Jacoby Shaddix discusses the mental health message behind Papa Roach's 'Leave a Light On'

'I think everybody's got a dog in the fight on this one'
By , Audacy

Joining host Nicole Alvarez today for a special Audacy Check In is Papa Roach singer Jacoby Shaddix to discuss the band's brand new rerelease of their single, "Leave a Light On," in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Talk Away The Dark campaign.

LISTEN NOW: Audacy Check In with Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach

Finally able to wind down after touring Papa Roach's latest album, Ego Trip, throughout 2023, Shaddix says returning home from the road can be jarring for some. “I don't wanna sound like I'm complaining at all, by no means," he explains, but making that transition can be "like culture shock... It's like you're just go, go, go, go, go, go continually for seven weeks –- you're just on a schedule, you gotta be somewhere, go somewhere, and then... you come home, and you just kind of pause for a minute."

Papa Roach's involvement with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was an easy match he feels, as their music has been addressing the topic of mental health "from the beginning. Since 'Last Resort'" he says, "trying to unravel this madness. It's been a journey for us out there on the road, and meeting so many people at these shows that are just like, ‘Yo, your music saved my life.’ And I'm like, ‘Oh, that's cool.’ You know? And then it just became, over and over and over. I didn't understand the power of music in a sense at that point in time in my life. And as I've grown as a writer, creator, as a man, as a father, this compassionate side of me has come out even more pronounced. It's about serving my brothers and sisters out there -- and we know that people are struggling. So, we were looking for a partner for this song –- a way to make this song a movement.”

"This song essentially is about being there for somebody -- and that's exactly what the [AFSP] is. If you're in that dark hole and you ain't got nobody... you could pick up that phone and there is somebody on the other side that's just gonna listen... I think everybody's got a dog in the fight on this one," Jacoby continues. "We gotta look out for our people. We gotta check in on our people and see how they're doing because It's easy to just walk by somebody in a hall and be like, 'Hey, how's it going?' But if they're your people, I feel like we've got a responsibility to look after each other. But then also, if you're the person that's struggling, sometimes you're just ashamed... or you just don't wanna open up. That's exactly what we need to do when we're in the struggle. That's the campaign, right? 'Talk Away the Dark.' It's like, talk."

Offered originally in 2022 on the band's 11th studio release as the 10th track, "Leave a Light On," is now being given new life with a new purpose, "to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide."

Shaddix, a father of three, explains the song's message came about from his experience of being a dad. "As I'm entering into this phase of my life where my boys are going away to college, and they're becoming their own young men –- that letting go, it's hard, you know? As they travel out there into this world, that can be cruel, that can be cold, that can be dark."

"I want them to know, I need them to know," he adds, "No matter what's going on, I'm here. I got your back no matter what. Don't be afraid to pick up that phone and just, like, dump it on me."

Now in the midst of a well-deserved break, Shaddix says the band has no intention of staying idle for long, with plans for an eventual stadium tour "at some point in our career... I have this childlike faith, this drive, that that's gonna happen," he admits. "Keep making music that's authentic; keep making music that feels like it's got a purpose. I think when we become a parody of ourselves, that's when we gotta pull the plug. We haven't gotten there… I feel fulfilled when I get done with a tour. When I came off stage in Denver, the last show, I straight-up ugly-cried. I'm like, ‘What is wrong with me?’ I was at that point, ‘I'm gonna miss a stage for a minute.’"

Don't miss our full Check In with singer Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach above and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy.

AFSP's Talk Away The Dark campaign encourages the people in our lives to open up about what they're thinking and bring the scariest emotions out of the shadows and into the light.

Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988. Find a full list of additional resources here.

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