Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix has been to hell and back lately, and his problems still aren’t over. After the near-dissolution of his 15-year marriage and a battle with suicidal depression, the singer is now clean and sober, working things out with his wife and preparing the band’s forthcoming album, The Connection.
However, now Shaddix has health problems to contend with. Like John Mayer and Adele before him, the singer has a node on his vocal cords that will require surgery and force him to be silent for two months. He will be forbidden from even talking. As a result, Papa Roach was forced pull out as headliners of the Uproar Tour.
Shaddix talked to Rolling Stone a few hours before an appointment with his doctor to discuss Papa Roach’s new album, his road to health and how Adele’s comeback performance at the Grammys is a source of inspiration.
What is wrong with your throat?
It’s called a nodule, otherwise known as a node, and it sits on the vocal cord. It’s pretty much like a callus that you get on your hand, but it’s like a callus on your vocal cord, so it affects my speaking voice, my singing voice.
I first noticed it towards the end of recording of our new record. At the end of the day, I was super hoarse and then the next day, I’d wake up all backed up and I could barely talk. We were in the studio until a few days before we went out on the road and that’s when it put a nail in it. We went and did this run in June and I was like, “Fuck, what’s going on with my voice? I’m not smoking cigarettes, I’m not fucking partying, I’m fucking the healthiest I’ve been and this pops up.” I’m all freaked out.
Was it the combination of everything that caused the problem?
All the stresses in your life, whether they be emotional, physical, sleep deprivation or just overuse. I got clean and sober and I was getting my life together, [then] me and my wife split up and that just flipped my whole entire world upside down. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating, I was wigging out. And all the while I was sober going through this shit… and I was singing six, seven hours a day. That by itself can cause the issue that I have.
Did you see the Adele comeback on the Grammys?
Oh yeah, somebody told me about that yesterday and I went and watched it as soon as I landed in L.A. Let me see this woman kill it, let me see that this woman’s still got it and add that to the category of, “This shit is gonna work out.” And, dude, did that woman just come back on fire.
This record was so personal. Talk about the writing process.
[When] I came into the record, I was a fucking mess… I didn’t want to write about what I was going through but the only way I found some comfort and peace is when I started to write and sing about it. I would get up in the morning and be like, “I wanna die.” Then I would go to the studio and kill the hours just by being creative. To me, this was the most fearless record as far as my experience because it was tragedy in real time, right there on the microphone. And then lo and behold, towards the end of making the record, my wife wants to work it out… We just celebrated 15 years married and it’s crazy how that shit works out.
On the other side of the record, there’s always that light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a song called “Won’t Let Up” and the lyric in it, “Sometimes you gotta lose everything to find out what you don’t want to leave behind.” And it was just that realization I needed to go through all this shit. I think it’s the record of our career.