Features > Artist of the Month > February 2007
Papa Roach

 


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Papa Roach is:
Jacoby Shaddix - vocals
Jerry Horton - guitar
Tobin Esperance - bass
Dave Buckner - drums

   Musical evolution. It's what every band strives for, but few successfully achieve from one record to the next. Then there's Papa Roach.

 In 2000, the group scored triple platinum success with the scathing rap and metal hybrid Infest. Embracing an "if it ain't broke, fix it anyway" strategy, the band returned two years later with the tortured, despairing Lovehatetragedy, a ripping album devoid of hip-hop beats and raps. But it's the new disc Getting Away With Murder with which Papa Roach take their most mature and daring leap.

 "We really wanted to do something new and continue to grow," frontman Jacoby Shaddix says. "We've always felt like outsiders, so, we've just sat in our own little category and done what we believe in."

 "We're really big fans of transformation," adds drummer Dave Buckner. "But each time we reinvent ourselves, we do it without abandoning who we were in the first place."

 Unlike the many musicians who have changed their sound in accordance with the trends of the day, Papa Roach have developed by turning a deaf ear to the whims of the industry and the advice of so-called experts. As Shaddix sings in the chorus of the album's first song "Not Listening," "The more I learn, the more I ignore."

 "There are always outside forces trying to tell you what to do," Shaddix says. "So, we just put up our middle finger to critics and other people, and said, 'We're gonna do what we're gonna do.' We stand up for ourselves as a band, and our message to our fans is to shut yourself off from anyone who wants to run the show, and run it yourself."

 Now, the show is running like a finely-tuned vintage sports car. From the time they formed in 1993 up until the release of Lovehatetragedy, the band was angry and nihilistic, lashing out haphazardly at a chaotic and uncaring world. It was easy to get hooked in by their propulsive riffs and energized beats and become a part of their cesspool of communal rage, but there wasn't a whole lot of room for good vibes. The new Papa Roach is much more upbeat and even more captivating.

 Getting Away With Murder is still loud and abrasive, however the real power and passion in the music lies in what the band has previously downplayed -- melody and vulnerability. Shaddix sings with more precision and tunefulness than ever, and while the band exhibits some of its heaviest and most groove-oriented rhythms to date, the choruses are jam packed with poignant vocal harmonies that bond to your skull like Crazy Glue.

 The title track is at once stoic and sensitive, driven by a surging rhythm, tumbling beat and undeniable refrain. "Take Me" starts with wall of tinny dissonance before evolving into a staccato, metallic guitar riff and climaxes with an enthralling chorus, and "Scars" resonates with aching vocals, a mid-paced tempo and textural washes of sound that compliment the melody.

 "We're still a tough rock 'n' roll band, but we weren't afraid to break out of our shell and use more melody this time," Shaddix explains. "When I go back and listen to this record, it just makes me feel good. People ask me what I'm listening to lately. I ain't gonna lie, dude. I'm listening to Getting Away With Murder obsessively. I believe in it so much."

 "We made a conscious effort on this album to write really good songs, not just really heavy songs," Says bassist Tobin Esperance. "We wanted to have anthems that you can sing along to and good rock and roll songs that have energy."

 "When you listen to Papa Roach, you get a feeling of passion and energy as opposed to just melodies," adds guitarist Jerry Horton. "I think that's what separates us from a lot of other bands out there."