Saliva just released their latest record Love, Lies and Tragedy. Guitarist Wayne Swinny sat down with Shockwave to discuss the Make America Rock Again tour, the recording of the new record and what new singer Bobby Amaru has done to kick start a new life for Saliva.
Shockwave Magazine: Where are you right now?
Wayne Swinny: In San Antonio tonight. The tour’s going great.
Are you doing a headlining tour right now or are you doing festival dates?
This tour we’re on now is called the Make America Rock Again tour. It’s a bunch of bands that had hits in the early 2000s. It also happens to be a lot of our good friends from the road too. Us and Trapt are co-headlining, flip-flopping back and forth each night. We’ve got Saving Abel, Tantric, 12 Stones, Crazy Town and I’m leaving somebody out which is terrible.
I think Alien Ant Farm is on this.
Alien Ant Farm! That’s it. But, I gotta tell ya, it’s going great so far but the one thing we’re going to probably need is a liver treatment at the end of the tour. [Laughs] I know there’s a lot of musicians that quit drinking and all that but we’re not one of them or our buddies in Saving Abel. Us and Saving Abel together is a recipe for disaster. We’re being as good as we can possibly be for a bunch of southern boys.
So, this tour is coming right after the release of your latest album, Love, Lies & Therapy?
Yes, that’s correct.
How did everything go with the recording?
It, actually, was a real cool process this time because we did it ourselves. I say”us” but Bobby Amaru, our singer, actually produced it, did most of the engineering, some mixing and stuff on it, so besides being a great asset as the new front man of the band, when it came to recording the record, he took the ball and ran with it. He did a great job too, man. I have to say, we’re lucky to find a guy that’s as good of a front man as Bobby is but also to be that good in the studio. It’s definitely a feather in his cap.
When it comes to some recent Saliva history, how did you find him? What’s the story for that?
Ya know, it’s the craziest thing ever. I know people probably don’t believe me when I say this but he’s literally the first guy that we checked out. When Josey (Scott) left the band we weren’t even sure if we were going to try to keep it going. Me and Paul (Crosby) and Dave (Novotny,) who was the bass player at the time, we just, kind of, threw all the gear into storage and said, “Ya know what? Lets think about this and we’ll figure out what we’re going to do later.” After a month and a half, two months Paul was calling me saying we should give it a try, at least try to find a new singer and see what we come up with. So, Paul sent out some feelers, all of our old crew guys and all of our musicians friends and the first message he got back was from our old lighting guy Jeff Riles down in Jacksonville and he said, “You gotta check out this guy Bobby Amaru down here.” Went online and saw a bunch of his old videos, songs and we met up with him and it kicked off right from the start. So, the crazy months of auditions and nightmares, we never had that. Literally, the first guy that we called was the guy.
That’s super cool that it was able to work out pretty painlessly for you.
It’s crazy, man and things are going really well. The older Saliva fans have embraced Bobby too. We’ve got the older fan base but we’re trying to build a new crowd and it’s been so long now that a lot of people just know the band as the lineup it is now. It feels good now, we’re having a lot of fun onstage every night and hopefully the crowd can see that too. Yeah, we’re lucky, man.
Sticking with the new album, of course you wouldn’t put anything out that you weren’t proud of, but I do hope you’re stoked with the final product. It’s heavy, clean and extremely well written.
Ya know, I was worried at first. Not really “worried” but you never know how it’s going to turn out because it was lower budget, we were handling everything ourselves, we knew we were going to have to cut some corners just financially at least. But again, having Bobby being able to hop in the studio and do everything real quick, really helped us out and plus, it’s giving him a medium to show everybody how bad ass he is. Hopefully people give it a shot and check it out because there’s a few songs on there that I still can’t believe is us. A lot of the songwriting on this record was Bobby because we’re all split up. Paul lives in Houston, I’m right outside of Memphis, Bobby and our new bass player Brad Stewart live in Jacksonville, Florida so getting together to actually record can be a logistical nightmare sometimes. [Laughs] But, he made it happen.
I really liked “Unshattered Me” from the new record. I really thought that one was cool.
Ya know, the original plan was to make that the second single and I’m not even sure now if we’re going to get a second single. It’s just kind of the nature of rock music now with budgets and labels but we were hoping to at least get that song to radio.
I’ve got to ask because I’m just curious. How did the choosing of “They Don’t Care About Us” (Michael Jackson Cover) come about?
Again, this is going to sound like I’m just trying to talk up Bobby but that was his idea. He wanted to do it on the first record we did together (In It To Win It,) it was on an independent label and you can’t even buy it now, it’s completely out of print. If you’ve got it, it’s like a unicorn. He wanted to do it on that record and we just had to many songs so we ended up not doing a cover on that record. For this one, we wanted to put something on there and that’s just a very topical song with everything you see on the news lately. Plus, it’s a cool song but the message of it right now hits home for everybody and it’s probably as close to any social commentary as you’ll ever get from the boys in Saliva. [Laughs]
How long does the Make America Rock Again tour go until?
I think we’re out until October 15th and then we have an entire week off [Laughs] before we hop on a plane and go to Europe for a month with Soil. No rest for the wicked.
After Europe with Soil what do you have coming up? If there’s anything you’re allowed to talk about.
Well, we were going to take December off because we always like to be home for Christmas at least but now there’s two weeks in December, I’m not sure when that starts and ends. So, literally, the rest of the year and, probably, the first half of 2017 we’ll be out in support of the new record. So, it’s basically, eat and sleep while you can and don’t complain because we filled out the application. [Laughs]
Where did you choose the name for the album from?
I’m not sure where he got it but Bobby actually had a tattoo. I think it was a tattoo of a chick with a New Orleans sugar skull motif but it said Love, Lies and Therapy underneath and it was like, “Wow! There you go. There’s the title.” It definitely matched what was going on in a couple of our lives at the time too with divorces and such things. [Laughs] It tells the story of the life of a musician, pretty much…Love, Lies and Therapy.
And, to wrap things up, what are you most looking forward to with this current tour? What are you really stoked about for this tour?
The coolest thing, besides just getting to see a bunch of our old friends from tours, is just getting to see the bands every night. All the bands are good and the songs you hear, you pretty much know every song you hear. There’s anywhere from five to seven bands every night so the sets are shorter to get everybody on and off the stage. It’s a fun show. It moves quick from band to band, just bam-bam-bam. You get to hear songs that you’re familiar with and you don’t have to sit all the way through a set to get to those songs like you normally would. We open up with “Ladies and Gentlemen” and close with “Click Click Boom” and “Your Disease” and in the middle you gotta fill the gaps but there’s no filler. It’s a good time.
Wayne, that’s awesome, man. Let me not hold you up and let you get ready for your show but thanks for taking some time and I can’t wait to see you in Baltimore.
Right on, man. We’ll definitely hang out, I’ll come find ya. Take care.
Catch Saliva on the Make America Rock Again tour until October followed by their European tour with Soil.