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Coby Dick a.k.a. Jacoby Shaddix: vocals
Dave Buckner: drums
Tobin Esperance: bass
Jerry Horton: guitar
Vacaville High's football field, January 1993, is where it all began. Jacoby Shaddix and David Buckner were both on the football team, but would spend more time talking about music then playing football. They were two confused 16 year-olds contemplating life after high school. Shaddix knew he wanted to be one of two things ... a rock-star, or a chef ... where as Buckner's talent was in his artwork.
There was a school talent show approaching and they decided to enter, so they hooked up with two other high school friends - Ben Luther, and Will James. Shaddix was originally going to play the clarinet in the band, but found he also had a strong vocal ability. Buckner was the drummer, James was the bassist, and Luther played the trombone.
The weeks leading up to the talent show were spent rehearsing in Buckner's garage, where they came out with two songs for the talent show - one being a cover of Jimmy Hendrix's classic, "Fire". They played this without a guitarist, but claimed that it was OK because their heroes "Faith No More" had also done the same. They entered the contest and were up against "Joey The Juggler" and a kid who sang a "barbershop quartet solo". In the crowd was Shaddix's mother, who heard a judge whisper "I hope they don't give up their day jobs". The band didn't win - but they didn't lose either - and they knew they sucked and had to put it right.
March of 1993 is when the REAL Papa Roach was born. They ousted Luther in favour of a guitarist - which came into the shape of Jerry Horton - who had heard about the band through an ex-girlfriend that was a fan. They then got talking, and one day Shaddix called up Horton and said "come over and jam with us dude!". They would practice everyday for up to five hours in Buckner's garage. They put themselves about and would play any show - they started performing at pizza parlours, coffee houses, beer keg college parties, and even once performed at a petrol station where James' mother worked.
Their first recording adventure came in 1994 when they hit "DB Studios" in Vacaville to record their first seven-track EP, "Potatoes For Christmas". All of the band appeared on the recording, besides Buckner, who went to college in Seattle for a year to study art. They had a stand-in drummer in the form of Ryan Brown, another high school friend, but this was only a temporary measure. They would sell the tapes for five dollars outside the venues where they played their gigs, in the fashion which the sale took place with Shaddix standing on top of their van with a loud speaker shouting "Papa Roach! What the f*ck, five dollars?".
A buzz was starting to spread across California about the band because they loved to play so much. They would travel all over Cali, in a van, to the venues where they would be playing support. These included The Cactus Club, The Berkeley, 3 Oaks Community Centre, The Troubador, The Edge, and The Crest. After relentless home-state touring, Papa Roach entered "Sound Farm Studios" in 1995 to record their two-track promo CD, "Caca Bonita". Sound Farm was a modest studio at most, sized no bigger than 30-feet-long by 30-feet-wide. With Buckner back on the drums, they did so and noticed the improvement since the previous year's effort.
The band knew they had something special and to have reached the next stage, they had to make some important decisions. They knew they needed a manager to help with booking venues, merchandise, and touring - so they hired Bret Bair in 1996. But with that hiring also came a departure, as they decided that their three-year standing member, Will James, had to go. He was heavily involved in a church summer camp, which prevented the band from practicing or playing shows over the summer. They did not have to look far for their new bassist because their roadie, Tobin Esperance, had played on stage with them before when James was not available. Esperance had been with the band as their roadie since 1993, and it was a surprise he lasted three years, because he never actually helped unload or load up the van with their equipment. Instead, he smoked all of their weed and drank all of their beer.
So with their newly acquired bassist in tow, they hit Pittsburgh's "ESP Studios" in 1996 to record their first full length album, "Old Friends From Young Years". The album was recorded for a mere 700 dollars and was funded by Tobin's father, Tony Esperance. Included on the LP were the college radio favourites "Orange Drive Palms" and "Liquid diet", as well as the drug influenced song, "829". This song was written the night after Shaddix took psychadelic mushrooms for the first time - he worked at an airforce hospital where he cleaned up blood, vomit, urine and faeces. On the 29th of August in 1996, he found a decapitated head in a freezer with all of the skin removed. Shortly after he took the mushrooms, he started to trip out and see visions of his estranged dad, crossed over with Jesus, as they both had beards and long hair. All of his friend's faces turned into dog's heads and he became a panicking mess. He called his mother in the middle of the night, as he knew she was strong, able to talk him through it, and calm him down. He vowed to never take them again.
Without any push from the band, the LP received massive airplay from small independent radio stations and college radios in Chico, San Jose, Davis, Sacramento and the Bay Area. To Papa Roach's surprise, they became number one in Sacramento's "Most Requested Playlist" for five consecutive weeks. Papa Roach celebrated the release of the LP with a CD-release show in February of 1997, at 3 Oaks Community Centre, which was attended by over 700 fans.
With Papa Roach's emerging popularity, they were being booked as support acts for more prominent and larger shows. And in March of 1997, they played main support to suicidal tendencies in front of a 1000-person sell-out in Sacramento.
They gigged steadily throughout 1997 and were playing up to 14 shows a month. They had headlined or supported many of today's up-and-coming acts - including Incubus, Will Haven, Powerman 5000, Static-X and hed(pe).
1998 saw another independently-financed EP, produced again at "Sound Farm Studios" in Vacaville, called "5 Tracks Deep". This EP had sold more than 1000 copies in it's first month and caught the attention of Warner Brothers, who in turn financed a demo for Papa Roach to record. They recorded five songs for the demo, including the hugely successful "Last Resort", "Broken Home" and "She Loves Me Not". Warner Brothers failed to sign the band, but this did not deter them from carrying on what they had already been so successful at. Also, it was their passion.
They went on to record another EP in 1999, at "Trakworx Studios" in California, which was produced by Justin Weis. "Let 'Em Know" was a clear example of the mature Papa Roach sound and was by far their best independent effort. Shortly after recording the EP, Shaddix received a call from DreamWorks Records, who offered them a recording contract. They felt vindicated to accept, as Warner Brothers had been less than complimentary about the demo.
So in October of 1999, the band got to quit their day jobs and sign on the dotted line. They celebrated with a party and had a cake with the DreamWorks logo on the top. The next step was to record their first major-label record, and they wasted no time as they hit "NRG Studios" in North Hollywood to record what would become the triple-platinum selling LP, "Infest". The album, produced by Jay Baumgardner, included four re-recorded old songs, and seven new songs. They explained to Baumgardner that they wanted the album to catch their live feel and all the emotions released within the live show - they were ecstatic with the result.
Prior to the release of Infest, they had to record their first video for their first release single, "Last Resort". At first they chose a theme of "dark" and "suicidal" but decided against it and wanted to include the fans in the video. So they put up a message on their website requesting the help of 500 kids for their promo clip and, in the end, had to turn more than 200 kids away.
Infest was released on April 25th, 2000, and sold 30,000 copies in the first week of it's release. The album was supported by a spot on the Vans Warped Tour in July of that year, a tour in which they received massive acclaim despite not really being a punk band.
The boys continued touring, and toured the UK in October of 2000 where they brought the streets of London to a stand-still when they were mobbed by fans. They kept up their tight work ethic and visited the UK once again in January of 2001 to yet again a massive response.
Later that year, the band agreed they made a crucial mistake by jumping on the Ozzfest tour, because it wasn't designed for a band of their calibre - the ampitheatres were concrete, the sound was zapped, and the fans were forced hundreds of feet back. This tour resulted in the band wanting to go home when Shaddix was attacked with a knife at a train station in Copenhagen. He ran out of the station crying and ran all the way to his hotel where they made the decision to take time out and go home.
The band took two weeks off and decided that this is what they were born to do and to throw it away would be a huge mistake. They returned to the UK and played the Glasgow festivals "Leeds" and "Reading", where found they had re-affirmed their belief in their music and had made the right decision. Although the Ozzfest tour nearly split the band apart, it was not all bad as they had a studio with them on this tour in the back of their second tour bus. It was in this bus that the birth of their second major-label album would take place.
In September of 2001, the band flew out to do some shows in Japan and then headed home. After a month off of recouperating, and Shaddix's appearance on MTV's "Cribs", they hit the studio once again. December of 2001 saw Papa Roach work with Brendan O'Brien at "Royaltone Studios" in Los Angeles. They had a great deal of the album already written, including the remake of "Walking Thru Barbed Wire" - a song that first appeared on their 1999 EP, "Let 'Em Know".
They spent 60 days in the studio - but it could have been longer - as during the recording of the second major-label record, their apartments were broken into and Buckner's laptop was stolen, which contained a lot of intro music and further undeveloped ideas.
After the recording, they headed to "Southern Tracks" in Atlanta, Georgia to mix the record. And by February of 2002, they had completed "lovehatetragedy". The first song to be released from the album was 1998's "She Loves Me Not" and when Shaddix was questioned for the reasoning behind this release, he stated "the song survived the test of time".
With some warm-up shows in May they played Chico, Modesto, Petuluma, and Vacaville, in their bid to get back on the road. Their debut track was released on June 10th of 2002 and hit number 14 in the UK charts. The following week, "lovehatetragedy" was released and hit number four in the UK charts. Prior to the release of "lovehatetragedy", Papa Roach decided to hit the UK for a couple of shows. Most notibly at the Mean Fiddler in London to some 800 fans, followed by a Radio 1 live evening session the next night.
Papa Roach celebrated the release of their second major-label album with a CD-release show at the Memorial Theatre in Sacramento. The show was attended by over 1000 fans and also hosted a free aftershow party.
Papa Roach then went on the Anger Management tour in America, flying the flag of rock as every other artist on the bill was either a rapper or a hip-hop artist. After that, they launched a full-scale European tour, which finished up in London on the 7th of November in 2002.
"lovehatetragedy" has sold over 500,000 copies in America since it's release, which certifies "Gold" status. We can only wait to see what happens next.