16 Aug 2016

Saliva

Saliva has just released their brand new album “Love, Lies & Therapy” and theya re in the midst of a big US Tour. We managed to track down the band’s singer lead singer Bobby Amaru who was more than happy to share lots of details about the new album and the Saliva story so far. For the record, this is the first ever Saliva interview for a Greek magazine in their 20-year illustrious career!  Interview: Sakis Nikas

Rockpages.gr: Bobby, this is the first ever interview with a Saliva member for a Greek magazine, so thank you for taking the time…Saliva05

Bobby Amaru: Absolutely, man…my pleasure!

Rockpages.gr: I’ve been a fan of the band since the “Back Into Your System” days and I have to be honest with you I was really worried when Josey Scott left the band but I was so surprised when I listened to “Rise Up” that all my worries were left aside. Were you worried when you first joined the band?

Bobby Amaru: With any band that gets a new singer is a totally new situation. It’s not the same when a drummer or a guitarist leaves the band where the fans think that it must be due to differences. But when a singer leaves the band, it’s the voice of the group. It’s the first image of the band that comes in your mind really. I believe that I was the right man for the job…without making any comparisons of course, Brian Johnson fitted perfectly in AC/DC when Bon Scott passed away or Sammy Hagar was the ideal replacement of David Lee Roth in Van Halen…he didn’t have the same style; I mean, can you imagine Sammy singing “Hot For Teacher” (laughs)? That goes to show you, though, that Van Halen evolved when Sammy joined the band and come to think about it they were a better and bigger band! They sold more records and wrote better songs. I am not saying that this is the situation here…so to answer your question, yeah I was kinda worried but on the other hand I saw it as a good opportunity to get my foot on the door with a band that was well established and had some success. So it was an opportunity, man, and I took the chance. I think it really worked. We create music together; everybody influences each other, we go on the road, we tour, we meet a lot of people who still believe in us…it all goes to the rock show, man. You can put out any CD that you want and as long as the songs are good that’s a plus. But when you go and play live and people see you on stage you gotta kick ass, man! You gotta bring the house down or nobody’s gonna give a shit…nobody’s gonna care. It doesn’t matter who’s singing or who’s playing guitar. When you go to a concert –even if you are having a huge hit on the radio- and you don’t deliver a hell of a show then people will write you off!

Rockpages.gr: By the way, what did you think of Saliva before you joined them?

Bobby Amaru: Yeah, we all had mutual friends and stuff. The producer Bob Marlette had produced my band’s first record…he had just gotten back from the “Back Into Your System” record and almost immediately started working on our record. We kinda crossed paths and stuff but I can’t say that I was a huge fan or anything. I did like “Back Into Your System” and I always thought that Saliva was a far better band compared to similar other bands of that era. I thought that the songwriting was good.

Rockpages.gr: What’s the new element that you brought to the table when you first joined Saliva?

Bobby Amaru: My sex appeal (laughs)! I think I just brought a new energy! Saliva has been around since 1996-97 but to me, to you or to anyone else really, the first major record came out in 2001. Josey was in the band for almost a decade and he quit the band in 2011. I think it helped me in a lot of ways the fact that Saliva had a few successful singles and albums and all the groundwork has been laid. I only care to go out, hit the stage and do justice to the old songs. I am sure that the fans appreciate it. It’s like Saliva 2.0! There is a new energy…my point is that after a while, it started to become a little stale with Josey in the band. It’s sad to say it but Josey wasn’t in it anymore. His heart was somewhere else. There were a lot of bridges burned but you gotta keep on moving and keep the train rolling, you know…try to stay positive and leave all the negative stuff behind.   

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Rockpages.gr: Let’s talk about the new album…“Love, Lies & Therapy”. I guess that’s the right order…first comes love, then the lies and therapy. Who thought of the album title?

Bobby Amaru: That would be me. We kinda did this record ourselves; I produced the album. Basically, we decided to just go in the studio and write a bunch of songs. Write from the heart…write some heavy songs, some ballads, some melodic stuff. All in all, write a classic Saliva record. We didn’t want to go and recreate “Click Click Boom”…we just wanted to write some really cool songs. I think as the record was progressing and as the record was done I just started looking back and listening to the songs and I was absolutely satisfied with the stuff that we had come up with. When you write lyrics on the moment you almost don’t realize what you are gonna sing about until later on. I started to see the wider picture when the record was done and started typing the lyrics for the CD booklet. It was absolutely what I was expecting from the new Saliva record! Like the song “Trust” for instance…I had a girlfriend for a couple of years and infidelity or cheating on each other was all over the place, man…crazy shit! I literally didn’t trust her…so I remember driving down the road and thinking of ideas about the new album and the chorus of “Trust” came instantly on my mind. And the lyrics…the firs line says: “fucking with my head again, I can’t stand the person you’d become”. You know exactly what the song is about when you read those lines. It’s about not trusting the person that you used to be with. This person lies to your face…same kind of stuff is with “Tragic kind of love”. Two people that can’t quit each other; they love the fighting, they love the passion…crazy stuff, man. It had happened to all of us if you think about it. That’s really the point of the album really. “Love, Lies & Therapy” is about relationships. Everybody had loved or been loved; everybody has said or heard lies and of course everybody needs therapy (laughs). That’s the best way I can describe it.

Rockpages.gr: Saliva had always a melodic side and this time I believe that it’s more evident compared to “Rise Up”. What do you think is the main difference between those two records?

Bobby Amaru: The biggest difference to me was…well, “Rise Up” being the first record that I did with Saliva...we were on a label that had a lot of money; the owner came fSaliva01rom the Bacardi family; the rum you know…he had all these ideas…I am gonna start a video production company and next week he would forget all about it and he’d come up with another business move. One day he said: “I wanna start a record label and I wanna sign Saliva”! He was a fan of the band and he just kinda asked us what kind of deal…how much money we wanted. We said just for fun: “we want a million dollars” and he simply replied: “OK” (laughs)! Our bass player didn’t want to do it; didn’t want to take the money because we wouldn’t have any proper distribution. Who really cared? I mean, we could do all the distribution stuff with one million dollars. Next thing you know is we create “Rise Up” or back then it was “In It To Win It” and we ask the guy who’s gonna deliver the new album…who’s gonna distribute it. His answer was: “Oh man, we just gonna release it on i-Tunes (laughs)! The guy thought that we would just release a record and it’s gonna sell millions of copies without doing anything really! When we finally got distribution in place for the record, we never heard of the guy again…true story! So for me, that’s the main difference between making that record and the new one. Don’t get me wrong…I think that “Rise Up” is a great record…I love it. But at the time, we had no choice. We signed with Universal and we almost decided from that day on to avoid indies at all cost. We wanted someone who knows his job and who has done it quite some times in the past. This is the difference, man…the new record is properly distributed and promoted.

Rockpages.gr: Are you happy with how the fans and the press received the new record?

Bobby Amaru: It’s been great, man…overwhelming! At the end of the day, if you put good songs on a record, people will compliment you for that at least. Even if it’s not their style, they will appreciate the songwriting, the performance or whatever. It’s always great when you put your heart on something and people tell you that it doesn’t suck (laughs).

Rockpages.gr: My favorite track on the album is the almost nostalgic “Go Big Or Go Home”. I wrote in my review and I quote: “this is the bastard child of “Click Click Boom” and “Superstar II”. What do you think?

Bobby Amaru: Yeah…that would be the “Click Click Boom” type of song. Wayne (Swinny) and I wrote that song and we just proved to the old Saliva fans like yourself that we can’t do that kind of song without following any trend or constantly repeating ourselves. We can still create that kind of sound and we can still write that kind of shit. “Go Big Or Go Home” instantly brings in mind the adrenaline and the power of songs like “Click Click Boom” or even “Superstar II” that you mentioned. It’s about not giving up man! That’s what the song is all about. Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Rockpages.gr: You know of course which was the biggest surprise on the record, right…?

Bobby Amaru: Probably the Michael Jackson cover.

Rockpages.gr: (laughs) Exactly. Who brought the idea to the table of covering “They Don’t Care About Us”?

Bobby Amaru: I wanted to do that song four years ago. I brought it to the band and they said: “Oh well…whatever. How about doing “TNT” by AC/DC?” (laughs). So, it never happened back then but when it came time of doing this new record I insisted and I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I knew it’s gonna turn out really good.

Rockpages.gr: It sounds like Saliva!

Bobby Amaru: Yeah! I always loved that song and it wasn’t the typical cover song like let’s say…“Dirty Diana” or “Billy Jean”. Jackson was going through a tough period back then and you could tell by the song that he was angry! It’s one of his heaviest songs really. If a rock band would have done it, it would be a kick ass rock song! I am glad and proud that we covered this song.

Rockpages.gr: I know that you are doing a US Tour called “Make America Rock Again” along with many other bands. Are you making America rock again?

Bobby Amaru: Absolutely man! We are making America rock again for two and a half months straight!

Rockpages.gr: Speaking of America, I guess you know that Saliva is first and foremost an American band. How difficult it is to reach out to a European audience with your style of music?

Bobby Amaru: I think that rock music is very big. European fans appreciate many American bands but they absolutely love American bands that really rock! The challenge for us is to come to Europe, have a great time and show these people that we can really kick their asses with our music and our show. We want to create new markets for Saliva and make our name even bigger than it is right now. That’s our target for Europe. We are stoked that we are gonna do for the first time a proper European tour. I think it’s a good opportunity for us. We are doing a lot of UK, Germany, and Holland. That would be for a month in October-November. Four weeks, 25 shows.

Rockpages.gr: You know of course how loyal and passionate are the European fans, right? Saliva02

Bobby Amaru: Yes, I know! Longtime fans man! You make a fan and he will be with you for life. Unbelievable! We really appreciate it that the European fans do give a shit about our music. We really do, man. I can’t speak so far from personal experience but I know friends that play in bands and tour regularly in Europe…they are having the time of their lives and I am jealous of them, man. Can’t wait to go overseas and experience the same stuff. Here in the States everything is about pop and YouTube sensations. That’s fucking stupid, man. US bands play in Europe and it’s a whole different world. I am looking at the Twisted Sister picture on your wall right now and I watched their documentary not that long ago and they couldn’t make America like them one bit, man. They kept going to Europe over and over again. And they were killing it man! Twisted Sister played their asses off and they were amazing. Look at them now. They play in America and the crowd reaction is “whatever” and when they come to Europe the fans go nuts! That’s where people get it!

Rockpages.gr: Plus they totally respect the fact that there are fans right from the very early days…

Bobby Amaru: That’s the thing, man! That fucking band...trust me, dude. I was watching MTV as a kid and I wanted to be Dee Fuckin’ Snider! When you watch “We’re Not Gonna Take It” or “I Wanna Rock” and you are just a kid that’s exactly the spirit…that’s the message! It draws you in. Dee Fuckin’ Snider ruled! It was the same fucking thing when I first listened to “Master of Puppets”. That’s the power of music, man! I don’t listen to many new bands nowadays but I haven’t found a single band in the last 10 years that made me say “holy fucking shit”!

Rockpages.gr: Which was the last big record that you totally enjoyed? Apart from Saliva of course…

Bobby Amaru: That’s tough man…I mean, there are not that many records like “Far Beyond Driven” that makes you wanna punch something. I liked Sevendust’s “Animosity” record but that was in 2001, man. There are bands that I like but I haven’t seen any new bands that will kick my ass, man! Or even visually…you can’t see anymore bands like Motley Crue or watch videos like “Looks That Kill”. There was a certain mystic back in the day.

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