One might expect Papa Roach, who toured for two years behind their multiplatinum major-label debut, to take some recovery time and leisurely write and record their follow-up. One might be wrong. As a matter of fact, Vacaville, California’s most famous export has nearly finished recording a new album after only three weeks in the studio. It’s expected in stores by June.
“We really expected it would take longer, but everything is going so well,” drummer Dave Buckner said late Wednesday night after playing a few songs at a North Hollywood studio.
“A lot of bands come into the studio and say, ‘OK, we’re going to kick it in a studio and write a record,’ ” added singer Coby Dick. “Nah, it costs too much money. We had it all written when we came in here. The momentum is going, so why stop it?”
Papa Roach were emotionally and physically drained from a nonstop run of outings that included the Warped Tour, the Anger Management Tour, Ozzfest and several headlining treks in America and abroad. But rather than rest, the band funneled the experience into new songs, which are more reflective – and in some cases, more angry – than anything on Infest (2000).
The title of the new album, Lovehatetragedy, sums up the emotions that run through songs such as “Explosive Energy Movement,” “Time and Time Again,” “The Heart of Darkness,” “Sid,” “Black Clouds,” “Code of Energy,” “She Loves Me Not” and “Walking Through Barbwire,” Dick said.
“We wrote a song called ‘Decompression Period,’ and that’s a song about our band and the relationship with our females, being away from home,” Dick said of a tune that features the line “Night after night, we’re falling apart/ Two broken bottles and four empty hearts.”
“There was a point in time where we almost broke up. We went through two bottles of vodka a night. We were just not happy as people. We came home, and I needed some space to clear my head and think about what I was going through. It’s weird, [touring] made me more of a selfish person. I live on the road, and I don’t have to answer to anyone or live by anyone’s rules but mine. I come home, and it’s like, ‘Whoa. Oh yeah.’ ”
“The relationship with our band has gotten stronger singing a song like that,” Dick added. “It’s more natural for us. We fought a lot recording the last album. This one, we’re excited about it, and it’s flowing naturally.”
One of the tracks Papa Roach played Wednesday, “Born With Nothing, Die With Everything,” finds Dick melodically repeating, “trust inside myself.”
“It’s like, ‘F– a hero, be yourself,’ ” Dick said. “Do what you do, and do what you do the best you can do it. When I was a kid and I wanted to be in a band, that’s what I strove for as a person. I found the answers to my issues and questions within.”
“When you go out, you want to say, ‘I had a good life. I learned a lot,’ ” Buckner added. “Live every day like there is no tomorrow, ’cause there may not be one.”
Lovehatetragedy is more of a rock record than a rap-rock record. It wasn’t a conscious decision – Dick just wasn’t inspired by as much hip-hop this time around and took a different approach to songwriting.
“On the last record, which had more of a hip-hop element, I had to sit there and write everything with a rhyme,” Dick explained. “This one I just put my thoughts on paper. It wasn’t like I needed to rearrange things. It made me think, ‘Wow, this is meant to happen.’ It’s a positive feeling to walk out of the studio every day and we’re like, ‘This is coming together.’ ”
Papa Roach wrote most of the new material while on tour last summer and fall. They had only one producer in mind to record the songs: Brendan O’Brien (Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots). “He’s the right guy for us right now,” Dick said. “He’s big and rocking, and that’s where we are taking this next record, to a rock edge.”
O’Brien is also a fast-working producer, Dick said, which puts some pressure on Papa Roach to perform. Not that they need it. Following up a record that sold nearly 3.5 million copies and featured one of the most popular rock singles in years (“Last Resort”) is pressure enough.
“I’m not going to lie, there’s pressure,” bassist Tobin Esperance said. “Of course, we want other people to accept it and like it. But as long as we’re happy with it, that’s all that really matters. And we have a record that rocks.”