PAPA ROACH frontman Jacoby Shaddix says that struggled with alcoholism for years before finally putting down the bottle and embarking on a "personal revolution."
Seven years ago, as the band was working on its 2012 album "The Connection", the singer was hitting rock bottom. He had been battling his addictions for a decade, moving from periods where he cleaned up and went on the wagon, only to relapse back into the same behaviors. After the near-dissolution of his marriage and a battle with suicidal depression, the singer is now clean and sober.
"I grew up and didn't know how to deal with my emotions and my feelings of the dark experience that happened to me as a child and the brokenness that I carried from that," Shaddix told the WMMR radio station in a new interview (hear below).
"Trauma, it's real. Trauma affects people in a lot of different ways, and you've gotta find a way to deal with it. I'm still unpackaging all this stuff from my youth and coming to peace with it. But then you see a lot of U.S. military veterans are coming back and they've experienced just horrific traumas. And so that's why you see a lot of our guys are struggling as they come back, because of the horrors of war and that stuff, and my heart just goes out to them.
"I did a bunch of research on homelessness in America, and a large portion of our [homeless] population are U.S. military veterans," he continued. "And so we've got a bit of a problem on our hands in that regard. And my father was a Vietnam veteran and he had that experience and I saw how that played out in his life. Man, the horrors of war… the trauma doesn't end on the battlefield; people carry that trauma home. Soldiers got families, and you see how it affects the family and the kids.
"Am I crazy for wanting peace? Am I crazy for that? Just to go deep on this subject real quick, in order to heal the madness of war, we've gotta start inside with ourselves; it starts with a personal revolution. And so that's what I'm doing, man — I'm on a personal revolution. I'm trying to change myself from the inside out and put myself on the chopping block every day and take a look in the mirror and realize that I know I don't have everything figured out and that some of the things that I believe and that I think aren't always right. So I'm willing to always self-analyze. I guess sobriety has given me that ability to try to look at my life clearly and try to evolve and be a better person."
Saying that he has been sober for "seven and a half" years now, Shaddix admitted that he had a rough time getting his act together at first. "I had a mean struggle with it, man," the 43-year-old vocalist explained. "I tried to get sober for the first time when I was 27 and struggled with it for years and fell off and got back on, and fell off and got back on. Then I finally found a support group of other musicians that were traveling the road and living the life that I was living, 'cause it's quite unique, in a sense. And I found a way to do it and a way to find some peace. Plus my life was just falling apart; it was just a wreck… It was just gross, dude. My behavors and my actions and the way that I was treating myself and my loved ones, it was just not acceptable. And so I was just drinking to numb my feelings and try to escape it, but the problem is always there. So I was, like, 'All right, it's time to face it.' I don't wanna repeat this cycle of broken family and broken children.
"The struggle for people is real, and I just encourage anybody that's out there struggling, if you've got these demons that you're dealing with, I guarantee there's somebody around you that wants to help you," he added. "And do not be silent about your struggle. If you're alone in this, it's gonna take you out. And if you don't speak up, it's just gonna take you down farther and farther and farther. So speak. Call a hotline if you're struggling with life itself. There's a lot of avenues for people to go out there and get help. Sometimes the phone, it weighs a thousand pounds. And the isolation and the depression can be real dark and ominous, but I just encourage, if somebody's out there struggling, just cry out for help, 'cause I guarantee you there's somebody around you that'll be there for you. And sometimes I encourage people to just listen to someone. You don't always have to give someone your opinion about what their struggle is. Sometimes people just want somebody to listen and just to empathize."
Shaddix's seventh sober anniversary came a month after the release of PAPA ROACH's tenth studio album, "Who Do You Trust?" The 12-song disc is one of the most eclectic of the band's career, ambitiously spanning a wide range of sounds and styles.
"Who Do You Trust?" arrived in January via Eleven Seven.