Getting To Know Saliva Singer Bobby Amaru
If you counted Saliva out when you heard that they had parted ways with singer Josey Scott, you have been proven dead wrong – all you have to do is give a listen to the group’s upcoming single, “Rise Up” (impacting radio and available for purchase via all digital stores on February 18th), and album of the same name (April 29th, via Rum Bum). And with new singer Bobby Amaru firmly in place, it appears as though there is a bright future for the new-look Saliva line-up, which also includes guitarist Wayne Swinny, bassist Dave Novotny, and drummer Paul Crosby.
TWRY recently to catch up with Bobby to get to know him a little better.
Interviewed by: Roger Scales
Can you describe the process that led to your replacing original Saliva vocalist Josey Scott? Was it a single audition or did you have a connection with the band prior to 2012?
There was no audition actually. We had a mutual friend that lived in Jacksonville. He is a working lightning technician that is a veteran of many tours and had worked with Saliva in the past. When the opening was there he recommended me to them and that was pretty much it. They came to Jacksonville and we jammed on some songs and then started to tour in 2012.
Did you get the feeling that there was a connection right away? Was the transition as easy for them as it was for you?
Yes I think so. It clicked on both sides. They were very welcoming right from the get go. Very professional guys they have been doing this for a long time.
In September 2013 In It To Win It was released marking your debut in the band and now in 2014 we have yet another new release Rise Up. Why the quick turnaround?
In It To Win It was a digital only release for the fans really. In April Rise Up will hit stores and be the real deal. All new artwork, photos and single and video. Most of the material is the same.
Were you an active participant with the songwriting process on Rise Up or was this material that the band already had ready to record?
I wrote some, they wrote some and we wrote some stuff together. There were some ideas that I had that I brought in but by and large we did everything together.
Is there a particular track on Rise Up that has a special significant connection to you personally in terms of its lyric content?
“Lost” is my favorite. It’s about overcoming addiction. A lot of folks deal with different addictions. Not just drugs and alcohol. That’s probably the most revealing personal track on the whole album.
“Lost” seems to be the only ballad found on Rise Up although “Closer” does have a slower pace to it at times. Do you think the band made a conscious effort to keep this record as hard a rocker as possible?
We all did. We knew that even before we started to record this album. We knew that we didn’t want to make something closer sounding to the last few albums. We wanted to come in with a breath of fresh air sort of speak. We didn’t want to go backwards at all but look ahead. We knew that there are always going to be certain aspects to our sound that are going to identify us as Saliva but also at the same time not have the fans say just another new record with the same old thing.
Many bands have undergone lead vocalist changes and have been just as successful as or even more so than the original. Others have not. Uncertainty is a human emotion that we all feel but how do you work though that potential barrier and what helps motivate you to succeed?
Just being myself. I think the reason that for a lot of bands where it didn’t work was that there was no vibe from the start and that they are trying too hard to make it work. Trying too hard to live up to what the original was. I think it worked really well with Van Halen. Sammy Hagar didn’t come in and try to be David Lee Roth he just did his thing and they wrote some great songs. You write great songs and people are soon going to forget there ever was somebody else. Same with AC/DC – they never sold as many albums until Brian Johnson joined the band. I love the Bon Scott era material as much as anybody but they are just two different styles. I think they are both great. Now with Motley Crue I think that self-titled record with John Corabi is the best album they have ever made but nobody cared. Too bad because I would have liked to have seen another album or two.
Who do you think was more nervous about adding a new member to Saliva you as the newly appointed vocalist or the three band members who just lost one?
Hmmm. Well both sides are going to wonder initially if it’s going to work or not. I don’t think anyone really had a moment of self doubt. We all had to put in the effort to make it work and make the right record. Playing live has already been a terrific thrill and we keep working at it to make it better.
In doing some research on you it appears that you have been added to a rather lengthy list of drummers turned singers. Don Henley, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, Ringo Starr and Steven Tyler to name a few. When did you start playing drums and when did you change?
I have played drums my whole live since I was a kid. I actually started to play guitar also around 12. I got really into songwriting around that time as well. I never really took singing seriously though. I always would just mess around at parties and play covers and people would tell me all the time why are you playing drums you should sing. Stepping out as a singer was not something I planned on but it just happened.
What’s more grueling physically after a single gig – drumming or singing?
Singing for sure. Not even close. Drumming you can play even if you start to tire. With singing you start to fade or your voice gives out your toast. A lot more stressful than I thought it was going to be. Also all eyes are on you from the crowd’s perspective and they are thinking what’s he going to say, is he going to suck. They also look at you and think he’s not what I thought he would be based on the cd I bought.
What was your first show like as a member of Saliva and was it tough to pick a set list for the older material?
This is really funny. They told me we are only going to rehearse the day before the first gig and then play our first show. Only once? Don’t worry about it you’ll be fine. We played the set once and the next night we just winged it. Picking the set was not hard. They actually asked my input on that and what songs I thought would come off better live.
Do you think you may change up the set over time and add in additional older tunes?
Sure. I’m completely open to it.
Are there major touring plans in store for 2014?
We will be touring nonstop. Europe, States, all over. Dates are being added all the time.
Do you have a particular singer or singers that you have modeled your style after or that have greatly influenced you in some way?
Not really. I grew up liking everything so there was not one single singer where I stopped dead in my tracks and said that’s the guy I want to sound like. I like stuff from like Chris Cornell to Phil Collins.
What does the future hold for Bobby Amaru in 2014 and beyond?
Continue to tour and make additional great records and take this thing to the next level and still have fun while doing it.
Listen to “Rise Up” here.