Papa Roach – Interview[2000]

Papa Roach

You guys are dropping the album soon. What have you been up to?

We’ve been out for like three weeks with Sevendust and just wrapped up a video. Now we’re touring independently. It’s cool because we’re out blazing trails. We’ll be on the East Coast in April, and then June we’ll be on the Warped Tour.

That tour is going to be the best this summer.

I know. It’ll be bad ass. There are tons of groups, like Green Day, NOFX, Suicide Machines, Public Enemy.

I heard you’ve been releasing albums independently for a while.

Yeah. We’ve been together since ’93.

How was recording this album on Dreamworks?

It was crazy, man. It was a total joy. We were recording before in like two or three days. This time we went in and spent like two months. We moved to LA, well, not moved, but we rented apartments. We had fun, lived it up like rock stars, met some cool people, met some dickheads, and had a good time. It was hard to focus too.

Maybe you should do what Sevendust did and record out in the sticks.

Yeah. I think the next album we’ll do something like that so we can lock down and focus.

Yep. And put on some weight because all you can do is eat.

(laughs) Yeah. It’s all good though. We figure we’ll get a Stairmaster or something. I don’t want to be coming out chunky from the studio.

How did you get signed in the first place?

Well, we did a two song demo, and then we did a full length cd when we got management, and then after that we did a five track ep which was called Five Tracks Deep. We made another five song ep and we were shopping that to a bunch of labels, and Warner Bros. picked us up to do a demo deal. They gave us like ten thousand dollars to do a demo, and in the process of that our A&R got fired! So we were like ‘What the fuck?’ So we said, ‘Fuck Warner Bros.’ We then started shopping it and Dreamworks picked it up.

What were some of the things you didn’t expect to do once you were signed?

A lot of stuff we expected. Like we did a lot of this on a smaller level, like interviews, but it’s everything we did independently is just amplified. We just got to maintain our same work ethics.

When you were coming up as a band, what was the music scene like?

We grew up in Northern California, so it was like the Deftones. That was the band that totally inspired us for their work ethic. Them and Far. Far is a great band. Basically, that scene in Sacramento was like a half-hour away. In our hometown scene was just like us, kids basically fucking shit up. (laughs) We were just like bored in our garage, and then they opened this teen center and we started rocking that. It just kind of grew from there. We sort of then got into the scene in Sacramento, but we are still like the bastard cousin of that scene because we didn’t grow up in the city.

Were you listening to a lot of different stuff growing up?

The first music I got into was like Poison. Then I got into the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More, and then I got into the Deftones, and now I listen to a lot of hardcore bands and hip-hop music. Hip-hop has affected what we do, especially in the drums and bass. Our whole band listens to a lot of different music, from reggae to jazz.

I know, because I heard the hidden track “Tightrope” and that was an eye opener.

Yeah, it’s like we flipped the script. Our bass player loves reggae and I like the Police, so it has that feel to it.

I noticed you used some older tracks on this album from eps. Are they similar?

Yeah, they are close. The only thing we did was chop off four bars and go right into the verse or add another chorus. The changes are minute. We’ve been playing these tracks for a while and we didn’t want our fans going, ‘Man, they changed their style.’ When our label signed us, they liked us for who we were.

How did you get into starting a band?

I’ve always wanted to play music. I used to always bang on trash cans in my garage listening to Poison. And then when I moved, I met some friends and played bass, but my bass got stolen. So I met this kid after I got my bass stolen and he played bass, and me, the drummer, and him started a band.

How do you write?

A lot of the time our bass player will come with some riffs and he and the guitar player will get together and rock out, and then the drummer will put the beat on it. Then we’ll write the verse/chorus structure and then put it on top. I’ll take it home and just listen to it and hum melodies. I’ll have lyrics written, but I’ll mix and match what lyrics go with it. Basically it is a band thing. It’s not like one person comes in with a song and that is how it is. We’re team style.

How do you come up with your melodies?

Sometimes I’ll do like bebop. You know like (Coby begins to break into a little bebop), and then I’ll just do some skat on top of that and change it and rearrange it. Nothing ever really stays the same from when it goes on paper to the track.

Do you ever look back at the lyrics and see things in them you never did before?

Yeah. Sometimes when we are live and I’m rocking and think about the lyrics, I’m like, ‘Damn, that’s some good ass lyrics.’ So I like impress myself sometimes. (laughs)

Where did the name Papa Roach come from?

It’s my grandpa’s name. It evolved from there into the cockroach thing, because like cockroaches can survive a nuclear holocaust. It represents longevity and mass. Because if you see one cockroach, you know there is a million. That is our philosophy, dirty and underground.

I was telling a friend about you guys and he told me about the nuclear thing. That’s crazy.

And you know if you cut off a cockroach’s head, it will live? It only dies from starvation. Isn’t that nasty?

Yeah. You produced the earlier albums. So how involved were you on this release?

Very involved. We were there the whole time. The producer would tell us there should be extra parts, but he let us add what we wanted to add, like thickness and stuff. It was fun doing that because we were experimenting on top of our own stuff.

Did you have to deal with the A&R guy over your shoulder?

Basically, he’d just come to the studio and was like, ‘This is dope.’ He wasn’t like, ‘Um, you need to change this.’ The thing about Dreamworks is that they hire the artist for what they hear. They give their artists freedom.

I can see it when a label pushes artists to make more radio friendly songs.

Yeah. They’re like ‘We need hits!’

What is a live show like?

It’s off the hook. It’s the kind of show I’d want to see if I was a fan.

Will you get a chance to enjoy yourself on the Warped Tour?

Yeah, I hope. We are going to be picketing. I’m going to have a picket sign with Papa Roach on it. We’ll play and I want to meet bands. It’ll be like a punk rock summer camp.

+ charlie craine

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