Ex-SALIVA Singer JOSEY SCOTT Explains Why He Had Initially Avoided Meeting Band's Current Frontman BOBBY AMARUDecember 13, 2022
SALIVA reunited with its original singer Josey Scott for a one-off appearance on September 11 at this year's Blue Ridge Rock Festival at the Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. Scott performed three songs with the group at the event, which also saw SALIVA play with its singer of the past decade, Bobby Amaru.
Blue Ridge marked Scott's first appearance with SALIVA since he left the band at the end of 2011 after a 15 year-run with the group, reportedly to pursue a solo Christian music career. He was quickly replaced by Amaru, who can be heard on SALIVA's last four releases: "In It To Win It" (2013),"Rise Up" (2014),"Love, Lies & Therapy" (2016) and "10 Lives" (2018).
In a new interview with the Tulsa Music Stream, Josey stated about his onstage reunion with his former bandmates: "Well, it was amazing. I love all of those guys so much. I had just met the drummer [Sammi Jo Bishop] that day, and she's a sweetheart. It was totally cool getting to meet her. I just love female rock musicians; it's just awesome to watch a woman get up there and play rock and roll and kill it the way they do… So I got to meet her. I finally ran into Bobby, because I had avoided meeting him like the plague. It's not any shade towards Bobby — it's painful. It's like watching your ex-lover with a new guy. You don't wanna see that.
"But, actually, they say God works in mysterious ways," he continued. "Well, losing my son to COVID in May of '21, one of the main people that was there for me was Bobby's father. We became really close online and he began to speak to me and just began to counsel me and really took time with me. And he's just such a loving, kind, considerate, compassionate man.
"On the months leading up to Blue Ridge, we had talked about what it would be like to see Bobby, his son, for the first time and how was that going to go down. And he had expressed that he loved his son and that he cared for me very deeply and that he wanted it to be a triumphant, beautiful meeting or whatever. And I told him, I said, 'Listen, father to father, I'm gonna take care of Bobby. I'm gonna reach out to him with just as much love and kindness as I would hope that anybody would, but certainly that his father would expect. And I will reach out to him the same way I would expect you to reach out to my sons and my daughters.
"There's this beautiful picture — not get too mushy on you — but there's this beautiful picture of me and Bobby on stage after the songs I did, and we had this beautiful hug and somebody snapped a picture and they got it back to Bobby's dad," Josey added. "And he sent me that picture, and he said, 'I just wanna thank you, because this is a beautiful moment right here.' It sort of relieved both of our anxieties."
Josey previously talked about his reunion with SALIVA in an interview in October with Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3. At the time, he said about performing with his former bandmates again: "[It was] just total magic time. Getting to play the Blue Ridge music festival there in Virginia and getting to see all those fans stacked up on what they call 'Hell Hill' was just amazing. It looked like an endless amount of people to the left and right and then as far back as you could see. My cousin actually had a beautiful photograph enhanced for me. The bass player Brad [Stewart] was actually behind me and took a beautiful picture from behind, where I was singing, and my cousin had that picture blown up for me and framed and sent to me. And it was just a beautiful encapsulation of a wonderful moment, a wonderful return to the stage. And it was just like flipping the light on. I went and lived a regular life for a while and worked a regular job and loved every second of getting back to that normality, because I needed that in my life at that time, and then going back to this guy that I play on stage has just been amazing; it's just been amazing."
Speaking in more detail about what it was like to perform in front of a large crowd again, Josey said: "It has familiarity of riding a bicycle, but it's more akin to flying a fighter jet. Once you get up there and you really get back in the cockpit of where you used to be, and with my mind not being so clouded with substances, and that, coupled with being in the gym so much and working out really aggressively for an hour and a half so that when I do get up on stage and I do go crazy for that hour or hour and a half, it's not such a hard impact on my body and I'm not worn out. That's one thing that was really precious and I was really grateful for that, is I got up there and I got three or four songs deep at different times and I wasn't winded; I wasn't wore out. I was, like, 'I've still got some gas pedal left.'"
Earlier in October, Scott told The Bay Ragni Show that he had no hard feelings about the fact that his former bandmates chose to continue with another vocalist after his departure. "I was actually grateful for the decision, for them to replace me and to find someone to carry on for the fans and to keep that music out there and to keep that music going," he said. "I'm very grateful and thankful for Bobby Amaru who's done, I think, a really great job of taking that seat.
"I try to put myself in the other person's shoes and look at it from their perspective and always look at it through the eyes of love, man," Josey continued.
"Somebody told me something one time. They said, 'Man, we're just all walking each other home in the long run.' And I just hold on to lines like that. And I try to keep things in perspective and look at things through the eyes of love — always, always, always. And I slip and I have a temper and I've definitely shown my ass a couple of times, but for the lion's share of things, I try to look at things through the eyes of love and I try to put myself in another man's shoes or a woman's shoes and think things through like that. And I couldn't be more grateful and more thankful for how things turned out, because I believe everything happens for a reason."
Scott also talked about the fact that he was supposed to be launching a career in Christian music after his exit from SALIVA. "I think I was up for anything because I was going into uncharted waters," he said. "And at the time, our management wanted to release some kind of statement. They were pressuring me and us for some type of statement, because these people have to have a reason. You can't just do it because you wanna go be a father and get sober and clean up your life and find yourself mentally and spiritually and philosophically and all that — it can't be that reason; it's gotta be some other tangible reason. So I was just, like, 'Okay, man, I might go do this.' And I thought about doing a country record. I thought about doing a blues record, being from Memphis.
"I do hold tightly to my faith — don't get me wrong," he clarified. "But I actually took a meeting with one of the presidents of one of the Christian labels, and he told me, he said, 'Josey, I'm gonna be honest with you. You're not ready to come over here.' He said, 'There's just as many snakes and vipers and sharks over here as there is over there.' And I was, like, 'Wow.' But I appreciated his honesty. And I'm not speaking for every group or individual that does Christian music — I don't believe that they're all hypocrites; I'm not saying that at all; please don't get it twisted — but I believe that he was trying to give me a warning, definitely. If I thought I was gonna go from the frying pan to the ice box, I wasn't; I was gonna go from the frying pan to the fire. So I was glad that he was honest with me and told me that. Because I wasn't ready; that was the truth."
In October 2019, Scott announced that he was returning to SALIVA, explaining at the time that he wanted to get together with his former bandmates and "write a badass record." Less than a year and a half later, in March 2021, SALIVA guitarist Wayne Swinny poured cold water on those plans, saying that the reunion with the singer "never really got off the ground."
Amaru discussed Scott's failed reunion with SALIVA during an interview with The Bay Ragni Show. Asked if he feels any "pressure" knowing that there are still ongoing discussions about a possible reunion with Scott, Amaru said: "I'm in those discussions as well, and there's nothing shady going on; it's nothing that I don't know about. It was my idea to actually say, 'Hey, you guys should do a 20-year-reunion deal.' I was an advocate for that. Wayne Swinny will tell you that. I was the one that was, like, 'I think you guys should.' And I think a lot of things just didn't pan out last year with… They couldn't get on the same page, and then Josey lost his son. It was just not a good year for anything like that."
Bobby also addressed BLABBERMOUTH.NET's previous coverage of SALIVA's reunion talks with Scott, saying: "Blabbermouth and all that stuff, that's clickbait, man, and that's stuff that… It's drama. There's too much drama in the world as is. If people wanna be fucking focused on who the fucking singer of SALIVA is — who fucking cares? Whatever. You know what I mean? There's way more shit going on, man. And typically the people that are on there are probably writing, 'Ah, I fucking hate it' or 'Who cares anyway?' They're probably… I don't know what they're doing with their life — fucking working at Subway or whatever. It's all good.
"I know that what we have, this band, we have a business; this is like a business; this is our business," he continued. "And it's also a fun business. And, dude, we're all happy doing this. We're not trying to enter drama into it or whatever. And I'm not saying that that's what would happen, but we're just not looking to change what we have going on."
When Swinny spoke to WRIF about SALIVA's failed reunion with Scott, he said that even though there were some initial discussions about Josey's return to the group, there was no follow-up to ensure that the plan was executed.
"If you wanna do something, do it," Wayne said. "But you can't just talk about it and have it magically happen. There's work, there's planning, there's stuff that goes into it, and none of that stuff was done early enough to pull it off.
"Yeah, there was some fan response, saying, 'Wow, yeah, that might be cool.' But it didn't get enough steam to take off," he explained. "All the preliminary stuff kind of got set up, and it just didn't jell.
"It just didn't make sense to stop what we [the current lineup of SALIVA] were doing and do that, because you've got momentum, we've got a groove going, the band's tight live. I didn't feel like we should give that up or give that a rest."
In December 2021, Josey took to his Twitter to write: "I want 2 apologize 2 my fans because I thought I was gonna reunite w/certain people & make u new music, & that fell through, but, I believe everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences. A blessing in disguise. Now it's just u, & me, how intimate is that?"
SALIVA released six albums with Scott and tasted platinum success and a Grammy nomination for its first big hit, "Your Disease".
In May 2021, SALIVA celebrated the 20th anniversary of its breakthrough major label debut, "Every Six Seconds", with a special project called "Every Twenty Years", an EP of classic songs re-recorded with Amaru.
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