base is feeling the new material. And there’s always going to be the fans that are going to be, “Well why didn’t you do this, or why didn’t you do that?” Well guess what, it’s because I’m doing this, so deal with it. We are the type of band that we feel the need to progress, the need to evolve and push forward and that’s our natural path.
MF: Can you think of the sweetest thing a fan has ever done for you?
JS: Fans always make cookies or cupcakes for us. And it’s literally sweet, but also a kind gesture. But I would like to ask fans to stop bringing me the fucking cookies and cup cakes. I’m going to fucking turn into a cupcake.
MF: Aren’t you worried about one day there being some sort of crazed fan that puts something into your cupcakes?
JS: Oh, well, you know, if that’s the way I’m supposed to go, that’s the way that I’m supposed to go. There’s always that one kook out there you can’t trust. Hopefully I’ll never cross their path.
MF: You need a cupcake tester.
JS: I just make them taste the cupcake first.
MF: Can you think of the stalkiest thing a fan has done to you?
JS: Oh dude, I was in a hotel and I was showering up and I got out of the shower and someone was knocking on my door and I thought it was one of my crew members and I opened the door wide open, and I’m standing there in just my towel like, “What’s up!” And it was fans taking a bunch of pictures of me and I’m like, “What the hell?” So, you know, it’s like fans will come and stalk out our hotels to find out what rooms we’re in. But then we realised we were checking in under our name so then we started using aliases.
MF: What kind of aliases do you use?
JS: I can tell you some of our past aliases. I used to check into a hotel underneath the name Larry Dickman. Brad Pitt. And then, early on, Billy Lipschitz.
MF: Your latest album is entitled F.E.A.R, what do you worry about?
JS: In my life I’ve walked an interesting path. I’ve been through some very dark things in my life and I’ve found that really I fear the darkness inside myself the most. I fear the old me coming out again. It’s no secret I got substance abuse issues in my past and I’ve since put those things behind me three years ago but it’s just those old attitudes and behaviours. I could be my own worst enemy. I’ve lived this life and I’ve learned from some of my mistakes, and not learned from some of my mistakes at times. It’s been a challenge for me. It’s me. I could be my own worst enemy.
Watch: Papa Roach – Gravity
MF: There’s a strong theme of hope and overcoming in this album, do you think young people in America lack hope?
JS: Oh, I definitely feel there’s a sense of hopelessness out there in some of the youth in America. I feel that it’s a fucked up place to be. I was one of those people that was always driven. I always had that drive to try new things and do new things and put myself out there and not be afraid of failure because if you are just locked in this prison of “I don’t wanna do this” and “I can’t do that”, then you’re just going to be stuck there.
For me, it’s all about things that inspire you – looking for the life, looking for the hope, that real light way at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s just so small, I’ve always been that kind of person that keeps reaching for that. And if you hold on long enough good things are going to happen. And if you just live your life and don’t grow sometimes you just stay there.
I hope that maybe our music lifts some kids out of darkness, inspires some kids to chase the best version of themselves. Life is way too precious to sit there and shit on it. Take advantage of it because life is fucking awesome.
MF: Get the neurons firing naturally?
JS: And be real. Everyone is going to have their failures and their fucking hard times, but that is life, dude. Life isn’t going to be this image that MTV painted where, “Hey, I’m going to be a fucking superstar,” and all your problems are gone because you have all the money and shit. Nah, dude, that shit doesn’t fix nothing. It’s like a band aid. So I just look at music as my passion. That’s how I connect with people. You just have to find what you’re passionate about.
MF: So what gives you hope when you don’t feel up to it?
JS: I try to get outside of myself and stop thinking about myself. Because that’s usually what happens. I’m too fuckin’ stubborn to think of someone else and I put myself first. So when I get in a space of hopelessness I reach out and try to help someone else. That is what really lifts me out of the darkness. There’s something incredibly rewarding about that.
It took me a lot of years to help me get to that state but when I stopped just living for me and stopped putting me before everyone else, something changed. Something switches up. But by no means am I trying to preach to kids. I’m just saying this is me and this is what I do.
MF: Can you think of the biggest fail at a gig?
JS: Dude, my largest failure was that I blew my voice out so bad that I could not even sing on stage and people had to cut the show off and I had to leave tour and get surgery on my voice. That was fucking terrifying.
MF: Do you like musicals?
JS: Oh yeah. Wicked was awesome.
MF: What would you tell your younger self starting out in the music industry?
JS: I could talk until I am blue in the face to my younger self but I know that my younger self wouldn’t have fucking listened.
MF: Are you addicted to Twitter?
JS: I do enjoy Twitter but I’m actually more addicted to Instagram. So if fans want to follow me [on Instagram] go to @jacobydakotashaddix. Oh yeah and tell some fans to go check out my new clothing line. It’s called “Lovers Are Lunatics”. You can go to my Instagram and you can see photos of it. So check it out. New clothing line, rock ‘n’ roll inspired streetwear. That shit is dope.
MF: So you’ve been in a couple of bands. What’s the worst name you’ve thought of?
JS: I tell you the worst band name I ever thought of was Papa Roach.
MF: You regret it?
JS: Papa Roach is the only band I’ve been in. I’ve never been in any other bands. It’s my first band and we just had that oddball band name and it just kind of stuck. Sometimes I look back and I’m like, “Papa Roach? Really?” But then I think, “What the fuck is ‘The Beatles’?”
‘F.E.A.R’ is out now. Papa Roach will tour Australia as part as Soundwave Festival 2015, with Sidewaves alongside Godsmack and Nonpoint — details below.
Watch: Papa Roach – Never Have To Say Goodbye
Godsmack, Papa Roach, Nonpoint Soundwave 2015 Sidewaves
Tuesday, 24th February
The Forum, Melbourne (18+)
Thursday, 26th February
The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+)