Saliva Singer Bobby Amaru Talks ‘Rise Up’ Album, Joining the Band + More
A new era of Saliva is under way and the band has a solid new album to support called ‘Rise Up.’ Though fans got a taste of the new look Saliva last year with ‘In It to Win It,’ the group is making more of a promotional push for ‘Rise Up’ with new frontman Bobby Amaru stepping into the spotlight.
Loudwire had a chance to speak with Amaru ahead of the album’s release and he shared how he’s been welcomed into the group by the Saliva members and their fans, the creative process for their new album and some of his favorite tracks on the disc. The vocalist also discussed their spring touring and shared some of the artists who influenced his own live performance along the way. Check out our interview with Saliva’s Bobby Amaru below:
Congratulations on the new record. I was a big fan of what Saliva did in the ’90s and the ‘Rise Up’ album feels like it’s right there with some of the early stuff. How cool is it to be a part of this?
It’s really good man, it’s definitely the album we wanted to make. We wanted to kind of get back to what Saliva was about. Also, to not be afraid to try some different things that we never really tried before.
As I’m listening, it’s got the touchtones to it you’d want from Saliva, but there’s a few songs in here that feel grittier or dirtier, with an Alice in Chains-type vibe.
Well, it probably has a lot to do with just, I mean, all of us were writing a lot together. We knew that we didn’t want to focus on anything slow. We wanted to keep everything rocking and up-tempo. The process wasn’t hard, we just kept writing songs. Some might have been cooler than others, this one had this that that one might not have, and there’s a lot of elements of everything. I think there’s a taste of Saliva all over it. And then, you have songs like ‘Lost’ that are different, or ‘Thousand Eyes,’ like that riff is very unique, and you could kind of say Alice In Chains-like, but you know … we just wanted the stuff to balance sonically.
You’re not technically the new guy anymore, as you did ‘In It to Win It’ last year, but can you talk about the comfort level you had coming into this band?
These guys have been doing it a long time, man, they’re great guys. It’s definitely, they were extremely welcoming from the get go. I never felt intimidated at all, it was pretty much from the get go I felt like, ‘Right. This is it.’ What we recorded together the first time, before we ever toured, you know, they were just great to work with, and I think they felt the same. The test was definitely going out touring and seeing how it went over and things like that. I think it went real well like that.
You worked with Bobby Huff on this record. Talk about the process of working with Bobby.
We didn’t really want to hire … a fake producer or whatever. We wanted to have someone who had more of a songwriting background. We toured so much and I mean all of us had a lot of ideas and stuff that we wanted to get on the record, but we wanted to kind of get in a room with someone, and try to knock it out. it was all about the songs. We wanted to capture the right songs, make sure we had the right songs before we recorded it to the deck. And you know, it was comfortable and it was easy, and he was great. He’s great at what he does.
You mentioned having the right songs, and thank you for letting us premiere ‘Rise Up’ here at Loudwire. Can you talk a little about where that song came from?
I had this like, this kind of a melody guitar riff in my head. We were in the studio during a break off of tour, this is in Jacksonville, and we were working on just some demos. So that was one of those songs from one of the demos that we had. And that riff thing just explodes to me. I think it’s definitely a really really good signature type rock riff, and so it came across like, ‘Oh man.’ I wanted to make sure lyrically that it had that. ‘Rise Up’ was just kind of where we were at and how I felt. That whole like, been there with no regrets kind of thing. You kind of overcome the everyday challenge of life. A lot of people can relate to that, you know.
That song seems tailor made for the stage. Has this one made it out yet? Were you keeping that in mind when putting it together?
I wanted to keep it extremely simple, whatever the chorus was going to be. So definitely like with the ‘Rise Up,’ it’s got that crowd feel, that live feel to it. I think that we definitely mastered that whole arena, like a radio show kind of song, with that. Like I said, with the riff. The riff definitely had that distinct feel, so I guess you know technically I suggest, and then your mind starts to think about how this would be live. How you would write the lyrics and stuff, you know?
‘Redneck Freak Show’ sounds like it’s also just ideal for the stage. Can you talk about that track a little?
As far as the actual song, and what people think, it’s definitely, you know it’s a huge, huge song. It’s cool, it’s got like a, you know techno grungy like party vibe kind of deal to it.
Some bands go and find somebody that sounds like the singer they had before, and other bands say we want to start fresh, and get a guy who’s going to put his own stamp on things. Can you talk a bit about the discussion of what Saliva was looking for from you when you came into the band?
I think they just liked what I was doing. There was no auditions or anything, I mean they heard songs through a mutual friend and they were like, “We like him.” And that was it, really. I think they wanted me to kind of just do my thing, and not… I think that’s what bands tend to mess up when they do get a new singer is that they try to mold that person into the other guy, or, it just never works, you know? David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, if they’d have got another guy like David Lee Roth, I mean how would that have trumped out? That would have been quite entertaining, but, you know, it worked for them because you know Sammy Hagar was a great songwriter, he’s a great singer, so he had his own thing so it worked.
They have an established catalog of songs that they get out there and they play. For you as a musician, what song were you most looking forward to playing live, and maybe what song has surprised you the most in terms of your experience.
There’s songs like, especially ‘Click Click Boom,’ I think that’s kind of, it’s weird because the fans… like, I don’t think anybody thought that I could pull that off, or do that song. And that’s actually one of the easiest ones, I think, to do. But, I think that’s kind of a song where people are kind of judging, that’s where they’re… you know, “Can he pull that off?” But as far as like one of my favorite songs, I actually like singing ‘Your Disease.’ That’s probably my favorite old school song to sing by the band.
Getting into this record a bit more. You mention ‘Lost’ which is more of the power-ballad track. Where did that song come from, and how did that come together?
The guy that I wrote the song with, he had struggled with drugs, and he’s a really really good songwriter, good guy in Nashville. He went to rehab for like three or four years, and just, we kind of like wrote about that really. But kind of being somebody struggling with addictions, or even it could be relationship or whatever, “Lost for the last time,” just kind of standing up, you had enough, you’re done with that lifestyle, or living that way. So that’s kind of what that song’s about, but it’s more of a, to me one of the strongest lyrically on the record.
‘Closer’ is another track on here that’s a stand out song. Can you talk about that track, as well?
A relationship song, basically. That kind of came with recording the record, you know? I was kind of battling back and forth, at home, you know? With my situation. Originally we were going to do, have like a guest female on it to do the second verse, because if you listen to the verses it’s from two perspectives, first verse you know, your own perspective, and the second verse pretty much talking from their perspective. We tried, and we were going to do that, but the timing really didn’t work out so, just you know, singing those two different perspectives. That’s what that song’s about, you know? Pretty much kind of going back and forth with someone, you know? I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t want to love you anymore.
Was there a moment where it felt that you were truly part of the Saliva family. Did something just click with you, or did it happen over time?
Yea, I mean. Definitely we touring together and spending a lot more time together we became closer, and I think everything is, it’s just normal now. This is what we do. We’re a rock band, we tour for a living, and play music for a living. It’s definitely comforting and it feels like it fits. Like this is definitely it, it works.
You’ve got some tour dates coming up in support of the new album. What can fans expect from the live show?
Yeah, it’s great honestly. Our label, we got a bunch of new gear and we got our own lighting rig now, lighting setup, which is cool. A mover, our own controller, and the scrims and stuff, so I mean it’s going to be fun, man. The show’s going to look awesome, it’s going to be good.
If you want to talk about the Saliva fans, and how they’ve embraced you since you’ve come into the band.
It’s been actually really awesome. Met a lot of really cool people. A lot of fans have been there from day one. I’ve had people come up and say, “Man, I like, was literally badmouthing you and then I saw you and this is like, I got to go delete that comment now and say something good.” So it’s been good, man. There’s been a lot of, for the most part when I think people see the live show and then they see you know I think there’s energy, you know? I’m moving around, and interacting with the crowd a lot more, I think that they are into it, for sure.
You mention interacting with the crowd, was there somebody you looked up to…
I was always into a lot of different singers growing up. Like Steven Tyler, Scott Weiland, and people who really moved around and you know, just had their swagger and had their thing, and I was always into that. I can’t say there’s anyone in particular I mean, I’m a fan of anyone that’s entertaining.
Anything else coming up that we haven’t covered?
Just in 2014 we’re going to tour massively, going to see a lot of shows, man. They just keep stacking up, so I don’t see any time off for awhile. So there’ll be some package tours, I think they’re talking about tours, like late summer and stuff and other summer festivals we’re adding. Going to Russia, which will be cool. We’re going to try to do some more international stuff, and that’s pretty much that.
Our thanks to Saliva’s Bobby Amaru for the interview. The ‘Rise Up’ album arrives on April 29 and fans can order the disc at iTunes and Amazon. You can also catch them on tour this spring and into the summer. Their current dates can be found here.