When you look at Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix — a mass of biceps, tats and spiked hair — the first thing that springs to your mind isn't usually "philosopher."
But recently he found himself grappling with quite the moral dilemma. After all, he's the lead singer of a band whose last video was a politically explosive clip featuring not-so-subtle jabs at the war in Iraq and President Bush (see "For Papa Roach, What's A Protest Song Without A Little Girl-On-Girl Action?"), and his band had just been invited to perform for U.S. troops stationed in Korea. It's quite the quandary.
"We had to look at it like this: By going over there, are we funding the bombs the Army is dropping on people? No." Shaddix said. "I've got a beef with the administration, not our soldiers. Those people over there are just doing their job. They joined the Army because it's a way to get a college education."
So Shaddix said yes. And when Papa Roach finally wrap their U.S. tour December 13 in Las Vegas, they'll take a short break for the holidays and then in late January hop aboard a plane for South Korea, where they'll play an undisclosed number of shows at military bases. According to Shaddix, he's going to support the troops, because he feels it's important for people to separate the war from the warriors. After all, he knows from experience.
"My father is a Vietnam vet, and when a lot of those soldiers came home, people were calling them baby killers," he said. "And I saw how that affected my father. He was over there fighting a war he didn't believe in, but he came home and people shunned him. And we just can't treat people like that.
"I've got friends in the military, and do I have something against them? Not at all," he continued. "So, to me, I don't see a contradiction in playing military bases, because I'm not going over there, waving the American flag, going, 'Yay! Let's go to war!' I'm over there to entertain them."
Shaddix said he hears from troops who play Papa Roach music whenever they go out on patrols, and while he can't pretend to know what it's like to be a soldier in a hostile land, he can relate on some level.
"I know what it's like to be so far from home, I know what that disconnection is like," he said. "And I want our music to be a little taste of home for the troops. It's a good karma thing, because the reality of being at war is a reality some of the people over there don't agree with. So the music is an escape."