Hey potential deadbeat dads, unless you want your offspring writing songs about what a lousy parent you were you might want to stick around and not hit the road when things get tough.
Of the four members of Papa Roach (singer Jacoby Shaddix - formerly known as Coby Dick, bassist Tobin Esperance, drummer David Buckner), only guitarist Jerry Horton came from a two-parent family. And Horton was a military brat. This group had frustration to burn. And burn it they did on their major label debut "Infest." A lot was made of Rock/Rap but Papa Roach also tossed in a healthy dose of Punk.
Song titles, "Infest," Last Resort" and "Broken Home," illustrated the group's lyrical direction. The songs featured Shaddix's hard-edged raps and Horton's machine gun lead guitar.
Papa Roach hailed from Vacaville , CA , once the onion capital of the world. Their initial recordings were on their own Onion Hardcore label. Four releases along with a growing reputation for intense live performances got them signed by the Dreamworks label.
Between the "Infest" and "lovehatetradegy" albums Papa Roach went through some changes. First Shaddix dumped the Coby Dick moniker and went by his birth name. More significantly, the Rap attack was replaced by proto-Metal vocals. However, the anguish and intensity remained unchanged.
Papa Roach's third studio album, "Getting Away With Murder" rolled out in the summer of '04 and contained the single "Scars." That was followed by the '05 release of their first DVD, Live & Murderous In Chicago. The set featured 75 minutes of a concert recorded by 12 cameras. The package also contained all the group's videos and behind-the-scenes footage.
For a lot of groups, but especially those who hail from California , there seems to be a point where they come face to face with Hollywood . It is, after all, integral to the SoCal experience. References may show up in a song or two or the group will have a brush with the fabled celluloid capital's wanton entanglements. For Papa Roach, it was a 14 bedroom Hollywood Hills estate known as The Paramour, that was briefly their base. It was a refuge, much like the mansion where the failing script writer (played by William Holden) holed up in the classic film Sunset Boulevard. Fortunately, no one wound up shot and floating in the pool. But the house did have a tragic tale.
In '33, oil heiress Daisy Canfield, the wife of silent movie star Antonio Moreno (who?), was on her way home from a party when her car veered off a Mulholland Drive cliff, plummeting 300 feet, killing her instantly. Over the subsequent decades the house served as a girl's school and even a convent. The mansion eventually fell into disrepair and the '87 earthquake didn't help. Eventually restored, the house was used as a recording studio and in the Rock Star reality series. It was between Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova that Papa Roach took up residence.
"We chose to move into the Paramour so we could focus on music and not have to deal with and be affected by the outside world," said Buckner. "The house had a spirit about it that was bigger than us," added Shaddix. "There was something about the ballroom we recorded in that made us want to write bigger, with more open chords. Something happened there that we wanted everyone to experience with us, and we wanted the songs to feel as grand and over-the-top as our experience there was." Kind of sounds mystical. But Horton had a more rational reaction. "Living in the house together was the best thing we could have done for ourselves. It brought new life to our writing process and helped us reconnect musically and spiritually." "The Paramour Sessions" was released in the late summer of '06.
Papa Roach's '07 North American tour hit a snag when Buckner left for "personal reasons." Turns out the reason was to enter rehab. "Dave . . . went to clean his act up 'cause he was out of his f**king mind," said Shaddix. The group tapped Unwritten Law's Tony Palermo to temporarily fill in. "All members of Papa Roach are looking forward to having Buckner back on the road with them in the near future," said a statement from the group's label. But it just didn't work out. According to later reports, Buckner was fired on Christmas Eve.
A short time later, just prior to beginning work on a new album, Papa Roach offically announced, via an online post, that they had parted ways with Buckner. "It was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do," wrote Shaddix. "The road is a hard place to live and if you're falling apart it will destroy you. He's taking this time to get his life together."
With recording well underway, Papa Roach announced that "Metamorphosis" would be the title of their fifth studio album (the group's first with Palermo). "For us, it's just (about) kicking down new doors," says Shaddix. "That's what we do all the time with our music. It's definitely a diverse record, and some of the most powerful music we've written."
Having been on the receiving end of some bad Christmas news one year, Buckner decided to dump on the band's holidays the next by filing a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court charging his old group with breach of contract and other improprieties. In the December, '08, action Buckner attempted to collect unpaid royalties and sought to dissolve the Papa Roach partnership and related corporations. He also claimed that his relationship with his ex-bandmates had become "strained and antagonistic." No kidding.
Papa Roach's fifth major label studio effort, "Metamorphosis," with the singles "Hollywood Whore" and "Lifeline" landed in '09. "It's kind of cliche to say it, but this band, this music, these lyrics, this melody is my lifeline to the world," said Shaddix of the latter song. "This is what makes me human."
Work began on the album over a year earlier and it was originally titled "Days Of War, Nights Of Love," a reference to a well-known collection of political, social and philosophical essays written and published by an anarchist collective.
To support "Metamorphosis," Papa Roach hit the road opening for Nickelback. When that is completed the group will launch their own headlining tour. "We want to have a production," said Shaddix. "We have the kind of live show that doesn't need fire and explosions -- but if we add that to the show, it's gonna be f***ing mayhem."
From that road work came '10's "Time For Annihilation . . . On The Record And On The Road," which was a combination of nine live renditions of songs from the group's catalog plus five new studio tracks.
Papa Roach returned to the studio in '11 to work on their eighth studio album. Shaddix dubbed it the "album of their career." "[The group is] opening their minds and listening to a broad range of music from Metal to Electronic to Reggae and soaking up all the inspiration," said Shaddix.
Work on the album continued between tours. "We've been out on the road and playing the brand new songs in the set, and the fans go off," Shaddix stated. "They snap audiences off like no other, so we're really stoked about the direction and sound of the band, as well!"
"The Connection" dropped in '12 but a problem arose.
Shaddix was diagnosed with a vocal nodule that required surgery which forced the group to cancel their Uproar Festival tour. "It's called a nodule, otherwise known as a node, and it sits on the vocal cord," said Shaddix. "It's pretty much like a callus that you get on your hand, but it's like a callus on your vocal cord."
1997 Old Friends from Young Years
2004 Getting Away With Murder
2006 The Paramour Sessions
2010 Time For Annihilation . . . On The Record And On The Road
2012 The Connection
"Infest" is the group's major label debut. Led by "Last Resort" and "Broken Home" it's a pile-driving CD with enough angst for a generation. It sold over three million copies. So why mess with success? Well, how about, "to come up with something even better?" That's what Papa Roach accomplishes with '02 release "lovehatetradegy." Rather than Rapping, Shaddix actually sings while Horton creates a combustible din.
"She Loves Me Not" was released as a single but the more incendiary "Walking Thru Barbed Wire" and "Born With Nothing, Die With Everything" are the standouts. For Papa Roach, this mid-course alteration is a success.
"Getting Away With Murder" is a continuation of "lovehatetradegy." While the album is solid, Papa Roach can be taken to task for using the same approach on all but a handful of the tracks. Namely, Shaddix's roaring vocals against thunderous chords. The title track, "Blood" and "Be Free" come out the best. There are back-to-back break-up songs; the aforementioned "Be Free," which lifts a line from AA about "being sick and tired of being sick and tired," and Done With You." There are also a couple other songs that deal with relationship hell.
Backing off a bit and rounding the edges, "Scars" has pop appeal as does "Do Or Die" which features the platitude, "never too late to live your life."
"The Paramour Sessions" is an excellent album. If the locale is responsible in some way, more groups should hole up/record in Hollywood mansions with a history. The single, "To Be Loved" is both urgent and accessible containing the descriptive line about having a "jet pack heart." "The World Around You" comes off as a lean, uptempo ballad - something that doesn't appear too often. "Forever" has a more traditional soft-verse/loud-chorus structure but Papa Roach is able to make it compelling. "What Do You Do?" is the heavy ballad. The set closer, "Roses On My Grave," is typical of a song in that position. It is markedly different from everything that came before. There are synth strings and no drums. While hardly spectacular, the good news is, the song is not embarrassing.
So if Papa Roach can pull off the more restrained tracks, the uptempo stuff has got to be killer, right? It is. "I Devise My Own Demise" is brilliant. Both "My Heart Is A Fist" and "Reckless" are powered by forceful riffing guitars. The hook filled "No More Secrets" ("no more secrets, no more lies"), "Crash" and "Alive (N' Out Of Control)" demonstrate the group's ability to fuse strong melodies to their songs.
The term 'metamorphosis' means rebirth or transformation. So Papa Roach calling their album "Metamorphosis" could be seen as an acknowledgement of a rather interesting career arc. They started as a Nu Metal/Limp Bizkit band and now, with "Hollywood Whore," a single from "Metamorphosis," they morphed into Motley Crue. The song captures the "white trash queen" sleaze that the Crue often nailed. Just to drive the point home Crue guitarist Mick Mars plays on "Into The Light."
Whether "Metamorphosis" is a major change or not (probably not) can be argued but what's clear is this album Rocks.
"Days Of War," with feedback, a marching cadence and ominous chords, could have dropped out of the late '60s, and "Had Enough," a lean anti-war song, set a serious tone. While these are potent tracks, the tightly wound, riff driven "Change Or Die," the straight-ahead "Lifeline" and the edgy "Live This Down" are the best of what is a damn impressive set.