Interviewed: August 13
By: Joseph Suto
Papa Roach released their seventh studio offering with The Connection which was released late last year. The band is still supporting the album as they are now stateside on The Carnival Of Madness tour. The band joined up with Shinedown, Skillet, In This Moment and We As Human in Canandaigua, NY last week. At the time of the interview fans were not sure of the status of singer Jacoby Shaddix as the band had cancelled a few South American dates. Well fans can rest easy as Jacoby is back and sounding just fine. We had a chance to talk to bassist Tobin Esperance recently who enlightened us on the bands future plans.
Rock Show Critique: Let’s start off by giving us the answer to the million dollar question, Will the band be playing on The Carnival Of Madness tour?
Tobin Esperance: Oh Yeah. We’re gonna be ripping it up this summer. We’re looking forward to it. We’re all ready to go. I got my flight booked, I’m leaving tomorrow night.
RSC: Where is your first show?
TE: We’re gonna be performing in upstate NY. We’ll be starting in New York and working our way across the country.
RSC: How Is Jacoby doing?
TE: Yeah he’s doing ok. He was on two weeks of vocal rest. He had his surgery last year. There was pretty serious damage done to his vocal chords. He took months off healing from the surgery. We just did a pretty grueling tour throughout Europe and Russia and what not. When we came home his voice was pretty beat up and the doctor said the calluses created a nasty mess on his vocal chords so he needed to get more vocal rest and possibly have more surgery. I think everything’s ok, he working on having the right technique to get through this grueling touring schedule we have.
RSC: It seems you guys are always on the road when you can be.
TE: Yeah we really are, if its not performing live every night for two hours then its doing interviews or an acoustic performance and stuff like that. We just have to kind of find ways to take the huge load off of Jacoby so that he’s not always go go go. Because you do have to rest. When your physical self is your instrument you really have to take better care and be aware of all that, because the show’s most important to us.
RSC: That being said do you have any plans following COM or are you playing it by ear?
TE: We plan on moving ahead as planned. We gonna go to Canada in October, Europe again in November and all of the UK as well and just ride out until the end of the year. We plan on making a new record at the very beginning of next year. So we’re still pushing forward as planned.
RSC: How has the material from The Connection been going over in concert?
TE: The new songs are going over great. Fans really love “Where Do The Angels Go” and “Before I Die” people are loving it, I think essentially the emotional quality of both songs and what we were going through as we were making them I feel people are definitely connected.
RSC: Tell us how you became involved with the band? I read somewhere you started off as a roadie for the band is that correct?
TE: No that’s been told in many stories. I hung out with the guys. Maybe I pushed a few speaker cabinets or whatever. But I never actually roadied or set anything up. I drank their beer (laughs) and I smoked all their smokes and I’d just hang out and watched them play. Sometimes their bass player couldn’t perform cause he had this church camp thing that he would have to go to in the summer. I would come in and fill in. Then one day he chose to do the church camp thing and the band had a tour playing going to LA or something. I was sixteen years old at that time. Then they said we need you to just be in the band and I’ve been in their ever since. It’s always my destiny to play music and to be in a band. I can’t think of anything else I ever wanted to do more than play music. That’s why I’m here.
RSC: On the day of the show what do you do to prepare? Do you do anything special?
TE: Nope I do whatever I feel like doing pretty much throughout the day. I like to get out and off the bus, sometimes I think it makes me crazy, and find a gym or something to go and workout or go for a run. Find some good food say what’s up to my fellow tour mates. Then really just try and relax and kill time. I bring a little portable recording studio out with me so that I can work on new ideas. Whether its new songs for a new record or something to kill time with. I watch movies, practice my instrument and what not. When it comes time for the show its really just stretching out and getting limber and maybe having a bottle of wine, or a couple shots, get pumped up and go do it.
RSC: When you were growing up who were your main influences?
TE: Well you know early on when we started this band it was the nineties and alternative music was happening and it was a real exciting time. It didn’t matter if you listened to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, or Nirvana, Pumpkins, Metallica. We were very much into punk rock and bands like Bad Religion, Fugazi and Helmet. Just as much we were into hip hop music like Wu-Tang Clan. Bands like Rage Against The Machine were big huge influences. Local bands that we were playing shows with at the time like Deftones and Far. They became big influences on us. Hardcore music from the east coast bands like Snapcase. You name it we were kind of infusing all this stuff we love. Like funk music we’d listen to James Brown and we thought it was the greatest thing to just dance around and be complete idiots to James Brown music. All those things just kind of made our sound.
RSC: Do you enjoy any artists from today’s modern music?
TE: There’s a lot of artists out there that are making unique sounds. The electronic music is kind of the more popular thing. It’s really hard to pick a certain artist because I don’t think they’ve maybe had the longevity yet. There’s a few really cool indie bands I check out. For the most part sometimes you just can’t help but go back and listen to some Zeppelin or Beatles or Jimi Hendrix or something like that because that’s kind of where it all started for all of us.
RSC: Where do you see yourself in five to ten years from now?
TE: You know that’s a good question. We’re gonna keep making Papa Roach music as long as we can and as long as we’re having fun. As long as we can still be there for our families and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. We did a pretty good job of doing it so far so I think we’re gonna try and keep it going as long as we can. At the same time you know try and experience some other creative outlet you know what I mean?
RSC: Like perhaps a solo album or another type of music situation?
TE: Yeah you never know. I think it would be good for any one of us to do. I think when your doing something, the same thing for so long, twenty years you got to find fresh and new creative ways to refresh and new. You got to think outside the box in order to get back in it.
RSC: Kind of like your latest album, how you refreshened up everything with the new album, its a real powerful record and I really enjoy it.
TE: Yeah well that’s good to hear man. We really consciously tried to do that. We never wanted to be a band that puts out a record that’s very predictable and it only has one dimension to it because that’s the kind of band that we are. We hope people understand that about us and like that. People see all the different layers that are there.
Papa Roach will be appearing at the Budweiser Summer Stage At Tags in Big Flats, NY on August 28 Click for Tickets