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Interview with Papa Roach lead guitarist Jerry Horton

When I was 11-years-old I saw this video for a song called “Last Resort”, it was by a band called Papa Roach and was one of my first memories of loving any form of rock music. Little did I know that this would set me on the path to where I am now. Since then the band has come along way and so have I. I recently had the chance to sit down…



When I was 11-years-old I saw this video for a song called “Last Resort”, it was by a band called Papa Roach and was one of my first memories of loving any form of rock music. Little did I know that this would set me on the path to where I am now. Since then the band has come along way and so have I. I recently had the chance to sit down with Jerry Horton and discuss their new album, fans and touring. Check out how my interview with one of the most inspirational bands in my life went down, and although it had to be cut short it was a milestone for me, and Ryan from UMG did apologize as you’ll see.

It’s 11 more days until the drop of the new album, stoked?
Jerry: Stoked? We’ve been touring for like, it’ll be 9 months coming up here before the record comes out so we’re like, kind of, well pretty anxious. Like normally we’re a little nervous but now we’ve just been, you know, touring on it for so long that we just want it come out and want everybody to hear it so.

[laughs] Awesome! Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Jerry: Oh! I would say, if I had to pick, it’d probably be, the 2nd to last song on the record called “Nights of Love”.

“Nights of Love”?
Jerry: Yeah.

So you’d recommend this one to your fans, are there any other ones that stick out?
Jerry: They all pretty much stick out from each other pretty much, just because of the way it’s sequenced. But, the reason I like that one is a lot of it comes from how it came about. It was just kind of like a jam that we did that we didn’t really intend on becoming a song, then towards the end, Jacoby was listening to it, you know, a coupe of times and he said, you know, said to himself, it’s too good of a vibe to let it go so he wrote some lyrics and some vocals and it came out really, really good so…

Sounds awesome! Well, “Lifeline” is an awesome video and wicked song at that, what was the inspiration behind the video and the song?
Jerry: Well, the song it pretty much comes from, you know, this, to kind of back up, this record is a little different in a way that’s it’s more kind of outward and, you know, pertains to what is going on in the world, as oppose to… What Jacoby normally did, was write about himself and you know, his experiences or whatever. You know, it kind of sparked from you know, our home town, Sacramento, it was kind of the first area to be hit with the whole mortgage crisis in the U.S. and the start of the economic downturn in the states and it was pretty evident that, you know, something serious was about to happen and you know it kind of reminded him of how, ‘cause you know when he was young his family was essentially homeless, you know he grew up in different places here and there. And so, you know, he wanted to write a song that connected with people and that let people have some sort of connection with him and to give them some hope, you know and give them a little bit of hope. The video kind of reflects that whole idea basically, yeah.

Alright, cool. Well at the end of the video there’s a quote by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The quote is “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” A powerful statement in many ways from a once powerful man, what does this quote mean to you?
Jerry: Really, to me, it’s just about your mindset and you’re either gonna kind of consider yourself a victim or not, you know, you’re gonna have to motivate yourself to get out of any situation that you’re in. Basically, if it’s a bad situation you have to motivate yourself because you’re the only one that’s going to do it.

Cool, so why did you guys choose to include it in the video?
Jerry: Really, as sort of a summary to what the song is about, trying to, just giving people hope if they need it and, you know, just to tell people, “You don’t have to be a prisoner of your situation.”

Intense man. You clearly don’t have one defined sound; how do you manage to keep your sound new, fresh and different?
Jerry: Since we started in ’93 we’ve kind of evolved through every record or every recording that we’ve done. It’s kind of like we get a little bit bored with like what we’re doing and sort of, it’s just a part of growing as people and as musicians and, you know, as you get older or, you know, as you are exposed to more things your tastes change so you know, we kind of, you know, we know what we like to hear and kind of what we’re about but we just like to change things up and explore and we don’t put any boundaries on ourselves and that coupled with, you know, Jacoby and his lyrics it just kind of, it’s sort of a vehicle for us to connect with people and you know, really what we’re about is the live show so doing that kind of, gets us looking forward to the show and getting in front of people and connecting and the energy exchange and all that so…

Cool, cool. So after a quick YouTube search I found a bunch of student project videos and a bunch of fans doing covers of your bands’ hits, what goes through your mind when you see people posting these kinds of videos?
Jerry: It’s funny you say that, I was actually doing that an hour ago.

[laughs] Really?
Jerry: Yeah, just to see, you know, kind of; I mean it’s cool that people are doing that ‘cause you know, it means they like the song or you know, whatever and it’s something that, I mean, I didn’t post videos on YouTube but that’s what I would do. I would just sit in my room and try to learn songs and stuff and it’s cool to see that you know, it’s sort of like a, it’s a community kind of thing like, “I like this band, I’m gonna learn the song, check it out.” You know? It’s definitely cool.

So it just brings you back sort of?
Jerry: Yeah it kind of takes me back to when I started playing guitar and you know obviously not all the kids that are doing it are like super technical. There are some that are more technical then I am, you know, but these are like prodigy kids you know but really it’s just cool to see people taking the time and the energy to do it and seeing that they get off on it.

Yeah and there’s the fact that it’s your song right?
Jerry: Yeah!

It must be quite the ego boost! After tonight, you guys have some extensive global touring with only a few days off and the month of May off. How do you do it?
Jerry: You know, we’ve been touring on a major, like, scale for almost 10 years and you know it’s really, this record we’ve not done the amount of set up, you know, the amount of touring before the record comes out but really, you know, the show is what we look forward to every day, that keeps us going. And you know, we’re not jaded, we’re not like “I’m over it!” We have fun on tour, you know, the fact that we get in front of people and do the energy exchange and also the fact that we’re getting to other places we’re getting back to places in the world we haven’t been to in a long time. And we’re gonna be kind of cultivating new places to play and you know, it does become a little tiring but, you know, we have that kind of end in sight to where, you know, every band does a world tour and you know, it’s kind of like one of those situations where, you know, you can rest when you’re dead, you know, it’s like, we gotta do it while we can basically.

So I heard you guys have a pretty intense live set, how do you manage to stay on top of your game for every show?
Jerry: It’s kind of a, well, you know, the crowd gets us pumped up, you know, it’s a case where we, like I said before, it’s what we love to do, and we want to put on a show for people and the more we give the more they give back and you know, at the end of the night it makes us tired so we can sleep, it’s just an awesome feeling it’s just, I don’t do any drugs per se, but that’s my drug, basically!

Okay, cool. I have so many questions and yet so little time but uh…
Ryan Sheppard: Sorry! [Ryan had to cut the interview short here]

No worries, it’s not even that, but I digress, do you have any final words for your fans?
Jerry: For the fans that have stuck around, thank you; And for those who haven’t seen us, you have to come see us ‘cause it’s more then coming to see a band play, it’s an experience!

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