Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix Discusses Uproar Festival and Making ‘The Connection’
Papa Roach may be over a decade into their career, but that doesn’t mean the rockers are slowing down any. In fact, they’ve established themselves as one of the best live acts in the hard rock scene, with plenty of energy, a solid catalog of songs, and the drive to stay on top.
As the band prepare to release a new album, they’ve signed on to take part in the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, and singer Jacoby Shaddix sat down with Loudwire to discuss the festival and their relationships with the bands on the bill, ‘The Connection‘ album (due Oct. 2) and what that title means to them, and his idea of the ideal radio station.
You’re getting ready to head out on the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Tour this year, and what a lineup. What’s your take on this year’s bill?
It’s a solid rock lineup man. This tour could have went out in 2000-2001 and f—ing killed and now it’s going out in 2012 and killing, so that’s a statement right there. It’s cool to be part of some bands that came out way back when, like 12 years ago and are still rocking it, packing houses and having a good time. I’ve got nothing but love and respect. I mean the guys in Staind are good friends of mine, Shannon Larkin from Godsmack is one of my favorite rock drummers. He’s f—ing an amazing drummer and my dudes in Shinedown, those are my homies. Plus P.O.D.‘s representing out on the second stage, headlining that s—. So I’m definitely gonna be hanging out with those guys. It’s just going to be a fun summer man. It’s a great way to wrap this summer up.
Looking back at ‘Time for Annihilation,’ there’s the photo in the artwork of you wearing the onesy pajamas while hanging out with Shinedown. You’ve made a lot of great friendships with a lot of these bands. What are some of the best times you’ve had with the acts on this bill?
Oh man, it was awesome. We just did a couple of shows with Shinedown about a month ago, and it was July 4 and we hooked up and went to this restaurant in Maine. And we went to this place and had the lobster and the whole deal, and we get there and it’s like 40 of us eating dinner and Brent [Smith] stands up and says, ‘Hey thanks guys, dinner and drinks on me.’ I’m like, ‘You mother—er, you did this again, dude.’ He likes to do that. He likes to roll out and get the bill. I’m like, ‘Alright man, I owe you. I’ll get you back.’ [Shinedown] are just a good group of guys. Barry [Kerch], I love that guy.
We got to hang out with those guys and check out the first edit of their video for ‘Enemies,’ and I f—in’ love the video. They’re just f—in’ cool guys. We’ve had some epic parties with those guys. We finished up a tour in Biloxi, Miss., and rented out the top floor of the Hard Rock Hotel and f—in’ raged. Raged! It was fun.
With these major festivals, you get a little less stage time than if you were doing your normal headlining set, so what is the allure of Uproar and it’s gotta be something as there’s all these great acts on here.
I think it’s a perfect time right now for us to go out and do this type of festival. We’ve got a record coming out in October and so it’s a great way to get in front of s–t tons of people and promote our new single and our new recording coming out. We can go out there and be on an earlier slot with less time and kill it, promote it, let motherf—ers know that we’re coming back with this new record and be out.
Can you talk about the mindset going into this new record and how you were inspired coming off a few years of primarily promoting the hits with your live record?
We went home, we own our own recording studio and we took some money from the budget and outfitted it with all the proper gear and equipment and that was, within itself, just totally inspiring. You know, going to our own studio every day and showing up there, writing music, doing it our way and go in with James Michael, the producer, and we made a record that we’ve always wanted to make. We did it our way on our terms in our studio and really just rediscovered the basic elements of who Papa Roach is again. And making a record in our hometown, that was the first time we did that since, f—, the demos before ‘Infest.’ We’ve been going to New York and L.A. and making records everywhere else but home and so it was a great experience, kind of like full circle almost and it really comes out in the sound and the vibe of this record.
You mentioned James Michael and we know you toured with him when he was doing Sixx: A.M. for Crue Fest. Can you talk about the relationship there and how it’s evolved in recent years?
Well James and I, before we did Crue Fest, we hooked up and did some songwriting together. We just clicked, you know. And there’s just people out there in this business that, you know, he seems like he’s a brother. You just meet somebody and you just click right off the bat. That was the case for me and James.
When it came time to pick a producer for the record, I brought James up and I was like, ‘Dude, trust me, I really think that working with James would just be f—ing great.’ And he was really up for the idea of coming out to our studio and working in our environment and no producer ever has been willing or able to do that. They’re always saying, ‘Come into my studio and come into my world.’ James was like, ‘F— that, I’ll come to you.’ And we were like, ‘This is it.’
The relationship has just flourished. It’s like a brotherhood, you know. He really understands all elements of Papa Roach musically, lyrically, thematically, he understands what we’re trying to achieve so it’s like I’ll start a sentence and he’ll finish it. And now it’s just gotten to the point where our humor is connected and so we have a group text between Papa Roach and James Michael that we’ll just chime into on a regular basis and crack each other up with inside jokes.
Let’s talk abou the first single ‘Still Swingin’‘ off the new record. You’ve never been ones to shy away from the struggles of trying to make it in music and life. How important of a statement is that song at this point in your career?
It is the most important statement for the band. I think it just says a lot about P-Roach. It’s about my personal life, my highs and lows and what I’ve gone through and I’m a f—in’ survivor dude. I’m a fighter. I think it’s taking a challenge and I’m always willing to step up to it and I’m not going to go out without a fight. And P-Roach, we’re the band that no matter what we’re f—ing up against, we’re gonna prevail. I think we learned that from our early days as a rock and roll band, when every record company told us, ‘No, no, no, no,’ we’re like, ‘F— you, we’re gonna keep on doing it.’ It got us to where we’re at now and we’ve maintained that hustler spirit, that fighter spirit, that warrior spirit. And I think it’s just a great statement to put out as the first single on this record. It’s got the right energy and the right message.
We know you said in the webcast where you announced the new album that the title is always the hardest part, so how did ‘The Connection’ become the title and what’s the significance?
‘The Connection’ was actually one of the first ideas for the album title and then we went around in a million different ways for an album title and we always just kept coming back to ‘The Connection.’ What ‘The Connection’ means to us, it’s our connection to the music, it’s the connection of this music to the fans, it’s the connection that we make onstage with our music, it’s the connection from fan-to-fan on the social Internet marketing media world. It’s like when the Facebook fans start to get to know each other, they come to shows and meet each other and make friends.
It’s just this connection that Papa Roach makes is bigger than us sitting in a room jamming. It’s larger than life now and we’re just the facilitators for that, so it’s just painfully obvious that this is what it needs to be. That’s what we’re all looking for is a connection in this world and to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves. And P-Roach music has done that for me and it’s done that for a lot of other people.
You mention the connection being bigger than the band themselves, but sometimes being a touring band, there’s some isolation from what’s going on in the outside world. What’s it like for you the first time you’re able to see faces or statistically check out reactions to something new that you’ve done?
It’s f—ing incredible. I’m looking at iTunes response is really positive. I’m friends with one of the local DJs here in Sacramento, and he’s like, ‘Yo dude, the response from the fans is overwhelmingly positive.’ And checking up on Facebook and seeing our fans reactions, and yeah, here and there we get a ‘Oh, I don’t like this, it’s f—ing gay.’ But it’s like when you’ve got 100 positive ones and five negative ones, it’s like are you going to listen to the loud minority? Sometimes you’ve just got to keep your head on the positive and I look at that and realize, ‘F—in’ A, we’re doing good.’
Watch Papa Roach’s ‘Making of The Connection Album Art’ Featurette