By Carla Meyer
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On the road most of the past decade, Papa Roach singer Jacoby Shaddix and guitarist Jerry Horton try to make the moments count when they come home to the Sacramento area — whether that means family or philanthropy.
When Horton, 34, returns home, he might take a bicycle ride along the American River trail with his 3-year-old daughter in tow in her trailer. They also might listen to a little Norah Jones.
The hard-rock guitarist and his little girl share a fondness for the mellow songstress, and together they will isolate sounds on Jones' tracks, such as a funky trombone.
"The cool thing is that I am getting to sort of explore music again with my daughter, and, you know, really pay attention to things because she is picking things out," Horton says by telephone before a concert in Detroit.
Shaddix, 33, a self- described "proud family man" like Horton, nonetheless shies away from talking about his personal life. But he'll gladly discuss his efforts on behalf of the larger Sacramento community.
Papa Roach's 2009 album "Metamorphosis" reflects the recession's impact on the foothill town where Shaddix lives — again, no specifics — and the video for the single "Lifeline" addresses the impact of today's economic woes on a family.
"We saw this swell of desperation going on in our community while we were making the record — foreclosure sign after foreclosure sign," Shaddix says from Detroit.
The economic crisis also inspired Shaddix to contact Sacramento homeless resource Loaves & Fishes.
"I think it is definitely an important thing to look out for our fellow citizens of America who are down and out," Shaddix says. The singer served meals at Loaves & Fishes, encountering fans of his band in the process.
"There were a lot of younger folks that were like, 'I saw you guys in Las Vegas,' or 'I bought your first record, and it made me want to learn the guitar,'" Shaddix recalls.
"Jacoby was wonderful," Loaves & Fishes executive director Sister Libby Fernandez says of Shaddix, who later joined a march by homeless advocates. "He is an absolutely fantastic supporter, and a good voice, not just for Sacramento but for all the United States."
Formed in 1993, Papa Roach always has seemed more in touch with its feelings than some other hard-rock, party-on bands. The band's most famous songs, from the suicide-themed "Last Resort" to the ballad "Scars," tend to tug at fans' emotions.
"Fortunately, we have been able to make music that just resonates with people, from (fans) just wanting to rock out and have a good time to people really digging deep and connecting with the lyrics and message," Shaddix says.
The band's current single, "I Almost Told You That I Loved You," falls more into the rock-out category, with its Motley Crue-esque, Sunset Strip-raunchy riffs and an attendant video that hinges on that ol' standby: ladies kissing.
The combination of rip-roaring music and emotional content — along with constant touring in the United States and Europe — has kept Papa Roach on a major label for a decade and helped sustain the band after the exit of founding drummer David Buckner in late 2007.
"It is fine, everything is cool," says Shaddix of the band's relationship with Buckner, whose 2008 lawsuit against the band since has been settled. "I mean, come on, we played rock 'n' roll together for 15 years of our lives. (He's) like a brother, you know, and when you break up with somebody, you kind of want a little space for a while. ... I'm just glad to hear he's playing music again."
Neither Shaddix nor Buckner, reached by telephone, would comment on the reasons for the split.
"The whole thing is done and dusted," Buckner says.
A proud father himself of a 3-month-old son with his fiancee, Amber Upchurch, the Sacramento-based Buckner, 33, has formed a band called Daylight Division with guitarist Marcos Curiel (P.O.D.), bassist Joe Loeffler (Chevelle) and vocalist Lukas Rossi, winner of the CBS talent competition "Rock Star: Supernova."
"Life could not be better for me at this point," Buckner says.
For Shaddix, Horton and Papa Roach bassist Tobin Esperance, Buckner's exit meant not just losing a longtime friend but a musician who had helped establish the band's sound. But new drummer Tony Palermo, formerly of the punk band Pulley, has adapted well, Horton says.
"We told him, 'Go listen to Led Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine and stuff that focuses on groove,' and he's gotten it," Horton says. "He knows where to throw stuff in and where to lay back."
The title "Metamorphosis" reflects the shift in lineup, Shaddix says, as well as the musical progress of the band, which has grown more polished with every release.
"The band has always been about evolution, and this record definitely is a statement to that," Shaddix says.
"Metamorphosis" debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard chart in March but has sold 149,000 units so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan — numbers that aren't yet on a par with Papa Roach albums that went gold and platinum.
Shaddix says that as much as he loves hit records, he isn't expecting the kinds of sales the band experienced earlier in the decade. With sales in decline in general, "career bands" such as Papa Roach focus more on touring, he says.
"I didn't join a band to sell plastic, to be completely honest," Shaddix says. "It is almost like our music is the invitation to the rock show. ... That is what is beautiful about rock 'n' roll: It's tangible, and it's about the experience."
(c) 2009, The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.).
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