Roach Infestation

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Bay Area rockers Papa Roach are back on their home turf on Friday with a show at the Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz.  The band’s music looks to be in fine form too, with new single “Getting Away with Murder” the most added cut to the play lists for Active Rock Radio, which includes some of the nation’s most influential rock stations.  This news bodes will for the August 31 release of the band’s new album, which bears the same title.

“Getting Away with Murder” is a continuation of the band’s return to a more straightforward rock sound, a move which began with 2002’s “lovehatetragedy.”  For the band, which was being stuck with the “rock-rap hybrid” label, the move back towards rock basics meant more musical freedom.  “Hip-hop and metal were two huge influences on our band,” said drummer David Buckner, “but being dubbed ‘rap-metal heroes’ put too many limits on us.  We also knew we wanted everything to sound organic so we could do all the songs live without someone hiding behind the stage playing along.”

Papa Roach was formed in 1993 in Vacaville by four high school friends, Jacoby Shaddix (vocals), Jerry Horton (guitar), Dave Buckner (drums) and Will James (bass).  The band’s name was inspired partially by “Papa Gato,” the title of a CD by famous conguero Poncho Sanchez, and partially by the notion that cockroaches would survive a nuclear war.  The two ideas sparked the imagination of Shaddix, whose grandfather’s last name was Roatch (and was known as Papa Roatch to his family), and Papa Roach the band, with its cockroach logo, was born.

One of the band’s earliest gigs was a school talent show, where Shaddix’s mother was said to overhear a judge mutter “I hope they don’t quit their day jobs.”  The young musicians’ skills soon improved, however, and soon they were playing at local clubs including San Jose’s Cactus Club, and drawing large crowds of young people who were attracted by the band’s energy and music.  In 1995, they recorded their first CD “Caca Bonita.”

By 1996, Papa Roach had replaced original bassist James with Tobin Esperance, hired a manager and were ready to record their first full-length CD.  “Old Friends from Young Years” was quickly noticed by local college radio stations (it was the most requested music at Cal State Sacramento’s station for five weeks) and the band played several CD release shows at local colleges.  The attendance at Papa Roach shows soon caught the attention of local promoters, who booked the band as opening act for larger, nationally known bands.

In 2000, Papa Roach’s major label debut “Infest” brought the band national recognition, triple-platinum sales and a smash hit single in the shape of “Last Resort.”  Appearances at Ozzfest and on Eminem’s Anger Management tour gave the band huge exposure to rock and hip-hop audiences respectively, and gained them credibility with both.  As a result, “lovehatetragedy,” the 2002 follow-up to “Infest,” debuted at number 2 in the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Almost constant touring has cemented Papa Roach’s reputation as one of the hottest bands around, and fans all over the world are eagerly anticipating the release of “Getting Away with Murder” at the end of the month.  If you can’t wait until then, catch a sneak preview of the band’s new material at the Catalyst show this Friday.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, August 5, 2004

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