Thursday, May 26, 2011


by Chad Cooper, May 2011

The music industry is one of constant change. One thing is for certain though — Papa Roach is a mainstay in the rock world.

The rockers from Sacramento celebrated 10 years of greatness last September with the release Time for Annihilation, which is a 14-track disc with five new songs and nine live recordings of some of their best hits like “Getting Away with Murder,” “...To Be Loved,” “Lifeline,” “Scars” and “Last Resort.”

For those living under rocks, P-Roach formed in the early 90s and hit the mountaintop in 2000 by releasing their second album, first on a major label, called Infest. Thanks to the hits “Last Resort,” “Broken Home” and “Between Angels and Insects,” the album went on to reach triple-platinum status and the band earned a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. The instant success also earned P-Roach spots on tours like OzzFest and Vans Warped Tour.

Three more albums, Lovehatetragedy (2002), Getting Away with Murder (2004) and The Paramour Sessions (2006) meant more good music. The latter produced the single “...To Be Loved,” which was used by the WWE as the theme song to their popular weekly television show Raw.

Metamorphosis hit the shelves in 2009 and gave the band their second No. 1 hit, “Lifeline.”

Despite the success, the band has partnered with WhyHunger, a national non-profit organization founded in 1975 by the late Harry Chapin & current Executive Director Bill Ayres that works to put an end to hunger suffered by 49 million Americans.

We spoke with frontman Jacoby Shaddix spoke via telephone from his home in Sacramento a few weeks ago before the band began their latest stint on the road.

Of all the accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

I am proud of several — the music we have created and our live shows. That’s what it comes down to. Also, the brother hood amongst the band is awesome.The P-Roach live shows are amazing. We have always been a very energetic live rock band. Over the years, it’s turned from me trying to destroy myself on stage to a celebration of fucking rock and roll with the crowd. It’s a great mix of the sound, music, energy and the crowd.

Do you ever go back and listen to your earlier stuff?

That’s a crazy question because last night, we were actually listening to some old P-Roach and old music we were listening to back in the day like Wu-Tang Clan. We have a studio here in our hometown of Sacramento and we’ve been hanging out here kicking it old school and reconnecting with our old friends. It’s looking back at the history of the band and enjoying it. It’s a trip.

How did the band come together?

I was at a Deftones show way back in the early 90s and I remember flipping the fuck out during the show. I got in the moshpit and tore it up. It was then I knew what I wanted to do be in a rock band. I went to the show with our original drummer, Dave (Buckner), and after the show, I said let’s start a band. So we did.

What led you to affiliate yourself with the WhyHunger non-profit organization?

For me, it’s a great way to give back to our fellow citizens. The first year of my families’ life, we were homeless. To be where I’m at and receive the gifts we’ve received, we are very fortunate as musicians and it’s important to be a part of a cause that is bigger than ourselves and not just in music, but something else. WhyHunger is the organization we choose to affiliate ourselves with because people talk alot about supporting the troops, but alot of the homeless people in this country are war veterans. My biological father, who is a Vietnam veteran, is actually homeless. I tried to help him out, he didn’t want it, so I try to help others out. There is a homeless guy who runs around the neighborhood and I hire him for all kinds of stuff. He’s a real good dude.

The last record, ‘Time for Annihilation,’ was a mix of some new songs and live recordings of older music. What was the idea behind that?

I think it’ a rad way to celebrate 10 years of Papa Roach. Our mission was to prove we are one of the most kickass live rock and roll bands around. We realized our fans really appreciated the live stuff. It’s a look back along with some new tunes.

That album was released on Eleven Seven Music, which is a label with great rock bands. Has it been a positive move?

It was a breath of fresh air. It was nice to be amongst people who see eye to eye with our creative vision — what we want to do and execute it all the way from beginning to end. There’s good energy with these guys and the fans will start noticing it more when we start releasing more music with Eleven Seven.

I know you love hip-hop, so if you could team up with a rapper, who would it be?

Eminem. Hands down. He slays, man. I love the way he lays it down lyrically. He is one of those guys who is a master at his craft. We toured with him years ago and it was way cool.

How many tattoos do you have and what was your first one?

I got my first tattoo 16 years ago and it was my wife’s name, Kelly. I have what you call in the tattoo biz a long sleeve shirt — my ribs, back and chest are covered. I have a bunch.

Papa Roach is performing a sold out show at Warehouse Live in Houston on Tuesday, May 31. The Raid the Nation Tour also features The Hunger and Pop Evil.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Interview: Joe Nichols

by Chad Cooper, May 2011

Not many know, but Joe Nichols had a very tough decision to make as a teenager in high school — continue to play baseball and become the best baseball player he could be or go down the path of music. Apparently, it was the right one.

Born and raised in Rogers, Ark., Nichols, now 34, signed his first independent record contract at 20, but after several years of hard work, Nichols upgraded his status by signing with Universal Records, now Show Dog-Universal Music, and releasing Man with a Memory in 2002.

The album reached platinum status and charted four singles, which included “The Impossible,” “Cool to Be a Fool,” “She Only Smokes When She Drinks” and his first No. 1 single, “Brokenheartsville.”

Later that year, Nichols was nominated for three Grammy Awards and went on to win Top New Male Vocalist from the Academy of Country Music.He followed that success with the 2004 album Revelation. The 11-track album featured two Top 10 hits, “If Nobody Believed in You” and “What’s a Guy Gotta Do.”

After a Christmas album later that winter, Nichols continued making hits and that was apparent with the 2005 record III. The first single, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” became his second No. 1 and “Size Matters (Someday)” and “I’ll Wait for You” were also quality Top 10 songs.

More hits continued to fly out of the ballpark like “Another Side of You” and “It Ain’t No Crime” off the 2007 album Real Things and a third No. 1 chart topper, “Gimmie That Girl,” anchored his last release Old Things New.

A 10-track album called Greatest Hits was released in January and Nichols is currently working on new material. 88MW chatted via telephone with Nichols before he began his current tour.

Growing up in Arkansas, did music play a big part of your life?

I think I was probably in high school when I came to that point in my mind where I had big thoughts. I didn’t want to sit on my tail for the rest of my life and wonder what I could have done. Maybe it was me dreaming big and not being realistic about my options in life, I don’t know. I wanted to get off my butt and try to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in music or work my butt off to become the best baseball player I could be. I decided it was going to be music. I was passionate about both music and baseball, but somehow was drawn towards music.

How does it feel to have a greatest hits album?

I didn’t think I had that many hits. I guess you could reword that album and call it my only hits. HA HA. I think it’s great we have enough songs to compile an album full of hits. Certainly it doesn’t feel like it’s been nine years. I’m proud of it.

Whose idea was it to release a greatest hits project?

It was the record label’s idea. I wanted to do some new music, which we are working on now, but they wanted to get something out before the new stuff to keep the awareness up. It was a refresher idea like remember these songs like “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” “Brokenheartsville” and “Gimmie That Girl.”

I’m glad you mentioned new music. Your last release came in 2009, so how close are you into releasing a new album?

We’ve been in the studio recording and we feel like we have a strong list of songs. It’s a lot of fun up-tempo stuff and a couple of ballads that are very, very special. The songs are there and now it’s just a matter of getting the magic right in the studio. We are trying some different formulas such as personnel like new musicians. Hopefully it will be ready for a summer release.

Will the fans see a big difference?

I hope not. I sing the way I do and there’s not a whole lot of change in that. The production around it is subject to be tinkered. The one thing I try to remain consistent on is making sure my home base is traditional country music. That is what I do and who I am. I will step outside of that and do some progressive things, but nothing that will confuse people about who I am and what I love.

With previous success and a plethora of competition, any added pressure making every song a hit?

There’s always pressure to hit a home run. Every time we go to the studio there is money being spent and the truth is, if you don’t hit a home run, it is a failure. The pressure I put on myself has everything to do with what I think I am capable of and my mind won’t let me rest until I achieve it. Sometimes I get obsessive compulsive about it. Going into the studio, I may hear a certain vocal, or line to a song or instrument out of tune that caught my ear. That’s not wanting the song to be competitive with other songs out there; I want it to be the best it can be for me. I just want to make a good record and good records find there way to radio and fans find their ways to the store to buy them.

I read that the legendary Merle Haggard had great things to say about you. Now, how does that feel?

Pretty damn good. He is like my boyhood hero. We used to listen to a bunch of records from front to back and over and over again and most of those were his and George Straight. To hear your childhood hero say good things about you, it makes me feel incredibly special. I don’t think I am deserving of it, but I sure am appreciative. I hold him in the highest regard.

Joe Nichols will perform at Whiskey River in Beaumont TX on Friday, May 20, with doors opening at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are $17 ($22 day of show) and the show is restricted to ages 18 years and up. For more information call (409) 832-2999.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011


by Chad Cooper, May 2011

West Coast rockers Lit returns and they seem to be better than ever. The band that brought our ears the giant hits “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Miserable” are in the midst of releasing a new material for the first time in more than seven years.

Lit signed with RCA Records in 1999 and along came their first national release A Place in the Sun that reached platinum status and gave the music world a breath of fresh air. The first single, “My Own Worst Enemy,” remained atop of the Billboard modern rock chart for more than three months and earned the Billboard Music Award for best modern rock song of 1999.

The group followed that singled with the Top 10 hits “Zip-lock” and “Miserable.” The video for “Miserable” gained worldwide attention because it featured the blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson.

With super success on Lit’s shoulders, the band earned a rightful spot on tours like the Vans Warped Tour, Woodstock 1999 and shows with Kid Rock, Garbage, The Offspring and No Doubt.

Their second album on RCA came in 2001 with Atomic. “Over My Head” and “Addicted” charted and “Lipstick and Bruises” led the way giving the band their fourth Top 10 single.

Lit parted ways with RCA in 2002 and released a self-titled album in 2004 on the DRT Entertainment label, which also featured bands such as Powerman 5000, Clutch and Seven Mary Three.

Also during this time, guitarist Jeremy Popoff opened a restaurant in Fullerton called the Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen that has gone on to become highly successful.

The band had to deal with tragedy in 2008 when drummer Allen Shellenberger was diagnosed with having a brain tumor. A year later, Shellenberger lost the battle at the age of 39.

The guys took time to heal and decided to continue to play music and found drummer Nathan Walker and just last year added a fifth member.

After seven years, Lit has announced plans for new music and a new tour. One of those shows will be May 19 with Fuel as a part of the weekly Thursday night Party by the Pool’s Liquid Society at L’Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the casino or online at The show is restricted to those aged 21 years and up.

Between interviewing applicants at his restaurant, Popoff spoke with 88MW about new music, his business venture and his love for poker.

What’s the band been up to since 2004?

We have gone through some stuff. Very personal tragedies and what not and it has sort of kept the band sidelined. We never really stopped playing, we just stopped recording and didn’t tour extensively because we were spread thin. Musically we have been writing the entire time for other artists. I personally spent some time in Nashville writing some country music. I also opened a bar/restaurant in Orange County (California). Everyone needed a re-charge and we are back with a bunch of new songs, a new record in the works and a new management company.

Tell me about the new music. I hear you guys are working with producer Marti Fredericksen, who has Aerosmith, Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe on his resume.

We worked with a few different people and added a fifth guy to the band, Ryan Gilmore. He is playing guitar, keyboard and singing some backup vocals. Plus he’s a great songwriter. It’s nice for me because being a guitar player for all these years, I now get to do some stuff in songs that I haven’t been able to do before. Sonically, the new stuff is a little bit more dynamic. We have played a few shows and performed the news songs and the crowds have loved it.

Does it seem like less pressure to record an album this time around?

We really don’t have anyone to answer to but ourselves, which is kind of scary. The band has always tried to stay true to what we were about. We never tried to re-invent the wheel. The old fans are going to be stoked and I think we are going to win over the new ones.

Do you think the down time will hurt?

Yes and no. Hardcore Lit fans can’t wait for some new rock-and-roll. I know I am excited. I’m not a super huge fan of any of the ‘modern rock’ music out there right now. I think people are looking back in the their collection and finding songs that actually made an impact in their life. All we can do is make good songs and put on good shows. We have a great management company now and they manage bands like Maroon 5, Stone Temple Pilots and 3 Doors Down so we are in good hands now and can sit back and focus on making really good music. We a have a new website that will launch soon. We re-recorded ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ and ‘Miserable’ and we are going to give away ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ on the new site just for coming to check the site out and we’re going to put ‘Miserable’ up on iTunes.

So a new website soon?

We are also going to have all kinds of cool stuff on there including demos of new music. The address is going to be Fans are going to love it because we are going to get them heavily involved. We are planning to do online contests where we fly out some fans, have dinner with them and listen to some new music. We may even have a contest to where they fly out and help us produce a song or two.

Tell me a little bit about your 2006 venture, the Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen.

We live in Fullerton, which is just north of Anaheim. We spent most of our lives here and I thought it would be a cool place to have a bar or restaurant. Plus it would be a good place to hang out when we are not on the road. If nothing else, a place I wouldn’t get kicked out and get free drinks. It’s been open for five years now. We are known for killer food and we get a lot of celebrities that come in here. We have great shows too and this place has become a legitimate music venue in Orange County. There’s never a cover charge. It turned into a big operation.

I hear you are a poker player.

My brother (A. Jay Popoff, lead singer) and I grew up going to my grandfather’s house. He lived in Arizona in Bullhead City, which was right across the river from Laughlin, Nevada. It was like a mini-Vegas on the river. My brother and I were always fascinated with the casinos and once we were old enough to go to Vegas, we would go all the time. The record we put out, ‘A Place in the Sun,’ had a lot of Vegas influences, as did our stage show for that tour. Before that album, I would play poker two or three nights a week to make extra money to pay for groceries and stuff. I would hustle the local games.

Ever play in the World Series of Poker?

No, but I have been watching it every year on television. My problem is I like to drink when I gamble and I can’t sit in any place for too long. As much as I love poker, I also love the thrill of gambling and going all-in. I am not a very disciplined player.

Is your favorite starting hand pocket aces?

Yeah, I get a little excited with those. There is a game in town here in Fullerton that some of my bartenders go play in and I’ll play some. It goes into the wee-hours of the morning. Just recently, I was watching that game and there playing was some friends of mine from the band A Thousand Horses. The lead singer Mike hit a royal flush. If I had not been there, I wouldn’t have believed it. The funny thing was, the game was being played by a bunch of broke musicians and in the pot was $12. I said ‘dude, you just blew your poker wad.’ All over some cheap bear, pizza and a $12 pot.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Video Interview: Electric Touch

Video interview with Electric Touch @ BuzzFest 26 (May 1, 2011 @ The Woodlands Pavilion).

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INTERVIEW: Hollywood Undead

by Chad Cooper, May 2011

Hollywood Undead is headlining Revolt Tour 2011 along with 10 Years, Drive A and New Medicine. The show played House of Blues in Houston on May 10 and the boys from Los Angeles killed the set, which they opened with the hit single "Undead" from their 2008 debut Swan Songs.

HU is touring in support of their new album, American Tragedy. 88MW caught up with J-Dog a week or so before the show in Houston.

How is the Revolt Tour going?

It's going good. We actually took a day off in LA, so that was fun. We are all from LA and we were passing through so we said ‘fuck it let’s take the day off here.’ It was a little slow at first because we haven’t toured in like 18 months. Some of the kids didn't know we were touring, but it has picked up.

Any pressure heading into the recording of 'American Tragedy' because of the success of the first record?

Any band that has success on their first record, seems like you have to work harder on your second. You have to squeeze a lot of likes into the album, including your own, without changing too much. We have a lot of creativity in this band. This album, everyone wrote what they wanted to.

You have a favorite track on the album?

I like ‘I Don't Wanna Die.’ It’s dark and melodic.

Love the video to ‘Been to Hell,’ which is the second single off the album. We go to the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas every year. So my question is, how did you guys manage to get Peter North for a cameo in the video?

That’s our homeboy. A friend of ours, Corey, used to be his roommate. He’s a porn director and goes by the name Craven Moorehead. Corey actually co-directed the video and said he had a part for Peter. It was awesome. I have enjoyed several Peter North videos.

Did you ever imagine HU would be this successful?

All of us in this band wanted to do this but none of us thought it would have come as far as it has. Every band can hopefully hope for that but it comes when you least expect it. I don’t think any of us could do anything else.

Was it tough to get the record deal?

They actually came to us. We were having fun making music and putting it on the Internet. We were just fucking around in LA putting stickers everywhere and never realized we were going to get signed. It was surprising.

You have starting a clothing line called Dead Cultoure.

We have lot of down time on the road. It’s something creative to do.

What music are you listening to now?

Let me ask...Charlie (Scene). What are you listening to, beside Zac Brown. He's listening to Edward Sharpe. Da Kurlzz said he is listening to Cee Lo Green. I'm listening to Suicide Silence.

Anything coming up after the Revolt Tour?

Going to Europe for a little bit then coming back and do a summer tour.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

INTERVIEW: Social Distortion

by Chad Cooper, April 2011

It’s been seven long years since punk legends Social Distortion have put out a new record, and according to sales and popularity, the SoCal veterans remain strong as ever.The new album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes on Epitaph Records was released in January and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts, which gave the group their first-ever Top 10 album.

Social Distortion was one of 14 bands to play BuzzFest 26 at the Cynthia Mitchell Woodlands Pavilion on May 1.

The band formed in 1978 in Fullerton, Calif., and lead singer Mike Ness is the only original member. They released Mommy’s Little Monster in 1983, which created a music buzz around the country largely in part because of the single “Another State of Mind.”

After hiatus and some personal issues, the band regrouped to release Prison Bound in 1988. Popularity began to soar and Epic Records signed the band giving Social D their first major deal. A self-titled album came in 1990, which featured the Johnny Cash cover “Ring of Fire.”

Then came Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell and White Light, White Heat, White Trash before tragedy struck on February 29, 2000, when guitarist Dennis Danell suddenly died due to a brain aneurysm.

The band took some time off and several changes were made within the band, before the release of Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll in 2004.

Popular songs include “Let It Be Me,” “Ball and Chain,” “Story of My Life,” “Bad Luck,” “Cold Feelings,” “I Was Wrong,” which was their highest charting single at No. 4 and their latest, “Machine Gun Blues.”

Ness, 49, has dealt with his own demons. Quoted in a previous interview about Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, Ness responded “they have no idea what’s waiting for them around the corner, no idea.”

He has since recovered and enjoys a great family life with his wife and two sons. Aside from his music, he helped develop Black Kat Kustoms in 2003. Located in Santa Ana, the store specializes in custom car, hot rod, and chopper clothing as well as custom parts.

88MW spoke with Ness about his illustrious career.

Are you surprised the band has lasted nearly 35 years?

I had hoped so, but I sure didn’t think so. Dude, we really weren’t supposed to live this long. In the back of my mind, this is always what I wanted to do as a small kid and I wanted to take this as far as I honestly could.

Social D has influenced many bands and musicians. Who were some of your influences?

Man, there has probably been hundreds like Eric Clapton and The Ramones. I remember listening to a band in the early 80s called Jason and the Scorchers and saying ‘man I want Social D to sound like this.’ The actual list for me is pretty wide because I draw from different styles of music. I love Big Band music, folk, blues, grunge rock, country music.

It’s been years since you released a new record.

What’s funny is the record only took about four or five months to make but it took us about five years to get into the studio. Some of these songs are like five and six years old. We are a really big touring act so we tour a bunch. You can’t make a record until you stop touring, but I want to try to close that gap before we make another record.

I loved the concept of making a short film instead of a regular music video for the single ‘Machine Gun Blues.’

I always thought music videos should be more literal to the lyrics. Rather than just doing a music video, I thought it would be very cool to do a short film for the song. I ran with the same storyline as the song. The main character gets into a little trouble then becomes remorseful, hence the title ‘Machine Gun Blues.’ Getting to act is a lot more fun than just posing with your guitar.

You still have any new music left in you?

Oh man, a lot. It’s what I do.

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