Papa Roach relishes 'killer set' role as non-headliners

by Gary R. Blockus

The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) (MCT)

30 August 2007

Papa Roach produces an eclectic blend of rock, adding elements of punk, metal, ballads and everything in between or all at once. (Photo courtesy Devin Dehaven/Allentown Morning Call/MCT) 

Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach is sitting in a hotel room in Cleveland, Ohio, trying to chill and do an interview at the same time. He yawns once or twice, but then his voice suddenly comes to life after being asked what it’s like to be a supporting act, not the headliner, on the Bad Boys of Rock Tour.

Hinder is headlining the tour, with Buckcherry serving as the opening act. That makes Papa Roach the meat in the middle of the rock sandwich.

“It’s totally cool,” Shaddix says as his band continues to ride a crest from the release of “The Paramour Sessions,” featuring the Billboard Top 10 rock hit single “Forever.” “...To Be Loved,” the first single, also made Top 10 on the rock list.

“We’re all good with it. Our set is 45 minutes long. Out of 10 songs, eight are Top 10 singles,” Shaddix enthuses. “It’s a killer set. All the songs, our fans know, and it’s great, because we’re playing in front of a new audience with the Hinder and Buckcherry fans.

“You’ve got to go out and win over new fans to expand your fan base, and the reaction we’re getting has been just massive, just as big as Hinder’s. That’s huge, to come out on support and get a big reaction. The Hinder guys, we get along with real good. The Buckcherry guys, they’re all our friends, so it’s a sense of camaraderie we haven’t had in some time.”

Shaddix, who started Papa Roach in 1993 with drummer Dave Buckner, is thrilled with the reaction to “The Paramour Sessions,” which was recorded at the fabled Paramour mansion in Hollywood Hills.

The third single from the CD, “Time is Running Out,” was released last month and has been edited for use in sports arenas.

Shaddix likened the intensity of creating that opus in California - at the suggestion of Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor - to his favorite sport: mixed martial arts, or Ultimate Fighting.

“To me, the discipline that goes into training for those fighters is straight up. The passion they have for their sport is what I have for music, to go create this masterpiece,” he says.

“A lot of these fighters `monk out’ in their training facilities and then emerge out to battle. The difference is that for them, their battle is like, 25 minutes. Mine is like a year and a half.”

Papa Roach has just launched a new fan Web site called proachriot.com that is also accessible through its paparoach.com Web site.

The band blogs on it, answers fan questions and wants it to be a place fans check in on while the band is in recording mode for the next album in order to keep connected with the audience.

Shaddix said that the experience of writing at the Paramour mansion added a whole new level to the band’s creation process.

“I think we really wanted to go where the music took us,” he said of himself, Buckner, bassist Toby Esperance and guitarist Jerry Horton.

“I’d say that halfway through the process of writing the songs, we just let the music determine the direction. We asked ourselves, `Is this music fun to write? Is it evoking emotion? Is it passionate? Is it real to us?’ That’s how we started to judge the tracks. I’m really proud of this record. It exceeded all expectations.”

Papa Roach produces an eclectic blend of rock, adding elements of punk, metal, ballads and everything in between or all at once.

“We’re just a rock `n’ roll band,” Shaddix says. “A (bleep)ing passionate rock `n’ roll band.”

Shaddix has received a lot of notoriety as the host of MTV’s “Scarred,” a reality highlight clip show that exhibits homemade videos of disastrous skateboarding accidents.

Shaddix is no stranger to sports, having played football with Buckner in high school.

“We were both pretty good ball players,” Shaddix recalls. “We went to a varsity football game where we both found out how much we liked music, and when we came back, we’re like, `I want to be in a band.’”

The decision to form a band and quit football was met with disdain from coaches and teammates, but has paid off in the long run for the 32-year-old Shaddix.

“It wasn’t my calling,” he says of football. “I really found out young what I wanted to do, what got me off, and that was music.

” I think it came from being able to express myself in a free form,” he adds. “I’ve always been a free thinker, and it fit my lifestyle.”

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