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Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)
When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye
- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins
MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
For a larger image click on the photograph.
Coby Dick, vocals
Jerry Horton, guitar
Tobin Esperance, bass
Dave Buckner, drums
"I'm super-flamboyant, super-happy and super-pissed-off," understates Papa Roach frontman Coby Dick. "I'm off the hook at shows. I've done stupid things where our lawyer was going, 'You can't be doing that!' but I've also hugged a million kids. How Nirvana was when they came out - that new edge of giving kids a release for their emotions - that's how I hope people connect with Papa Roach's music. I want to cause every emotion in people. I want them to fight, to fuck; I want to bring out their violence, their sadness, their happiness."
Singer-songwriter Dick, guitarist Jerry Horton, bassist Tobin Esperance and drummer Dave Buckner achieve Dick's estimable goals with Infest (released April 25, 2000, on DreamWorks Records). Produced by Jay Baumgardner (who's worked with Coal Chamber and System Of A Down), Papa Roach's major label debut "is about dealing with everyday struggle," according to Dick, whose lyrics for songs like "Broken Home," "Never Enough," "Binge," "Thrown Away" and "Last Resort," Infest's first radio track, are intensely personal and darkly seductive.
Inspired by everything from divorce ("Broken Home"), struggles with alcohol ("Binge"), Attention Deficit Disorder ("Thrown Away") and suicide ("Last Resort"), Dick tends to write in the first person. "I deal a lot with the line between good and evil. And I tiptoe down that line myself," he confesses. "I have a side that's responsible, a part that knows right from wrong, and I have my punk-rock, 'fuck everything' side."
Says Horton of the band's sound: "We lean more towards hip-hop, punk and funk, and we also have a rock influence, but we're not really rap-core. The songs have a pop structure, and they're very melodic, with a lot of layers and orchestration." For his part, Dick listens to hardcore bands, digs underground hip-hop, played clarinet in his high school's prize-winning wind ensemble and names Faith No More's Mike Patton as one of his biggest influences.
Press raves, too, bear out Papa Roach's diverse approach. Las Vegas City Life praised the quartet for its "surprising moments of vulnerability and sensitivity in its cathartic opera-core, [Dick] sounding almost pleading in the world-weary voice of youth betrayed"; the publication also informed, "Papa Roach stakes out its own territory" (May 20, 1999). Sacramento's News and Review, meanwhile, voted the band "most likely to show up Rage Against The Machine at their own gig" (June 3, 1999), and the San Jose Mercury News commended the foursome's "sheer urban grit" and Dick's "randy, alluring and apocalyptic" vocals (Aug. 5, 1999).
Not bad for a kid who began "playing" music in his garage with "garbage cans and baseball bats" (and who later moved out while still in high school and began working at an airforce base hospital to support himself). Growing up in the Northern California town of Vacaville - for the moment best known as the onion capital of the world - P-Roach, as their legion of fans call them, formed in high school (Horton did not attend school with the others; he met them via an ex-girlfriend who was a P-Roach fan.)
At the teens' first gig, a 1993 school talent show, Dick's mom overheard a judge mutter, "I hope they don't quit their day jobs." The band improved by leaps and bounds, however, and was soon selling out 300- to 500-seat venues (some of which would have required fake IDs had the band members been patrons). Despite their youth, the members of Papa Roach brought a wealth of experience to their developing sound.
Buckner, a Los Angeles native whose first instrument was violin, was taking drum lessons from a 70-year-old female jazz drummer by the time he reached junior high. He quickly made first chair in concert band but shortly thereafter got his first drum kit (for Christmas) and proclaimed: "I'm sick of this school band crap - I wanna play rock 'n' roll!" His next move? "I sat down with [Led Zeppelin's] Physical Graffiti and a set of headphones and went to work." He says of his influences: "I remember being three years old and listening to [Pink Floyd's] The Wall on car rides with my mom. Later I would kick it at my aunt and uncle's with Suicidal Tendencies and Metallica on vinyl. My friends in grade school got me into Run-DMC and The Beastie Boys, and junior high was all about classic rock. In high school, I was into a whole range of stuff, from John Coltrane to Fugazi. That's when I discovered all the great and beautiful music that isn't part of the mainstream. I've kept my mind open ever since then.
Esperance - who joined P-Roach at 13 - grew up watching his dad play bass. "He got me my first bass when I was 10," he recalls. His fingers blistered from the heavy bottom end he provides P-Roach, Esperance continues: "I had friends who were into jazz and reggae, and I took those and lumped them together. My mom and I would listen to the same jazz music, or the Doors, or Duke Ellington. Then I had my punk rock and heavy metal." He confirms that Papa Roach's music takes a similarly melting-pot tack, commenting: "People put us in the rap-rock category. I don't care what they call us, but we definitely do it differently from anyone out there right now."
Horton initially picked up guitar because he wanted to learn Metallica songs. When he joined the P-Roach lineup, he says, "they were more into punk and funk and I was more into metal and industrial, but our styles fit well, and I meshed with their vibe right away." Horton, especially, got to flex his musical muscle on Infest, creating (with Baumgardner) a guitar tone that is his alone: "We used modified amps for a bigger and beefier sound. We used vintage pedals and I used a delay, an old chorus pedal and an old phaser. I also used a hyper-fuzz pedal. It fills in spaces and really separates my sound from the rest of the world."
Though Infest is Papa Roach's major-leagues bow, the band has been spewing music to the masses via CD for several years. Their first recording adventure was 1995's Caca Bonita, which was followed in 1997 by Old Friends >From Young Years. "That's what the future is," Dick says of the title. "We wanna have longevity, and by putting that idea into the cosmos - it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy." Two more independent CDs, also issued on the band's Onion Hardcore Recordings, built on the momentum: 1998's 5 Tracks Deep (which featured the song "Revenge" [formerly "Revenge In Japanese"], heard on an episode of MTV's "Road Rules") and 1999's Let 'Em Know.
Cranking these out at a steady pace did not keep P-Roach from the stage, however. On the contrary, the band gigged steadily all over California - sometimes mounting as many as 14 shows a month - with acts like Kid Rock, Static-X, Incubus, Bad Brains and other such compadres on The Warped Tour. One of the questions most frequently aimed at the band concerns their moniker. It seems Buckner had a CD by jazz musician Pancho Sanchez called Papa Gato. The title struck a chord with Dick, whose grandfather's last name was Roatch - he was "Papa Roatch" to his family. Still, according to Dick: "For the longest time, it's had nothing to do with my grandpa. We drew up this cockroach logo because we wanted to avoid the weed thing. Weed's okay, but it's not what we're about; we're kinda like the cockroach that can survive anything - we're a tough, warrior-soldier band. We get out there and put the work in."
The band also takes pride in their familial orientation. "We're a team," Dick insists. "Some bands are like, 'We just fired our guitar player.' We don't do that shit; we don't fire people. We're family - you get booted out!" Esperance concurs: "We get along better than most any other band in the world. If you were to hang out with us, you'd wonder what the hell was wrong with us. We're constantly laughing, then getting in arguments, telling each other to fuck off, then we're best friends again the next minute. We can't really agree on a whole lot, except the music and the band. We're real different people, but P-Roach is where we come together."
And come together they do, especially in a live setting. They're pretty good at getting the audience to join together with the band: At any given show, the fans are onstage and airborne nearly as much as Papa Roach. The four-piece has incited this mania over and over, headlining major clubs from San Francisco to Los Angeles, playing more than 400 shows since 1993. Despite such seasoning, Infest represents the beginning of this young band's journey. As the title track promises, these Roachs are "coming to infest." Those who prefer enlightenment to escapism will surely want to invest. "Pop music like Britney Spears is existence in the dark," Dick argues. "It's candy. I don't want to escape reality - I want to go deeper into it."
Caca Bonita, Onion Hardcore, 1995.
Old Friends From Young Years, Onion Hardcore, 1997.
5 Tracks Deep, Onion Hardcore, 1998.
Let 'Em Know, Onion Hardcore, 1999.
Infest, DreamWorks, 2000.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
The Mitch Schneider Organization
Kristine Ashton: (818) 380-0400, ext. 233
Maggie Wang: (818) 380-0400, ext. 231
FAX: (818) 380-0430
Bryn Bridenthal: (310) 234-7903
Curt Burich: (310) 234-7904
FAX: (310) 234-7950
PAPA ROACH HOME PAGE. http://www.paparoach.com
DREAMWORKS RECORDS HOME PAGE: http://www.dreamworksrecords.com