By Kelley Simms
Memphis rockers SALIVA had to revamp its sound in early 2012 after its original singer Josey Scott exited the band. Enter Jacksonville musician Bobby Amaru. After two albums, the multi-instrumentalist/vocalist has fit in nicely. However, replacing an original singer is one of the hardest things a band has to endure. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on the new singer coming into an already-established band. But for Bobby, he confidently took the ball and ran with it.
“I felt confident in what my abilities were as a songwriter, performer and an entertainer on stage,” Bobby said. “I wasn’t really intimidated or anything. It’s obviously a weird thing for a fan, thinking it might not work. But you kind of have to give it a chance. It was going to be different (with me as the new singer); it wasn’t going to be the same thing. I think the fans were sort of tired of the same thing as well. The records were suffering, you can tell that. The band wasn’t really vibing toward the end.”
Bobby feels that he has gradually won over longtime fans of the band due to his presence, crowd interaction and singing style. He has especially remained true to the older material.
“I definitely don’t try to mess with the older material too much,” Bobby said. “I don’t change it, but I try to add my own flavor to it. I’m not trying to get away from what that stuff was because I do know that the fans are there to hear those songs. I definitely want to do those songs justice. The fans have been really good, especially at the live shows. People tend to talk a lot more shit online. There has been times where people have come up to me after a show and told me they were literally badmouthing me on Facebook a week ago and then they now have to go and delete their comment and say something else. There has been a lot of those, which is always cool to hear.”
In It To Win It, the band’s eighth studio album, was the first album to feature Bobby. Initially, it was released on the band’s Website and is no longer available. The band’s newest album, Rise Up, features many of the same songs with new liner notes and artwork.
“It To Win It was just a limited recording,” Bobby said. “We didn’t really tell anybody, but we released it online for the fans. We couldn’t get the proper retail because it was going into the fourth quarter. We made the record in early 2013 and the goal was to release it in early October, but we had some problems with the retailer and distribution and we just figured we’d release it online for the fans. Then once we solidified the dates of when it was going to hit the stores, we were going to take it down. And that’s what we did. Those (online recordings) are a limited edition release.”
Saliva’s record label, Rum Bum Records, is owned by the Bacardi Rum family. I wondered if the band has been drinking a lot more free Rum and cokes lately.
“The guy who owns the label, Louis Barcardi, he’s in the Bacardi family. His dad and grandfather started Bacardi. He’s a rock ’n’ roll fan and into music. He’s always wanted a label. He has a racing team. He has a full-flown video production facility with top-notch cameras and editing gear. He’s got a lot going on and I think the label is just another one of his passions. The deal was great and we didn’t want to go anywhere else. We had other deals on the table and we took the best one that seemed to fit the most of what we wanted out of it.”
The song ‘Ladies and Gentleman’ from the band’s Blood Stained Love Story album has become a staple at sports arenas across North America. In fact, during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons of the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs. It was featured as a video introduction to the starting lineup shown on the Jumbotron at each home game. Although Bobby didn’t record the song, there has been many times where he has been at a live sporting event and he hears his own band’s songs.
“That happens all the time, man!” Bobby said enthusiastically. “I’m a (New Orleans) Saints fan and I went to a couple of games at the Dome. Anytime the defense make a stop, which is many times, such as last year, and they play ‘Click Click Boom.’ I probably heard it like 30 times in one game. Same thing too with ‘Ladies and Gentleman.’ You’ll hear the song going into a commercial break. It’s pretty cool. A buddy of mine has a skybox in Houston for the Texans and they play the shit out of Saliva. It’s really good sporting event music.”
2014 brings a new chapter in the band’s history and the biggest thing on its bucket list is to conquer the world on stage. The band is currently on tour now, which started at the end of Feb. and will run through mid-May. The band plans to hit the pavement a lot this coming year and will take them to many places, including Russia.
“We’re going to be touring a lot in 2014, especially with the new record out,” Bobby concludes. “We’re doing a lot of headlining shows but we’re doing some other packages too. The first one is a radio event an Orlando rock station is putting on with COLD. There’s a couple of shows we’re doing that FULL DEVIL JACKET is playing with us. We’re going to Russia, which will be fun. We’re going to be touring a lot, man.”