Jacoby Shaddix: Stay away from darkness, be happy with your tattoos!

The Papa Roach frontman discusses with us his friendship with Chester Bennington, talks about his favourite Californian parlour and much more else…

Papa Roach, the modern metal combo from Vacaville (California), are back in 2017 with ‘Crooked Teeth’, one of the freshest and intriguing work in their career so far.

Fast, direct, well arranged and full of great song-writing, ‘Crooked Teeth’ is a sort of early ‘2000 reboot for Jacoby Shaddix & co.; so the chance of talking with the tattooed Cali singer it couldn’t be missed. Are you ready for another trip between good music and terrific ink? So the story goes…

Hi Jacoby, I know that you have been tattooed a couple of letterings on your legs lately…
Yeah, I have this work in progress made by Frank Carter, the English musician/tattoo artist who is the Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes frontman too. Till now I got this terrific letterings quoting ‘American Dreams’ on one leg and ‘American Lies’ on the other one. And they rock!

How did you find out tattoo art pleasures?
I was a kid and been shocked, in positive way, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magic’ record, their 1991 masterpiece. Oh man, that iconic cover sleeve, that booklet full of pieces, all these amazing tattoos! I was completely into it and my firs tattoo at all was made by my old friend Jesse Jensen, a musician too. Jesse is like a brother to me, but unfortunately in these days I’m not in touch with him.

What’s your point of view about tattoos now that you turned forty? Has the passion been improved or decreased in the meantime?
It’s still strong but, at my age, getting tattooed is more hurtful than ever… So, instead of six hours tattoo sessions, I prefer definitely two hours ones! (laughs)

Do you have some Californian tattoo shop to endorse?
Yeah, Royal Six Tattoo in Placerville, California. They rule and I’m very close to some tattoo artists working there as Jaime VI e Pat PK Kim. Absolutely recommended!

Papa Roach 2017
Papa Roach 2017

In the Papa Roach last album, ‘Crooked Teeth’, there are two great “tattooed” collaborations: the gorgeous Skylar Grey on ‘Periscope’ (see video below!) and the rapper Machine Gun Kelly on ‘Sunsrise trailer park’. Have you talked about tattoo art with them?
Oh no, man! No chats about it, but their roles were huge. With Machine Gun Kelly we have met our roads in the past; whereas, this was the first time at all with Skylar Grey. They are big artists and she, lately, did a magnificent track with Macklemore (‘Glorous’, editor’s note), the famous Seattle based hip hop hero. As Papa Roach we are proud of having both them on ‘Crooked Teeth’.

Is there a song taken by ‘Crooked Teeth’ with a sort of tattoo-feeling?
The cover sleeve! (laughs) That image is perfect to me for being tattooed on skin. It’s so weird! We have discussed a little with our record label because they thought that it was offensive towards women for that female ugly face with, ehr, crooked teeth! Absurd, isn’t it? I think there is too much “politically correct” around us nowadays…

Peculiar question: I don’t know if you were friend with Chris Cornell or Chester Bennington when they were alive and among us but, if yes, would you like celebrate their lives with a memorial tattoo?
Chris wasn’t a friend of mine, but I had dinner with Chester a month prior his terrible gesture. I don’t have words to express my grief. I can speak for myself and I prefer stay far away from darkness for the loves of my children and family too. I prefer remember Chester focusing on this concept – stay away from darkness! – that making a tattoo on myself. Spread the word, be alive and take care of your dears. Nothing else to add.

Last but not least, have you celebrated twenty years of marriage with your wife Kelly giving yourselves a matching tattoo?
No, but she gave me this beautiful ring that I wear now on my finger. Thanks, Kelly!