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Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix Talks about His Suicide Battle, Substance Abuse, and New CD

Jacoby Shaddix 2013 ~ photo courtesy

Jacoby Shaddix 2013 ~ photo courtesy

The recording process for Papa Roach’s new album was dark and heavy: Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix’s substance abuse had spun out of control, he’d split from his wife of more than a decade and had contemplated taking his own life.

“There was a moment in the record where I was suicidal,” Shaddix, 36, said [in a recent interview]. “I was done. I’m like, ‘I’m over this. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t take this pain anymore. Like, I feel so alone and broken and just shattered.’

“Like, everything that I had worked for in my life and said that I wasn’t going to be, I don’t want to be like my father – what happens? I’m like this drunk, [mess]-up that destroyed his family. I did it. I’m sitting there like, ‘I did everything I said I’d never do.’”

Shaddix, the frontman for Papa Roach, was close to his breaking point. He said producer James Michael encouraged him to record material for the rock band’s new album.

He fretted at first but decided to give it a try.

The Connection, Papa Roach’s 7th album, features songs about Shaddix’s tumultuous and scariest moments.

“This record is a snapshot of me at my most desperate and broken,” he said.

Papa Roach, which includes Jerry Horton, Tobin Esperance and Tony Palermo, is best known for the hits “Scars” and “Last Resort.” They recorded the new album in a self-built studio in Sacramento, Calif., and it’s their first release on the independent label Eleven Seven Music.

The band’s 2012 tour was canceled after Shaddix had surgery to remove a nodule on his left vocal cord.

He said the vocal cord now “feels good,” and anyone who’s seen the band perform this year knows that Jacoby’s voice is back in fine form.

AP: It seems like there was a lot going on while you were recording the new album.Papa roach Connection

Shaddix: Me personally, I’ve got substance abuse issues, I got issues period, but substance issues … it had its clutches in me again. You know, I went out on the last record and I was trying to kid myself and act like I can party like other people and I just can’t. It starts out fun and then it’s fun with problems and then it’s just all problems. … I was just a wreck and I was in total denial. … My brother came down to the studio … and he’s like, ‘I used to look up to you, man. Like, what happened? What happened to my older brother? Like I used to idolize you. Now look at you.’ … That was a hard pill to swallow. … The next day I woke up, I’m like, ‘I’m on a new path. I’m cleaning my act up. I’m kicking the booze and the pills and the weed and everything.’

AP: How did your substance abuse issues affect your family and music?

Shaddix: … My wife of 14 years, we split up and I was just totally gutted. I lost it. I snapped. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know up from down. … I was just an emotional wreck, couldn’t do nothing, man. I was just paralyzed emotionally. Musically, I was just stunned. I didn’t even want to work on the record. I was just like, ‘I just can’t do this.’ My producer’s like, ‘The best thing you do right now is write about exactly what’s going on, just tell it and be 100 percent completely honest about what’s going on in your life.’

AP: What were you feeling?

Shaddix: I’ll tell you this about when you’re in that moment and you feel like you want to end it all … you do not think rationally, you don’t think straight. Your emotions, you are just so caught up in the pain. … And luckily I just had these moments of clarity at night or I just thought about what would happen. What would it be like? My family’s life and my band’s life, what would their lives be like if I wasn’t here? It’s terrible. Like, I ran that story in my head and I’m like, ‘Why would I do something so selfish?’ It’s a terrible thing and I hate to like really admit that’s where I was, but that’s where I was.

AP: How did your bandmates respond?

Papa Roach, photo courtesy

Papa Roach, photo courtesy

Shaddix: They’re just some good people. Watching me just crumble and trying to be there for me.

AP: What did you learn from that experience?

Shaddix: It truly taught me to live moment to moment. That’s kind of the lesson I learned from all of that pain I was living through. But now that I’ve come out on the other side of this thing, working my family out, me and my wife are working things out, we just celebrated 15 years of marriage, you know, that good stuff. It makes me just, it might sound corny, but I’m just grateful for the little things in my life. I really am.


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May 4, Rebellion, Charlotte, NC

May 10, Lazerfest, Boone, IA

May 18, Rock on the Range, Columbus, OH

May 24, Rocklahoma, Pryor, OK

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Courtesy Associated PressVery special thanks to Eleven Seven Music.