It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off, we're trying hard to decode music's oddest monikers in order to find a little meaning.
"Would you like to come out and review the Papa Roach show?"
"I'd rather be blown by a garbage disposal."
And that, friends and neighbors, is why Rocks Off will never, ever answer our email after mixing cheap wine and Brand X decongestants again. Luckily, the ever-patient Renee Harrison of Publicity Please accepted our hung-over apology the next day, and together we decided to skip through a field of gillyflowers in order to decipher the meaning behind Papa Roach's name.
In the waning days of the last millennium, Papa Roach was everywhere with their single "Last Resort," a fist-pumping aggrofest that seemed like it was in the trailer of every film with a fight scene for the next couple of years. The band is still together, still touring and just released a new album, Time for Annihilation... On the Record and On the Road, to much critical acclaim.
Papa Roach's music is hard as walnuts buried in the Arctic for a thousand years. What does this have to do with insect fatherhood?
"The Name Papa Roach came from singer Jacoby Shaddix's late grandfather, whose last name was Roatch," says guitarist Jerry Horton. "They called him 'Papa.'"
Sooooo.... Nothing whatsoever. That's cool. We can work with that because this is Texas. Roaches are a big deal in Texas. Roaches are one of the reasons people are so gung-ho about the second amendment.
Down here, roaches are big enough to carry off your children and possibly a SmartCar, and your best bet for defense is a shotgun. That makes naming your band Roach seem much more hardcore. So hardcore, that we wondered if roachophobia had negatively affected the band.
"You would think so, but we have a surprising number of female fans, considering our mascot," says Horton.
The band's mascot is a dead roach. Poor Papa...
While the story behind the name isn't exactly scintillating, it did surprise us. We thought the whole thing was about weed. Horton assured us it wasn't, but did remark that a number of their fans have reported being sent home from school for wearing Papa Roach shirts.
Apparently Rocks Off shares a mindset with assistant principals.
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Papa Roach: Noun. 1) A tattooed rock singer's deceased grandfather; 2) The sound of people fighting; 3) Not weed.
Papa Roach plays Buzzfest on Saturday at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavlilon, also with Bush, Godsmack, Sick Puppies, Anberlin, Paper Tongues, Neon Trees, Civil Twilight, New Politics, Saving Abel, Finger Eleven, Filter, The Dirty Heads and Seether.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.