When you hear the name Papa Roach, it’s almost a guarantee that at least one song of theirs will spring to mind. Forming in 1993, the band have had the best part of two decades to work towards the point at which they currently sit: headlining shows worldwide, a huge, strong fan base behind them and a repertoire of hits under their belt.
Currently on tour in America, frontman Jacoby Shaddix took a little call time out to discuss the band’s follow up to 2010’s ‘Time For Annihilation’, his signature dish in the kitchen and just how it feels to sit and look back on the last 18 years as part of Papa Roach. If you don’t like swearing then… well maybe you should avert your eyes from this interview.
IS: How are you doing?
Jacoby: I’m good, getting ready to play a show in Mississippi, god damn it! Going to rock the shit out of this rock show tonight in the dirty South.
IS: How has tour been?
Jacoby: Oh, it’s been great. We’ve been out for about six weeks. We did a bit with a Chicago band called Pop Evil, Finger Eleven and Escape The Fate and it was fucking killer. It’s been really cool to be out here supporting ‘Time For Annihilation’. Right now ‘Burn’ is doing really well on the rock radio charts, so we’re pretty fucking stoked, especially since we’ve gone independent, y’know?
IS: Touring for as long as you do, doesn’t it get tough missing home? The tours seem to come in big bulks.
Jacoby: Definitely. I mean, I love being on the road but I can’t wait to get home. It’s usually on the last four or five days of tour that you’re just like ‘Man it’s getting close’. I sit and think ‘Fuck, I just can’t wait to go home’. I can’t wait to fuck… Yeah, I can’t wait to fuck. [laughs] I can’t wait to get down with my wife in a romantic fashion and have some good ol’ fun sex. Also, I can’t wait to see my kids. I miss those little boys in the worst way.
But it’s also okay because I have a great big family out here on the road as well, so. The people in my band, I love, the people in the road crew, so many. It just seems like a big family out here, so yeah I do absolutely miss my wife and kids but I feel like we have a solid group of people out here that I get to travel around the world with.
IS: Are you looking forward to returning to the UK next month for your two shows?
Jacoby: Oh, fuck yeah! It’s going to be fucking awesome – I can’t wait. It’s going to be off the fucking chain. We’re doing the Shepherd’s Bush Empire for a free show, so that is going to be completely off the hinges. I mean, the UK crowds for us are just great. We love them and that’s why we keep coming back.
We’re also doing a show in the Sheffield o2. That’s going to be off the chain as well. It’s been quite a while since we played Sheffield. So that’s going to be fun. I think – for us – that’s going to be a great way to wrap up our European tour since those are the last couple of dates of the tour. Then after that we’re going to come home and then we’ve got one more United States run on a tour called the Rock Allegiance Tour in America, which is going to be fucking great. Then we’re going to take some time off and hopefully work on our new record.
IS: I had heard a rumour, regarding the two British shows, that you’d be recording them for a new live DVD. Could you confirm or deny that rumour?
Jacoby: No, we’re not going to. We’re not going to this time. We’re going to wait until our next full-length album is done before we go for our next live DVD, but we are definitely going to do it in the UK – I can tell you that. We’re just not shooting it now on this tour.
IS: I had also seen that once tour is done, you’ll be definitely tackling a new record. Is that still the plan?
Jacoby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re going to take a little bit of time off first. I mean, we’ve been doing this shit for around ten years straight, so we’re going to take about five, six months away from each other. I think it’s well timed; it’s just the time we feel we need to do that. We’ll still be creative, we just won’t be on the road doing shows and stuff like that.
We own a recording studio in Sacramento and so this will be the first time that we write and record a full length record or anything since before we got our record deal back in 1999. So, it’s going to be really exciting to be making a record in our own studio and in our own town. I think that’s going to definitely effect the way the record turns out, I believe.
IS: Do you plan ahead for recording or just try approaching it all fresh? I had heard you were perhaps looking at more electronic sounds.
Jacoby: You know, for us, we’ve really been enjoying a lot of different electronic music right now. I think that when we really start to listen to music, it definitely influences our own music. We’ll never lose the rock of Papa Roach; there’ll always be heavy guitars, but we want to progress and evolve.
We want to experiment in the studio with some more electronic sounds in our music and see where it takes us. I mean, we can only try it and if it sounds kick-ass we’ll release it and if it doesn’t then we’ll go back to the drawing board. I think that we’re very tasteful about how we incorporate other music into our own. We don’t want to lose our identity as a rock band.
IS: Looking at your Wikipedia page, for one, it lists a lot of genres that Papa Roach would fit into. Do you think it’s important to continue to change your sound and experiment?
Jacoby: I think that for us as a band: yes, it is very important. I think we almost have musical ADD going from record to record! Bands I grew up listening to like Led Zeppelin or Faith No More are two bands that evolved their sound and their career drastically throughout. Led Zeppelin had elements of rhythm and blues, they had elements of heavy metal and they were always pushing forward with their sound.
It’s the same with Faith No More. They had elements of funk, punk, hip-hop, rock, pop, everything. For us, we kind of view ourselves in light of those bands in that we always want to progress and evolve. I think our music will always be a reflection of where we’re at personally, creatively, musically, spiritually, what’s going on in the world around us and those things are always ever-changing. So, our music will remain evolving.
IS: I think you’re about a year and a half, two years away from hitting the 20 year mark since forming the band. Do you ever sit back and look at the last 18 years and think of how successful it’s all been?
Jacoby: It’s a fucking trip. I look back and I just… I don’t know. We did that when we went back and we were writing back home at our studio for like a week and it just got to us, really. We were hanging out with all of our old friends and we all just started to get a little sentimental, like ‘Wow, look at this thing we’ve done over the last 18 years’. We started out writing songs around downtown Sacramento and playing in Vacaville, where we’re from, and now we’re playing the arena in our home town. You just look at it and realise how much we’ve done and how many places we’ve gone and we can come back home and our friends are still our friends. It’s a trip.I look back on it and I’m very proud of our careers.
IS: Obviously, a lot of amazing things have happened to you in those 18 years but is there any in particular you’d consider a favourite?
Jacoby: There’s a few. I would say our record ‘Infest’ was fucking huge as fuck. We sold millions and millions and millions of records and it gave us an opportunity to just go out and attack the world with our music. That record is a huge accomplishment as well as ‘Getting Away With Murder’. I think the album ‘Getting Away With Murder’ was the record that really proved we were going to have a career and not just be a one-hit wonder.
I’d also say that playing Rock in Rio with Guns N’ Roses was an epic moment in our career. It was just fucking… wow! [laughs] I was like ‘I can’t believe this’. Playing Polish Woodstock to 350,000 people. We headlined that shit. It was just one of the most epic shows of our career.
Then also I’d say the last time we came back and headlined Brixton Academy too. I think that was very validating for us as a rock band because we came in with ‘Infest’ and headlined it and then for a while we weren’t headlining these gigs. So, when we came back and headlined it again we were like, “Fuckin A! Now we’re fucking there, now we have a career!” I think that sticking it out, sticking to our guns and what we believe in and creating music that takes our fans for a ride – those are the moments. It’s really important to us to have those moments throughout our career and to this day.
Oh! And Kansas City Rockfest. 55,000 people and we fucking stole the show! It was like I was a rock and roll fucking wizard throwing bolts out of my hands! It was fucking berserk.
IS: Having achieved all of that, is there still anything left you consider a goal? Or are you just taking everything as it comes?
Jacoby: Oh, I mean – for me – I really want to go to South America in the worst way. I haven’t been there in like ten years and I really want to go back. I just remember having amazing shows there and our messageboards have always blown up with fans from Brazil, Argentina and Chile. So, I’d love to go back to Latin America sometime after we’re home.
Also, I’d love to o back to Australia and South East Asia. Those are places that we haven’t really hit very hard and it’s really like America, Canada, UK and Europe that have been the main places that we’ve focussed on with touring. There’s still a lot of the world that we haven’t hit. Come on! Let me do this all! We can dominate this shit!
IS: A friend of mine wanted me to ask that since you will get asked a lot of the same types of questions in interviews; if you were to interview yourself, what would you ask?
Jacoby: If I wasn’t doing rock and roll?
IS: I assume that with being asked about specific topics, there might be something you’d like to talk about for a change but never get asked about – that kind of thing.
Jacoby: I think ‘What’s my favourite things to do other than rock ‘n’ roll?’
IS: So what is your favourite thing to do other than rock ‘n’ roll?
Jacoby: Well, I like to have crazy, wild, passionate sex with my wife. I like to ski, I love doing that. I think that’s fucking awesome. I love to go white-water rafting, I love camping, I love cooking. What else do I like to do? Those are my hobbies. Those are the main things I really love to do that I’m passionate about.
IS: Since you’re into cooking, do you have a signature dish?
Jacoby: Chicken stir-fry. I do an awesome chicken stir-fry! It’s just super. I really can’t wait to get home and cook it. Garlic, ginger, chicken stir-fry! Oooh! So brilliant and so healthy.
IS: As a vegetarian, I have to ask if you have a vegetarian speciality too…
Jacoby: You know, I do some bad-ass spicy green beans with almonds. It’s not some crazy, elaborate vegetarian dish, it’s more me preparing vegetables in a special way. Spicy beans – it’s almost like a Thai spicy green bean. It’s great!
IS: Finally, as you’ve already done so much with Papa Roach, is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to in the future?
Jacoby: I would say that the next big important thing for us is to write a record. Our next full length record has just got to be fucking epic. That’s it, man. That’s the goal. We keep sitting in the back lounge of the tourbus and talking about what we want to do creatively and it really seems like we’re all on the same page and I think that’s very important. We need to make a record that is just straight epic!
You can see Papa Roach live in July at both London and Sheffield.