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Rejuvenation: Exclusive Interview with SALIVA Vocalist Bobby Amaru

By Geoff Ketler, Cleveland Contributor
Thursday, August 22, 2013 @ 4:41 PM

"Everyone has got families and kids to feed and that shit so let’s just keep doing this thing, let’s just rock n’ roll."

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Sometimes all you need is some fresh blood to rejuvenate things and start rolling again. That is the case with SALIVA. After fifteen years with the band vocalist Josey Scott made the decision to leave the group at the end of 2011. The vacancy has since been filled by Jacksonville native, Bobby Amaru who has helped to reenergize and refocus the band. With Bobby on board, SALIVA has a new album, a fresh start, and a heavier direction. In It to Win It will be released via RUM BUM RECORDS on September 3rd. I recently spoke to Bobby Amaru about the new album and what it is like to replace a long-time member of a band.

KNAC.COM: First things first – tell us about the new record. When exactly does it drop? –I guess tell us everything we need to know about it.

AMARU: It drops September 3rd and everybody should buy it.

KNAC.COM: (Laughter) I agree. I have had a chance to listen to the new album already and I have to say it is super heavy. I love it – I am so pumped that the band has gone this direction.

AMARU: We think it’s fresh man, you know. I mean nothing against the old stuff-but they would probably agree too-it just started becoming a little redundant and I think that what we really wanted to make was a rock record and kind of go back to the roots a little bit-make it a little heavier and try some new things without going to dubstep. That shit’s weird. We just wanted to rock and make a rock record…I think we did that. We’re all excited, the label is exited and you know… we can’t wait to share it with everybody.

KNAC.COM: Yeah, I’ve got to say, without giving away too much information, I love the tracks "Animal"-it’s just a killer heavy tune and I really liked "Redneck Freakshow".

AMARU: Oh cool…yeah.

KNAC.COM: It’s just a solid album and I am just excited that you guys are moving back in that direction and I am sure the fans will appreciate it too. You guys recently signed on with RUM BUM RECORDS recently, right?

AMARU: Yeah we signed with them in December of last year.

KNAC.COM: How are they treating you guys?

AMARU: Great man. They definitely support us, they let us be who we are and they are not like a label that really steps on our toes. They are kinda like, "What do you guys want", "what do you guys feel comfortable with", "what kind of record do you guys want to make". It’s not like, "You guys should do like Imagine Dragons and go make that record." You know, we’re very free and we are all in it for the same thing and it’s all one family-it’s cool.

KNAC.COM: So tell us how you came into this – you have been a part of SALIVA now for what, two years now?

AMARU: In December it will be two years…so over a year and a half.

KNAC.COM: Okay, so how exactly did you guys get together? Because they’re based in Tennessee and you’re in Jacksonville, FL, so how did that work out?

AMARU: Paul the drummer hit me up – they weren’t sure what they were doing, they were thinking about trying a new singer and a friend of mine from Jacksonville, Jeff, used to do lights for them back in the day-he is LIMP BIZKIT’s lighting guy now-just said to them; "you got to try this guy out….this guy Bobby." So they went and checked out some of my music and Jeff texted me and was like; "Hey dude, uh Paul from SALIVA is gonna call you, they are looking for a singer and they are interested in your stuff." So Paul hit me up and asked if I’d be interested in working with them and doing something. I knew it was kind of one of those things that is very rare that a singer could replace somebody and it be good or receptive. But I think it was one of those things where I knew this could be one of those bands where that could work. Just thinking about their history and all of the things they had been through. I just felt like I could come in and probably respark things and bring more of a youthful energy and try to win this thing and kind of revive the band. It sounds like a good story, you know.

KNAC.COM: Well, from what I have seen and from what I have heard, it sounds like it has been a success. How would you describe your vocal style? – because it is much different than Jozey’s.

AMARU: Well…I don’t know…I don’t think I sound like anybody. You know, I don’t know…I can be aggressive and I cannot be aggressive.

KNAC.COM: Who influenced you as a musician?

AMARU: I liked a lot of the 80’s rock. Growing up, my dad was like an 80’s rocker so I liked all of that stuff…MOTLEY CRUE and all that. As I got older I got into classic stuff like Sabbath…I like everything…90’s stuff too, you know ALICE IN CHAINS. I like songs, I like good songs you know. I love PANTERA.

KNAC.COM: Who doesn’t love PANTERA?

AMARU: I like everything…I like Phil Collins. I like a lot of that stuff. I don’t really have one genre or one type of music that I don’t like.

KNAC.COM: So from what I’ve heard, you play drums too, don’t you?

AMARU: Yeah, I play drums, I play guitar, I play piano, you know…I do all kinds of stuff.

KNAC.COM: Was there any point in recording the new album where you may have contributed some ideas for the drum parts? Or is that left completely up to Paul Crosby?

AMARU: Yeah, I just kind of let Paul do his own thing. This was kind of one of those records where we were like, let’s just do the record that we want to make. Because I think the band in the past with the business and stuff…which is why we went with Bobby Huff-because he is more known as a song writer. We were like, let’s just find out what we want to be and what we are doing here and it kind of just came together musically sounding like SALIVA. Paul…this was probably the first record where he could actually do what he wanted to do without the producer saying; "no-that fill sucks-do this." I offered certain things, like beats and patterns, but he pretty much came up with his own stuff.

KNAC.COM: I noticed he definitely sounded more aggressive than on the past records.

AMARU: It’s not a safe-we didn’t want to make a safe record for ratings or hits or whatever. I think we have some radio songs, but that wasn’t really our goal we just tried to make a record that we like. We recorded fifteen songs and wrote like twenty-five and picked the best thirteen to go on the record.

KNAC.COM: Now it’s never easy replacing a band member, especially a front man – how have the fans been treating you on the road?

AMARU: They’re great man. It’s crazy, we will play shows and they don’t even know. They don’t even know if there is a difference. When people are like, "I’m a SALIVA fan, I have seen you 7-8 times and this is the best I have ever seen you." That’s cool, because I think that there’s that energy that is new and people that do realize that it’s different, they applaud but sometimes you have that one asshole that just wants to be an asshole, but you know…whatever…thanks for your money…thanks for getting a ticket. We try to just bring the live show man. We never think about that…we are just looking forward and if the fans want to stay with us, that is awesome. If not…hey…we are not gonna stop just because of that. People quit a band…no one expired-put it that way…people quit and I don’t think there should be a rule that you should quit too. Everyone has got families and kids to feed and that shit so let’s just keep doing this thing, let’s just rock n’ roll.

KNAC.COM: Once the album drops next month, are there any big tour announcements in the works? I know you guys have been touring relentlessly recently, but is there any future plans you can fill us in on?

AMARU: We are just going to be touring the rest of the year and we are going out next year and hitting it hard. We are gonna push the singles and milk as many singles as we can dude. Make a few videos and start doing all that stuff.

KNAC.COM: So you are from Jacksonville…are you a Jaguars fan?

AMARU: Oh man…okay…I am a huge football fan. Me and Wayne, the guitar player, we are the football fans out of the band. He is a Raider fan…he has always been a Raider fan. Yes, I am definitely a Jags fan. We got the team in 1995 and we had a couple good years and a lot of bad years and let downs…but you know I am a Saints fan as well. Most of my family is from Louisiana…so I grew up a Saints fan as well.

In It to Win It hits stores September 3rd. Check out SALIVA’s current tour dates and anything else you need to now at http://www.saliva.com.

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