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Papa Roach: A Year On The Road, Festivals And Rocking The Boat

Monday, 16 December 2013 Written by Heather McDaid

This year, Papa Roach have been firmly in their element: on the road. When we caught up with guitarist Jerry Horton prior to their recent Glasgow show, just one date of a tour that would culminate with a headline slot at Brixton Academy, the band were midway through bringing ‘The Connection’, their electronica-tinged new record, to the masses.

‘The Connection’ is the band’s seventh full length and arrived 12 years after they were shoved into the nu-metal spotlight with ‘Infest’. Their sound has undergone several major re-fits since then, but one thing has remained constant. They’re always on tour.

"It's been a great year,” Horton said. “We've been to some really cool places, we've played amazing shows and I think that we've made some pretty good impressions on people, hopefully setting things up for the next record.

"Particular highlights I would say would be Rock AM Ring, it was one of the best shows that we've played this year. Download Festival was great as well, and then in the States we did this Carnival of Madness tour with Shinedown and In This Moment, that was a really fun tour. We know all the bands that were on the tour and it was kind of like summer camp."

With the mention of Download, talk turns to festivals. There's a fine line between producing the next generation of headliners and keeping the classic big hitters on the circuit, but what does Horton think of the latest push for new talent?

"We'd be OK with them giving us a chance," he smiled. "I mean, really, when you think about it, the festival has to look at how many tickets a band sells on their own and if they can support that kind of production and that draw. You know, I think Avenged Sevenfold are the right band for the job right now. I'm sure a lot of people won't be disappointed.

"I think that given a good slot, we would definitely prove that we could definitely be a headliner. As far as any other bands go, I don't really know if Bullet For My Valentine has necessarily been around long enough, but they do very well on their own in the UK. They could probably do it as well. I think it's a valid point and the discussion probably needs to be had, but I just think they're probably doing the right thing at the moment and they just have to find the band that rises to the top in time."

Talking of new blood, tour openers American Fangs were openly pleased to be personally chosen by Papa Roach as support and despite their genre-blending style, it's their stage presence that really sold them. "They just have a really cool energy," Horton said. "They have a punk rock energy. They're not a punk rock band, but they have that fire and we love playing with bands that have that. It's really important."

As for Papa Roach’s immediate future, there's a lot on the horizon. The band are set to take part in the Shiprocked Cruise - between Miami and Stirrup Cay - in January, alongside Five Finger Death Punch, Lacuna Coil and Three Days Grace.

"I really don't know what to think about it," Horton said. "I've heard from other bands that it's cool and it's a great experience. I have just never been on a ship of that size and I don't know if I'll be seasick or not - that is my main concern. The other is that I'll be sort of quarantined, maybe not quarantined, but stuck in a place with everybody.

“Like I said, it's something I've been told is great from other bands but at the moment it's something I really need to experience for myself. We had also talked about doing something in a remote location like Pink Floyd did, Zeppelin did, but the timing has to be right."

Beyond taking that Papa Roach live swagger to the open seas, there are more traditional concerns to occupy the band’s time, with record number eight a priority. "February 1, we're going to get in the studio,” Horton said. “We're going to Vegas to write and record and hopefully have a record out by late summer, maybe early autumn."

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