Surely through some unholy deal with the gods of rock ’n’ roll, Jacoby Shaddix has acquired a staying power that is both astonishing and completely deserved. He has shepherded Papa Roach through over 25 years of life and 10 studio albums, with neither his youthful exuberance nor his undeniable talent waning for even a moment.
And now in 2022, the band feel bigger and more relevant than ever. While some veteran artists might shy away from new social media platforms, Shaddix’s animated, endearing presence on TikTok has earned the band 1.5 million dedicated followers. Shaddix’s collaborations with artists, ranging from Jeris Johnson to Atreyu to Sueco, are lighting up old fans and bringing new ones on board. And oh yeah, the band’s latest singles are racking up tens of millions of streams online. Indeed, Shaddix isn’t just adapting to the new cultural landscape — he’s actively shaping it himself.
Making their own mark on the world of heavy music is Palaye Royale, a trio of brothers with a flair for aesthetic dramatics and an instantly spellbinding sound. While they’re on track for ever-greater rock stardom, lead singer Remington Leith is still acclimating to their newfound success. “I never really envisioned myself in a band or anything,” he says with a charming, almost bashful smile.
But if there’s anyone qualified to dish out time-tested advice on living life as a beloved frontman, it’s Shaddix. “I remember the first time I found Papa Roach’s music, I had a huge crush on this girl, and I went to her MySpace page, and she had ‘Last Resort’ as her MySpace song,” Leith reminisces upon meeting the formidable frontman. “It just made me like her even more. But it didn’t work out because I was not remotely cool back then — 5-foot-2, maybe 3, with the world’s worst Justin Bieber cut. It just wasn’t meant to be…”
REMINGTON LEITH: Going back in time a bit, I’ve always been curious: What artists were some of Papa Roach’s first inspirations?
JACOBY SHADDIX: Early on, I loved Faith No More — they were a real big one for me. Deftones were another early influence on us. We lived in this small town called Vacaville, and on the weekends, we’d go to Sacramento and watch Deftones in the clubs.
LEITH: That must have been life-changing.
SHADDIX: Seriously. You know that moment when you’re like, “This is what I wanna do”? Deftones were one of those bands for me. Another influence would be Mike Ness from Social Distortion — and I loved East Coast hip-hop, too. Like Wu-Tang Clan and the storytelling and their oddball approach to hip-hop.
LEITH: That’s one thing you guys are so great with — the storytelling. You tell stories in such detail that you listen to it, and you know exactly where you are. It’s so visual.
SHADDIX: Thank you, man. What about you guys? I know you’re all brothers, so this has been a lifelong thing, right?
LEITH: Yeah, it’s been a journey. Our mom put us in piano lessons when I was 4 years old, my little brother was 2 and my older brother was 6. She was like, “You guys have to play piano for a while, and then you can pick another instrument.” My brother was like, “I’ve got guitar!” I wanted to play drums, but my little brother was like, “No, I already picked drums!” So my mom was like, “Well, I guess you’re singing.” But I didn’t want to sing! I was the shyest kid ever, so I never imagined myself doing it — but then I fell in love with it.
I think the aha moment was when my mom took us to see the Black Crowes in Vegas. The second they played “She Talks to Angels,” I was like, “Oh, my God.” Chris Robinson was in the front singing barefoot, just the biggest rock star you’ve ever seen. I went all starry-eyed, and it was over.
SHADDIX: What a great story. It’s trippy because in the beginning, I actually wanted to play drums, too. But at the time, I was playing football in high school, and the guy on the line next to me, Dave Buckner, played drums — and he was way better than I was. He ended up becoming the drummer for Papa Roach.
So I was like, “Fuck it, I’ll buy a bass.” I wasn’t that good, but one time I had my bass in the back of my truck while I was working, and somebody busted open the window and stole [it]. I was like, “What the fuck? I wanna rock!” So then my drummer was like, “Dude, just be a singer. You don’t need any instruments — that shit’s free.” And I was like, “All right!”
What artists have been inspiring for you guys?
LEITH: Bowie is a huge influence. The Stones — that’s what my mom always put on. Back in the day, she was actually a photographer in the scene, so she took pictures of Johnny Thunders and the Sex Pistols. As I got more into music, I discovered My Chemical Romance, and I found Nirvana when I was 14, which was incredible.
Even now, mentally, I’m still touring in my mom’s car; I’m still the kid trying to live the dream. Would you say that success has changed you as a person?
SHADDIX: It changed everything in my life early on. I was like, “I want to drink every bit of vodka and destroy and pillage and rock and roll!” And I did that, but I just became really lonely and broken. It didn’t work too well for me — it fucked me up. So I had to choose a bit of a different course. What has success been like for you?
LEITH: It’s definitely strange. Especially growing up in Vegas and then moving to LA when I was so young, you have this dream of Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium — and until you’re there, it’s like, “I’m not successful yet.” I’m on my way, though, and it’s nice to take a look back. Even like four years ago, I was outside of the Wiltern [Theatre in LA] handing out flyers for a show that only our girlfriends and our mom came out to. And we just sold it out in October by ourselves. It’s crazy. My little brother and I also just got this house, this beautiful home. It’s rented, but we were looking at each other like, “We were sleeping in Mom’s car five years ago — and we have a backyard now!”
SHADDIX: That’s so cool, man. As we were writing our new record, we actually wanted to go somewhere away from our home. There’s this mansion down in Temecula, and we moved the band into it. We brought our producer, engineer and this chef, and we threw down for a month, writing as much music as we could. It was like the kickoff for the new record, and we achieved probably three-quarters of the material that made the record in that house. Being in that close environment with each other, there are some battles and some fights…
LEITH: That is so necessary!
SHADDIX: Absolutely. Then the walls come down, you get to that next space creatively and the best idea wins.
LEITH: It’s competitive, but it’s so good because everyone’s at the top of their game. I’ve gotten into fights with Sebastian [Danzig, guitarist] where I was like, “You fucking idiot, that doesn’t need to be the chorus! This is the chorus.” Luckily, we had an outside third party, the producer — and he was like, “Actually, [Sebastian] is right.” I was like, “Son of a bitch!” But it makes for the best song.
I actually got pretty excited about something I wrote about five days ago. I was flying home on a redeye, and I hadn’t slept that day or the day before. So I’m just running on fumes — I have no idea what’s happening. I make it home, and I’m pretty much delusional. But I’m sitting at the piano, and I write this part. I record it and fall asleep, and the next day I FaceTime my producer. I was like, “Yo, listen to this idea.” And he goes, “Dude, that’s fucking killer. When’s your flight?” I was like, “Uh, in five hours.” He goes, “It’ll take you an hour-and-a-half to get to me. Come right now.” We wrote and recorded the entire song in an hour-and-a-half, and I still made my flight out. We showed it to the label and management, and everyone was freaking out about it.
So, I feel like sometimes it’s good to be delusional and out of your own head to think of a melody that you normally wouldn’t. When was your last big moment of inspiration?
SHADDIX: In the process of writing our new record, I was going through some shit with my father, who I don’t have a very good relationship with. But I came to a point where I pretty much forgave him. I was like, “You don’t have to say you’re sorry for what was. I fucking love you anyways, no matter what.” That was a really big moment in my life.
At the time we were still staying at that place in Temecula, and there was a little casita where I could go off and write melodies. And on that day, I remember I walked in, and Tobin [Esperance] was cutting bass on this track. They had the bass turned way up, and right off the rip, I’m like, “Oh, my God.” The music felt like a weight being lifted off me, and the conversation with my father had felt the same way. So I’m like, “I’ve got to write a song about this” — and it turned into this track “No Apologies.”
It’s rad how music can be so in sync with life. That was a big moment for me, and they just happened to be writing that riff on that day. I’m just glad that I was able to tell that story through the music.
LEITH: It was meant to be. It’s funny because I’ve also not had the best relationship with my father. One song that always hits me in the feels is “Old Man” by Neil Young. Every time I listen to it, it’s so hard not to get emotional. It’s definitely gotten me through some moments.
SHADDIX: It’s so trippy that you say that because it’s the same thing for me. Just that simple lyric: “Old man, look at my life/I’m a lot like you were.” I didn’t grow up around my dad — I didn’t have him in my life much. But as I’ve learned about him, I’m like, “Fuck, I’m just like that old man.”
There’s also a Social Distortion song called “Down On The World Again” that’s a good check for my head. I can get real negative about the state of affairs — I just see so much injustice in the world, so much judgment and hatred. Then I become negative and angry, and I have to check myself and go, “Hey man, don’t be that negative thing that you despise — be something positive. Be the change that you want to see in the world.” So that track is a reminder, like, “Cob, don’t be down on the world again.”
People think of me as a very positive person, but there’s also this dark, self-loathing side to myself. I have this terrible, negative self-talk that I’ve got to keep on a leash. I have to really be vigilant and go, “You are not your thoughts, Cob.” I used to drink real heavy and use that as my crutch, but I can’t do that anymore. I’m coming up on 10 years off of that.
LEITH: Dude, congratulations. That’s fucking huge.
SHADDIX: Yeah, I thought that becoming a sober rock ’n’ roll musician was going to fuck up my life, but it actually worked out for me. When shit gets dark, I just have to remind myself that I am not my thoughts — I am not what my mind is telling me.
As I get prepared for this tour — I haven’t been on the road in two years, and I’ve got all this fear and anxiety about it. Like, why should I have fear and anxiety about getting on the road? This is what I was born to do! But my mind’s going, “What if your voice doesn’t work? What if you can’t sing for 90 minutes? What if you lose your voice on the second day of the tour? What if the plane crashes going to LA?”
LEITH: It’s wild how similar those thoughts are for me. My first day of tour, I was like, “Can I do this again?” The first show, I was hyperventilating. I was freaking out, pacing back and forth. Every demon in my head was popping out. But then the second I got onstage, I was like, “I’m home.”
SHADDIX: Yeah, I’m not good when shit’s just calm, quiet, still — I need some chaos. I’ve got too much energy inside, and if I just sit stagnant, it drives me fucking mad. I need that release — that’s why I go run all the time. That’s why I go to the gym, because I’m an energetic being. So performing is such a healthy experience for me. I get to explode, physically and emotionally, just fucking sweat. It’s all of that coming out at the same time. And then you see people feeling that off of the band, and that’s happening in them. That’s the zone.
LEITH: It’s the greatest feeling in the world. I’m also not good at sitting in one place for too long, especially staying home. Because you get in your own head. I think my biggest problem is comparing myself to others. Like, “Why don’t I have that level of success? Why couldn’t I have written that song?”
SHADDIX: They say that comparison is the thief of joy.
LEITH: I completely agree with that. But once you get onstage and realize that other people are connecting and relating to the lyrics you wrote in your bedroom during those dark times, that’s the fucking shit. That’s when all those voices shut up.
I want to ask a little more about this new music that you guys have been working on. Is there anything different about this record that really sets it apart?
SHADDIX: I’d say that going and living in that house in Temecula created a huge explosion of creativity. We had done that before on an album, The Paramour Sessions, where we moved into this big, old mansion in Hollywood called The Paramour.
LEITH: You guys did a record there? We just did a music video there for “No Love In LA.”
SHADDIX: Dude, that’s sick!
LEITH: That is the most inspiring house.
SHADDIX: Yeah, they had to come peel me out of that place. But just having that experience where you’re living together and eating together and sleeping in the same home and waking up and digging into the music… And the experience of having the rug pulled out from under your life right prior to it was like the perfect storm for creativity, and for this escape through music. It really was a saving grace of the last couple of years, just being able to be with my boys and create something inspiring. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and at some point in a band’s career, you go, “All right, put a fork in it. We fucking did it.” But we’re just not there yet. Every time we go and write music, it’s like, “Fuck, this is rad. I love this.”
There’s also a lot of self-reflection in this record. It’s a 14-song album, so there’s a bit more room to stretch out stylistically. We’d never recorded a ballad before, but we did a ballad — and I’m telling you, man, this thing will catch you in the feels. It’ll make a grown man cry. We dug deep on this one. We really did. If we’ve ever made a record that I feel could be the final statement, this is it. I could be content not writing another record after this. But then you ask me this question in two years, and I’ll be like, “I need to get in the studio now.”
LEITH: I can’t wait to listen to that ballad. It’s such a cool feeling when you’ve written something great, and no one knows it yet. What we’ve been working on has been my favorite record we’ve ever made, especially this one song that we named the album after called “Fever Dream.” It sounds like the song I’ve been waiting my whole life to write. It’s a big five-and-a-half-minute thing — it almost feels like our “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Before I let you go, just one more question, Jacoby: Any advice for staying hungry and creative for as long as Papa Roach has?
SHADDIX: When I was younger, I remember the drummer for Faith No More was like, “If I could give you any advice, just know that the same people that you meet on your way to the top are the same people you’re going to meet on your way to the bottom. So act accordingly.” I’ve always kept that with me and tried to lead with a positive spirit. When shit gets tough, you pull your bootstraps up and handle your business. You can cry about it later behind closed doors, but you’ve got shit to do, you know? There have been moments when I’ve felt like this whole thing was over, but there’s always been that drive.
And Remy, you guys have got it. You were born for it. You’ve been doing it since you were a kid. So just keep your head on straight — and don’t do too much cocaine!