Papa Roach Showing New Attitude

By | September 26, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix is having trouble concentrating on the conversation.

Interrupting the lead singer’s discussion about the in-your-face band’s latest album is the cry of a baby.

“Can you hold on? I’ve got to get the baby a bottle,” he says.

It’s the first sign there’s something afoot for the band that burst onto the musical scene in 2000 with the rap-rock triple platinum album “Infest,” which included the single “Last Resort.”

First, there’s the name change from the irreverant Coby Dick to the more respectable Jacoby Shaddix.

“Call me the artist formerly known as Coby Dick,” jokes the new father. “I didn’t want my kid asking what it meant.”

All four members of the band are recently either married or engaged, and have either become parents or begun discussing parenthood.

Finally, there’s the new album, “lovehatetragedy,” which forgoes the rap-rock sound that made the band famous.

“We wanted to do something different,” says drummer David Buckner.

Except for the single “She Loves Me Not,” the album is harder, louder and more rock oriented than its predecessor.

The band, which had its beginnings more than nine years ago as a suburban Vacaville, Calif., garage band has returned to its musical roots, Shaddix says.

“We’ve always been a rock band. Rapping is just one part of it,” he says.

Shaddix, Buckner and bass player Tobin Esperance met in high school and began playing together in 1993. They were joined in 1996 by guitarist Jerry Horton, who was introduced to them by an ex-girlfriend who had heard the band play.

Papa Roach received a lukewarm reception at its first gig in 1993 at a high school talent show. But by 1995, it was selling out local clubs and released “Old Friends from Young Years” on its own label, Onion Hardcore Recordings.

In 1998, the band released “5 Tracks Deep,” and then in 1999, “Let Them Know.”

Meantime, they toured non-stop, hitting the road with then unknowns Kid Rock, Incubus and Static-X.

By late 1999, Papa Roach was making so much noise that labels started to listen.

In 2000, P-Roach, as they are known to fans, released “Infest,” and earned a Grammy nomination as Best New Artist.

Shaddix, 26, says the band began writing songs for “lovehatetragedy” while touring with Ozzfest.

“It’s where we had time. We were all together stuck on a bus.”

Producer Brendan O’Brien, who worked with Rage Against the Machine and Pearl Jam, was brought in to put together the album.

“We didn’t want to do ‘Infest 2,'” Buckner says.

Released in July, “lovehatetragedy” features songs that reflect the band’s mix of emotions, including the rush of success and the stress it put on their friendships and relationships.

While the hit single “She Loves Me Not” is reminiscent of songs from “Infest,” the new album’s harder tracks, “M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement)” and “Singular Indestructible Droid,” which features Indian chanting, are standouts of the band’s new sound.

Perhaps to highlight their departure from rap-rock, Papa Roach also recorded a rocked-out version of The Pixies’ punk-themed “Gouge Away,” which is featured as a bonus track.

But it’s the album’s title track that best defines where the band is at, Shaddix says.

“People fall in love every day. People fall out of love every day. Both can turn into tragedy. That’s what this album is about,” he says.

So far, fans appear to be accepting the band’s changes. Papa Roach has played to sold out audiences as the only rock act on Eminem’s “Anger Management Tour.”

“They are carrying on in the tradition of themselves,” says Alien Ant Farm’s guitarist Terry Corso, who has known Papa Roach for years.

“They are growing, and they are becoming more mature. You can hear that in this album,” Corso says. “It’s changed them alot. But it’s also made them more intense.”

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