Singer partners with Re-Mind Project to advocate compassionate approach.
Papa Roach winged it a bit when they recorded F.E.A.R. in 2014. For that project, the quartet entered the studio without a lick of music and frontman Jacoby Shaddix revived rap alter-ego Coby Dick for the No. 5 Mainstream Rock Songs duet “Gravity” with In This Moment singer Maria Brink. For Crooked Teeth, which arrived May 19, the band took a different approach by prepping music before it started recording and working with producers who carry pop credentials: Nicholas “Ras” Furlong and Colin “Doc” Brittain (The Wanted, 5 Seconds of Summer). Papa Roach also invited rapper Machine Gun Kelly and singer/songwriter Skylar Grey to join in on “Sunrise Trailer Park” on “Periscope,” respectively.
“We wanted to make a record that was adventurous, bold, outside the box, not the typical rock record that we had made,” Shaddix tells Billboard. “We felt like with F.E.A.R. we kind of boxed ourselves in a little bit. Although we love the record, it just didn’t feature all the characteristics of who we are as creators and writers.” Whereas with Crooked Teeth, Shaddix says, “we wanted to experiment and try new things. And these producers were all about it.”
The result: Papa Roach landed its third Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1, “Help.” It was a track that Shaddix didn’t feel like writing — and he practically composed it without even realizing it.
“There’s not really a lot of bright, shiny, happy moments” on Crooked Teeth, says Shaddix. “We thought the album needed a track in the major key, so we were writing this song in the studio and the band’s playing the music and I’m still like, ‘Fuck it. I am not feelin’ this. I don’t feel happy and joyous and free.’”
Shaddix was in a negative head space, a state of mind that he frequently encounters. He says he has never been officially diagnosed with depression, but mental health issues run in his family and his mother has observed that it might be why Shaddix had a habit of self-medicating before he got sober several years ago. As he discussed the situation with Furlong and Brittain, Shaddix says, “I was like, ‘I don’t know, man. I’m going through some shit right now. I feel like I need some help. I’m just very hesitant to go to a therapist or to a doctor, because am I going to go there and they’re just going to give me medicine? I feel like I’m just drowning in myself.’ [They] were like, ‘You just wrote the damn song right there, dude!’ ”
Watch the video for “Help” NOW!
Shaddix credits writing music with helping him “move on and be done with it and celebrate my fucking weakness, celebrate my brokenness” and he wants to assist others in getting support when they need it.
“I just encourage fans out there, if they’re struggling through something, don’t be afraid to reach out to one of your best friends and just get real with them, because it starts with being open and honest with the people that are closest to you,” says Shaddix. “Sometimes we can work through those issues together right there, bang, [because you know] you’re not alone.”
Shaddix’s passion for effective mental healthcare has led him to become a partner and inaugural ambassador for the Re-Mind Project, which launches its website re-mind.org today. His friend Ezio Lucido (who has shot such Papa Roach videos as “Gravity”) founded the project to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness by promoting a compassion-first approach. The catalyst is Lucido’s elder brother, Jerry, who was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia at the age of 12. When Lucido was only 5, he became one of Jerry’s caregivers.
“In 1985, I became Jerry’s big brother, literally overnight,” says Lucido, who lives with Jerry. “One day, he was teaching me how to be a young man in this world, and the next day I had to teach him what the difference was between the kitchen and the bathroom.”
Throughout the brothers’ experience, Lucido has observed “a lot of unjust bias and actual discrimination” toward the mentally ill. “We tend to have a sort of fail-first approach where our reaction to a diagnosis or something we may not understand or fear is control versus empowerment.” Thus, Re-Mind’s tagline “Compassion is genius” is meant to remind people that “by giving someone the benefit of the doubt, you are not jumping to conclusions. Being careful how we judge one another would have been very helpful in helping [Jerry] have a better outcome and life experience,” says Lucido.
Watch the exclusive PSA for the Re-Mind Project:
As an example of how stigma creates problems, Lucido points out that those with a mental illness have difficulty accessing proper healthcare for other issues, like if they experience a heart attack. Recently, Jerry had a seizure that nearly killed him. “Unfortunately, the response from the medical community was, ‘What do we do with this person with the diagnosis of schizophrenia?’ ” recalls Lucido. “So 10 minutes was almost spent discussing how to address his diagnosis versus how to save his life.”
Shaddix believes the next critical frontier in healthcare is understanding cognitive and behavioral issues.
“Cognitive behavioral issues have exploded as we’ve started using antipsychotics in medication. Mental health issues have exploded, so for-profit medicine and the pharma industry has definitely proved that they don’t have the finger on the pulse as far as truly helping the people,” he observes. “In our developmental stages, if we catch some of these quote unquote mental health issues and you deal with them in other ways than just medication, we can help a lot of people.”