INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS BY VILLE RUSO
Papa Roach is an American band originally formed in 1993 in California. The first major release, INFEST came out in 2000 and went into triple platinum in the U.S. Later on; the band has released several successful albums, including LOVEHATETRAGEDY (2002) GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER (2004), and METAMORPHOSIS (2009). The band has sold more than 10 million albums altogether worldwide. In the earlier years, bands tended to mix and combine different musical styles and genres, including rap, punk, and nu-metal. Still, later on, their music has morphed into traditional hard rock and alternative rock. Papa Roach started the TASTE OF CHAOS –tour from Helsinki on 15’Th of November. Then we had a chance to discuss with guitarist Jerry Horton about the upcoming tour, record companies, bands metamorphosis, and various other objects … read on!
TASTE OF CHAOS TOUR
The TASTE OF CHAOS –tour with Buckcherry, Disturbed, and Papa Roach is about to start within few hours here in Helsinki. You just arrived here a couple of hours ago, is everything now ready to start the tour?
Obviously, we slept overnight on the plane and then up again, and then when we got to London, we flew, and then it was dark again. So light, dark, light, dark, in less than 24 hours, it was just weird, strange for me, but it was cool. I didn’t really sleep on the plane, but I stayed up as much as I could, and then finally, last night I, sleep. I slept for like 10 hours.
If I’m right, is this your second visit to Finland with Papa Roach?
I think so. The first time was in 2001, I think. The reason I remember that is because it was, we went from the U.S to Rio. We played Rock in Rio and then we flew from Rio to here. It was like a 17-hour flight. Since then, we’ve been to Europe, but we just for some reason haven’t gotten up to Scandinavia.
You haven’t been too much in headlines lately in here. That’s true. I actually did a kind of research on finding your albums and stuff from the shops; it’s not easy. I don’t know if it’s up to the distributor?
I think mostly, yeah, this is the first one where we’re independent of having more control over it. But I think Universal was never really. I mean, the first record obviously was big everywhere, but then the rest of them they just…
Came and went?
How do you feel about doing this TASTE OF CHAOS –a type of package tour?
We haven’t really done one in Europe, so I think it’s definitely a good thing for us. We’ve done a few headline tours in Europe, and it’s always great, but we’ve never really packaged up with a really good package, so it’s all good.
In the States, you have done Crue Fest and Ozzfest and lots more tours like that. About doing this package thing, doesn’t it bother you when you have to cut your setlist and share backstage with other bands and stuff like that?
Well, no, I mean, sharing the backstage, it’s you know we’re in an arena, so it’s not like there’s a very small space. We get to play for almost an hour, so it’s not that bad, you know, especially here in Scandinavia, we haven’t been here that much, so most of the songs we’re going to play, nobody has heard before, so it doesn’t really matter. Yeah, I mean, we usually try and keep it, even on our headliner, it’s usually like an hour and 15 minutes, maybe an hour and 20 minutes. So we’re not cutting that much.
So you have to cut like four to five songs off of the set?
As I mentioned before, Papa Roach hasn’t been in headlines here too much lately, but I do know that you have gone through a lot of changes lately. If I can say, you have changed your outlook a little bit from the early days. You have made some changes to your musical style, no more rap things, etc. You have changed the record company. So basically, everything has changed during the past three years of something. What actually made you do all those changes?
We’ve always changed even before we got signed we’ve always changed our music, you know, record to record. So that part of it is really the only thing that is the same because we always change. And that was, you know, the rap-rock thing was just a phase in our whole musical journey, I guess you could say. It was, you know, that’s what people know us from because that’s the first thing they heard, and that’s what made us big. But that was only just a small section of what we really do. We’ve always said we’re just a rock band. It’s like we knew that genres come and go, and we just wanted to keep it rock after that, you know, and as far as the outlook goes, the first record was really angry. Jacoby, I guess, used it as therapy. You can’t be like that forever, you know that’s kind of teenage years stuff, you know, so it’s like you have to change.
Everybody grows older.
Yeah, it’s like if you think more about it… it works for some metal bands and hardcore bands.
But there are still bands like AC/DC or Iron Maiden who are not allowed to make too radical changes “laughs.”
Yeah, that’s true. We, I don’t know, we have a very short attention span I guess when it comes to that, like to change things, keep it fresh for ourselves, and we hope for our fans because we look up to bands like Faith No More and Red Hot Chili Peppers; they change throughout their career and Led Zeppelin. We admire that and appreciate it when a band can introduce different things and still keep their sound.
Who are your biggest influences? I think you mentioned some of them already?
I think those would be the main influences and then there are little things here and there, well I mean the Beatles and all the classic rock bands, and then we also listen to Refused was a big influence on us for a while, and we went through like a metal phase. Obviously, that doesn’t translate to our music, but there are some little things here and there that we take from it. We listen to a lot of different music, from hip hop to jazz-rock. We don’t really listen to classical, but sometimes we’ll put it on. But the main bands are Metallica, Faith No More, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Your big three…
How about Scandinavian rock bands? Are you familiar with those because I was looking at the cover of METAMORPHOSIS, and it reminded me much about bands like Backyard Babies or Hardcore Superstar and bands like that? Do you know those bands?
We know Hardcore Superstar. I don’t know. I really don’t know a lot of newer Scandinavian bands. You know we’ve done many festivals over the years, so we’ve met them, yeah, but not many newer guys yet.
Okay. I wondered when I was listening to METAMORPHOSIS, which is a true metamorphosis; if you compare it to the first album, it’s like a different band for my ears. Just a hypothetical question, but what if Papa Roach would have been formed in the mid-’80s? Would it have been like Motley Crue type of band or more Metallica type of stuff or something else?
I guess that depends on the member. I would be more like Metallica. Jacoby would be more like Poison, I think, “laughs.”
Oh, he likes the softer side as well “laughs.”
Yeah. Poison was his favorite band for a while.
But I was fully into like Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax and stuff like that.
As you mentioned, you have gone through many musical-wise changes in every possible way, but you have been called a rap-metal band, nu-metal band and there’s more but in these days, what is the right term when I speak about your music?
It’s just rock; I mean, we have. I think we try and do many different styles. So I mean, you can’t really. Some more punk rock songs, some songs that are more, maybe classic rock, and some songs are more metal, I guess maybe. So it’s… we have little influences in there, but really it’s just rock.
What also happened during the last three years, you had that last line-up change when Tony (Palermo) joined the band, and Dave (Bruckner) was let go. How is your relationship with Dave these days, or is there any left?
It’s, yeah, it’s very occasional, you know, and it’s still weird. We don’t want it to be, but it’s like divorce, you know, so. We don’t hate each other, but we’re not friends; we don’t hang out.
Like you don’t hang with your ex-wife either. So he was let go, or did he leave by himself?
It was more let go. Yeah, I mean, I’d like to say that it was mutual, but it was more so the band could go on because he had problems.
Is Tony a permanent member now?
Yes. I mean, I think he’s earned it. He’s brought a lot to the band, and he brings a lot to the show, a lot more energy, and he fits really well with us so.
Did you know him from the past very well? He worked for you for years before he joined.
We did a tour with 311 and Unwritten Law, and I think it was in 2005, 2006. And we did that tour, and that’s when we became friends and then in 2007 that was when we sent Dave home, and he went to rehab and Tony came and filled in while we were still on tour and then we went off the road and came back, and Dave came with us, and everything was good, and then things happened, then Tony came in, and it’s been good.
Let’s talk a little bit about your new label, Eleven Seven Music. It’s best known being the current home of Motley Crue, Buckcherry, and Sixx A.M. How did you guys ended up in there?
Well, honestly, it’s run by the same company as our management. Our manager said, give me a chance, let me prove to you that this is where you want to be, so we did a very short deal. They’re very good at making plans and executing the plans. Still, when it came to working with Interscope and Geffen, it was tough to do much at all, so to have everything in one place seems like a good idea for us just because everybody is in the same place. If there are questions of whatever, ideas, it’s all there, and all we have to do is get on the phone and what we really like about it is that’s is a rock label. It’s not a pop label with some rock bands. And they’re very passionate about us and the record and to have that attention and the passion it feels so much better than before where if we have an idea we have to ask our manager to talk to somebody at the label and then they have to bring it to a meeting and talk about it. It’s just all this bureaucracy when it’s like it’s a band, you know.
That sounds really good.
A company, yeah, it’s just, it’s bringing everything back to the roots of where we were and where we just think about something and do it and not have to ask permission from people. It’s good. People would say that the music industry is failing, but I think the power is coming back to the artists and the fans, so I think it’s a good thing.
What kind of deal you have actually with Eleven Seven?
It’s just a two-album small deal, it’s like, they don’t have everybody in the house like a major label does, but they hire out to publicists, and there’s a, we still I think in Europe we have, I think we still have Universal distribution, so it’s like we’re still…
Well, if it’s still working as great as it did before….
Yeah, right. So that’s like we don’t really have a label over here, but that’s I guess probably one of the downsides is that they don’t have people everywhere, but it’s a two-album deal, and it’s, we’re just testing the waters and seeing, checking to see how it goes.
How is the ownership thing with older stuff at the moment because at one point, you didn’t own the rights for the older songs?
Universal still owns them, you know. I think after a period of time, we’ll be able to get them back.
But the deal will expire at some point?
Yeah, I think it’s like, I think in a couple of years we can re-record things if we want to, and then I think maybe 5 or 7 years we’ll get the masters back.
Is there also a time limit before you can re-record your old songs even?
That’s in two years.
So you can’t re-record your stuff, alright? That’s one thing that I’ve never heard that before.
I mean, I’ve talked to a few people who seem confused that the label owns the songs, but that’s how it is when you sign a deal to a major label; they own the songs.
DVD AND THE FUTURE
Okay, the next thing we have to talk about is your latest release, TIME FOR ANNIHILATION. It’s quite unusual to release an album with a couple of new songs mixed with live songs. What was the reason to do that?
Well, we originally just wanted to do a live album because we did a DVD. Still, we wanted to do, concentrate on the music and the audio part of it. We know that trying to put just a live album, a lot of people wouldn’t buy it really, so we just thought alright, we’d do a couple of songs and then decided let’s do five, it’s like an EP kind of, and we, we didn’t like it to be a full new album, we wanted it to be a live album. Still, then we said, alright, we’ll do these songs, and we just wanted it to be. We didn’t want to take as much time or money as it takes to make a full album, basically.
Okay, you mentioned EP. How many EPs have you released, actually, 8 or 9 completely? There are a couple of digital ones as well?
Yeah, that’s true—the acoustic ones and then some in iTunes only. But we did, we released a two-song EP a way back, and then a five song, two five song EPs, and then our full length was like ’97, I think. And then, that’s the way we used to do it. We would record a couple of songs, play some shows, try and make a little bit of money, go back to the studio.
Did you sell EP’s in the shows?
It’s a good idea to break a new band. When you’re building a fan base, you don’t have two years to make an album. It’s like you just got to play some shows, sell some shirts, get a little bit of money, put it together and take it to the studio, record a couple of songs and then do it again, it’s like, and that’s kind of. We don’t feel like we’re in that position where we’re always in a position where we have to start over for every album, we start over, and we introduce our band again. But I think for this one, we just wanted to do the live album and then kind of give people an idea of where we’re going to go for the next one.
I wondered, since the band has no re-born, do you have plans to update the DVD part? You mentioned that you were working on DVD, but it didn’t happen…
No, we did a DVD a while ago, but…
But that was already in 2005?
Yeah. But we probably want to find the right place and the right time, but I would like to get one done on this record. I don’t know, it’s one of those things where we have to… it has to be a headlining show so we can have as many songs as we want, but I’d like to do one on this album.
What about music videos. Is it so that the record label also owns the music videos you do for a given album?
I think they own, well we pay for half of it, so it’s like maybe like half ownership, but I think it’s the label owns, which I don’t understand because we pay for half of it, but I think, I don’t know if you were going to talk about it, but Universal just put out their own greatest hits.
Yeah, we have heard about it.
It was kind of; it really kind of pissed us off because they set the release date before ours. So we did all the work to set the record up and do all the publicity, and the music video and the single is out. All they were going to do is just put it out. They didn’t have to spend any money, and so the reason I say that is because I think they put music videos on the DVD as a bonus, but we actually told our fans not to buy it because it was creating confusion like people thought that that was our new record. So that was, it was just the label’s way to make the last little bit of money of ours.
That’s usually a big misunderstanding among fans that when a compilation comes out, some people always think, oh, that greedy f*****, they’re just trying to rip us off again. They think the band is putting it out instead of the record company.
Yeah, oh well, I can’t do anything about it.
Okay, maybe the last question…. After this European tour is done, will this tour come to the United States or other places?
No, it’s just here, and then we’ll have the holidays off, and then we start back up in March. We go to Canada with Buckcherry and then we’re going to South America with Motley Crue. I think it’s only for like 4 dates. But we haven’t been to South America in a long, long time. So we’re going to do that. And then I think there’s another US tour. We’re talking about the bands that we’re going to take. I’m not sure who it’s going to be yet.
So it sounds like you are working even more in the future with Eleven Seven label bands?
What about the next Papa Roach studio record, then?
I think we’re actually going to come back here for festivals in the summer and then probably after that be done and then go in and record a new one.
Alright, so it’s coming out in early 2012, maybe?
Alright, we are looking forward to that one. I think it was that was it. Thank you!
Okay, thank you.
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PICTURES FROM PAPA ROACH’S HELSINKI SHOW