While not admitting that their music is formulaic, there are a few main ingredients to Saliva's music. Frontman Josey Scott relayed the recipe.
"You gotta have good beats," the Memphis native said. "When we get into the studio, the beat has got to make you bob your head. Then we lace it with some bad-ass riffs and put a phat hook on it. [With the lyrics], we talk about stuff that happens in our lives. We're just regular guys, regular people. We're not a--holes. We're not arrogant pr---s like a lot of these people out here. We get our hearts broken. We fail at some things. We're insecure at some things. We're very powerful at some things.
"We like to f---, fight and rock and roll, basically."
The video for "Survival of the Sickest," the title track and first single off Saliva's fourth album, due August 17, essentially holds that classic rock course. Shot July 20-21 by director Wayne Isham ('NSYNC, Metallica), the plotline follows two girls as they head out to the Saliva show — only their final destination isn't the front row. It's backstage.
A bit of eyelash-batting directed at roadies and bouncers, and the hotties make their way backstage to the VIP area to await Scott's arrival. After they employ some innovative ways to pass the time, Scott shows up and joins them. But just before things get really interesting, he slams the door in the camera's face, leaving viewers to rely on their own imagination for the seedy details.
" 'Survival of the Sickest' kind of sets the tone for the rest of the record," Scott explains. "It just tells the rest of the world — the haters and the doubters that tried to dismiss us as a rap-rock band or whatever — that we're still here."
While Saliva's 2001's major-label debut, Every Six Seconds, sold more than 815,000 copies and featured a bounty of raps and hip-hop beats,the genre's prominence faded a bit before Saliva's next album dropped. Nevertheless, the band hung in there and moved more than 619,000 copies of 2002's Back Into Your System. Given the popularity of "Survival of the Sickest" (the tune is a top-10 rock single) Saliva's latest should have a decent shelf life.
The band took a different approach in the time leading up to the recording of the album. Rather than enter the studio and devise the album spontaneously — which often leads to a hasty and very expensive recording session — Scott and his bandmates were well rested and well prepared this time out.
"We kind of chilled out on the partying a little bit, chilled out on the girls," he said. "On our last tour, I personally got in the back of the tour bus with a little Wal-Mart tape recorder and just started beating these songs out. So when we went into the studio this time, I was prepared. I had 25 songs ready to go.
"I had honed and sharpened my sword, so I could stab it through every f---in' person that I can't stand out there," the large, angry frontman added.
Scott is excited to see his new clip completed. He's not looking for something as ambitious as a "TRL" staple, however. All he's hoping for is a chance.
"All I'm asking for is for MTV to give me my stage, give me my 10 seconds, or 15 seconds, or whatever you call it," he said. "Put me on MTV, and I'll rock that f---in' party."