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Revitalized Papa Roach comes back strong

March 30, 2005 - Third albums often are considered the record that proves whether a band or solo artist has the depth, versatility and creativity to be a career act and not just one that fades after a few early hits.

For Papa Roach, there was the extra pressure of knowing its second CD, "Lovehate-tragedy," had been nowhere near as successful as the group's 2000 major-label debut, "Infest." Where the debut sold more than 3 million copies, "Lovehatetragedy" topped out at about 700,000.

Singer Jacoby Shaddix didn't shy away from acknowledging that a sense of pressure surrounded the band's recently released third CD, "Getting Away With Murder."

"We knew that this was an important record, so we really just took our time on it," he said.

That was a strong contrast from "Love-hatetragedy," which was made with the sense of urgency bands often feel for maintaining the momentum of a hit album by finishing the next CD quickly.

"'Lovehatetragedy,' we wrote a lot of that on the road, and it really like expressed where the band was at mentally and musically," Shaddix recalled. "That was like, I would say, a really dark time for us be-cause we just went through a lot of crazy (stuff) when we were touring on 'Infest.'

"There were moments where we were ready to ... kill each other. Writing music brought us back together, but I think that it was a little scattered. I love the record. I love 'Lovehatetragedy,' but I think when we came back to do 'Getting Away With Murder,' we were like let's take a new approach,'' he added.

That approach started with the band members taking time off to tend to their personal lives.

"We did that, and then we started to get together and just write music," Shaddix said. "Sometimes we'd just get together at Dave's house, our drummer (Dave Buck-ner), and talk about rock 'n' roll, talk about life, talk about where we wanted to head and what our goals were as a band, what our goals were for this record musically, what did we want to achieve sonically in the studio and really just have a group consensus on where we were headed. And it just seemed to work out to when we started jamming, everything just started to fit."

Before recording could begin, though, Shaddix had one last matter to resolve — his addiction to alcohol.

His drinking habit had taken him into a dark place personally and it had begun to affect those around him, according to Shaddix.

"People on the road with me and stuff, they didn't know which Jacoby they were going to run into," he said. "I was very erratic and very reckless and I kind of got into self-mutilation for awhile, just doing some really sick (stuff). It's like I just came home and looked in the mirror and I didn't know that person anymore.

"So I did it," he said. "I kicked the bottle and it really helped me fall in love with rock 'n' roll again, and my relationships with my family and my friends and my band and myself personally just grew in so many positive ways ... It just opened up this whole new thought process in my life, and just the way that I approach everyday living."

The resulting album finds Papa Roach sounding better than ever and taking its music in its most melodic direction without foregoing their familiar hard rocking edge.

One of 2004's best hard-rock efforts, "Getting Away With Murder" starts out on full tilt, with "Blood," "Not Listening" and "Stop Looking Start Seeing" — three fervent rockers in which the band's energy is matched by heavy duty hooks.

After that kinetic start, the band members keep the momentum strong even as they diversify their attack, mixing strong mid-tempo tracks such as "Scars" — recently a No. 5 hit at modern rock and mainstream rock radio — "Sometimes" and "Getting Away With Murder" — the CD's multi-format hit — with high-intensity songs like the AC/DC-ish "Be Free" and the seething "Done With You."

Fans will see a new and improved Papa Roach on tour this spring. Shaddix said he's in better physical shape and able to sing much better night to night, the band members have grown closer both personally and as a musical unit.

"We've been getting encores every night," he said. People have been like: 'You can't leave the stage yet.' The crowds are like: 'We're not done with you, P-Roach.' So that's been kind of cool too, doing the encores, because we've never done those before."

Papa Roach headlines an April 4 show at the Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show cost $17.50.

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