Catching Up With…

Tony Palermo

The members of Papa Roach had planned to focus on heaviness for their latest album. But it soon became clear that there was going to be more to the story of F.E.A.R.

by Steven Douglas Losey

Papa Roach’s eighth studio album, F.E.A.R. (Face Everything and Rise), is unique in the group’s discography in that the songs were largely the result of studio jams, not prewritten arrangements. “It’s important for me to be able to handle anything that’s thrown at me,” says Tony Palermo, who replaced the band’s original drummer, Dave Buckner, in 2007. “I have to be able to play every kind of vibe. We’ve never been afraid to try anything. If it doesn’t work, we move on.”

Make no mistake, Papa Roach definitely brings the rock on F.E.A.R., which was produced by the father/son team of Kevin and Kane Churko. But just as compelling are the copious electronic breakdowns, where Palermo’s discipline and style in particular are allowed to shine. “I really enjoy playing like that,” the drummer says. “Going from super-dynamic parts to those heavy choruses really says a lot. On some of those breakdowns I’ll come in with a simple hi-hat pickup, which is a great example of less is more.”

It’s a concept Palermo has become more comfortable with of late. “At one time I had to climb over my drums to go to bed,” Tony says with a chuckle. “I went through having splash cymbals and all that stuff. But I’ve gotten to a place where I love the stripped-down intensity of it all. The main thing for me now is raw emotion. I feel like you either bring it or you don’t. It’s as simple as that.”