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.
We interview Jerry Horton.
Rock has lost its way—is Papa Roach going to help it find its way back?
We’ve been gone for a while but we have a great record that we are excited about. We worked on this record for a year and got together and wrote and recorded and picked seventeen songs to record and used twelve of those. It’s the best of the best.
When I think of Papa Roach I think of the hooks. Is it natural to write those hooks that draw fans in? The new single “Getting Away With Murder” has a great hook.
It does come natural. We want to make the song exciting for us but also exciting for the fans. Everybody loves for a song to get stuck in their head whether they want to love it or not. We’ve done it for so long that it’s become second nature.
With that hook and your style who do you point to—who was it that made you adopt this style?
The Chili Peppers are really great at that. There are so many bands.
That is a prime example. We have a song that is heavily influenced by AC/DC called “Be Free.” It’s a simple back to basics rock song.
Bands seem to be shying away from bands like that because they think they are cheesy, but who is cooler than them?
That’s Right. We’re not of the attitude that we are one certain thing. Our main focus is to write good songs. Obviously we have our limits. There are things we won’t do and things we gravitate towards. We look up to bands like the Chili Peppers and Faith No More who evolved throughout their careers. We model ourselves after bands that evolved.
Everything about Papa Roach has matured—you’ve taken a step and given fans a reason to rediscover you.
We have matured as people and musicians. The reason that we picked our producer was that we see eye to eye on the vocals being an important part of the record. He concentrated on the vocals, lyrics and harmonies. It helped with the end product. For the rest of us we’ve learned to play to the character of the song whether it’s a rock ballad or punk rock song. Another goal of ours is to take something away from each recording process.
When do you know when you are done writing?
It’s funny that you ask that. On this record Dreamworks got bought out and were in a transition phase and we were sort of without a record contract. We didn’t have anyone telling us we needed to get our record out and that gave us creative freedom. So we came off the road after three-and-a-half years of tour, took a month off, and then got together. It was cool and I don’t know if that will ever happen again.
Do you always keep writing?
Actually on this record we had fifteen songs recorded and then at the end our A.R. guy wanted us to record two more songs and those were “Be Free” and “Do Or Die” and they both made the record. We thought we were done and we were like ‘what do we need to do that for?’ It turned into something great. We had to pick. It was a really tough thing.
The thing about this record is it will probably bring in people who weren’t fans before.
That is what we’ve noticed. When we go to radio stations and people call in we’ll hear from them and that they weren’t fans of ours but love “Getting Away With Murder.”
I’ve always had the opinion that you’ve been unfairly lumped in the same category with a lot of other bands.
Exactly. That’s a great observation. The first record was rap-rock. That is what we were. On the second record we did something different. But we were still getting called rap-rock. So we had to drive that point home on this record.
I think people will hear “Getting Away With Murder” and will wonder “who the hell is this?”
Right. The hooks have always been there—you can’t beat melody.
+ Charlie Craine