An Interview with Paul Crosby of Saliva

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On Saliva’s fourth major label release, Blood Stained Love Story, the Memphis-based metal quintet truly comes into its own. In a move rarely seen in any band that’s enjoyed such a degree of commercial success, Saliva risks loosening its grip on the rap-metal underpinnings that previously brought them platinum sales. Instead … Love Story’s ten dynamic songs find the band moving into an almost ‘classic hard rock’ direction, adding an exciting new edge to its music while maintaining the band’s distinct identity. Drummer Paul Crosby considers that this album simply shows the natural progression of a band that’s not only been together over ten years but has continued to draw fresh inspiration from its peers. “I do think that our new record is leading towards ‘70s Arena Rock,” Paul admits.” Obviously, we don’t want to totally let down the fans we picked up on the first three records, so there are songs on the CD that are comparable to “Click Click Boom” and “Your Disease.” At the same time, there are some very ‘70s-inspired power ballads and rockers on here.” Crosby adds that Saliva feel fortunate to have been able to make four albums with the same label behind them. “I think it has to do with standing the test of time,” he says. “With any luck, we will continue to grow as time goes by.”

Metal Edge: Blood Stained Love Story reunites Saliva with producer Bob Marlette. What does Bob bring to your drum parts?

Paul Crosby: Bob’s like the sixth member of the band – we call him “The Guru” (laughs). He gives us that extra kick in the butt to take things to the next level. Bob’s made me understand how less can actually be more with my drumming. He puts a leash on me and keeps me from over-playing by putting huge fills where they shouldn’t be. By showing me how to keep the songs simple and pick my moments to shine, Bob has definitely made me a smarter player.

Metal Edge: How were your drum tracks recorded? Did you use a scratch track or cut them on your own?

Paul Crosby: First, we wrote with Bob for about two weeks, and then went into the studio. In the studio, we had just the basic ideas down and Wayne Sweeny, our lead guitarist, cut scratch guitar tracks to the click [that I play to]. Then, I just did the drums without guitar or vocals. I can see how doing that might be challenging to some drummers, but that’s the way I learned. Every time I’ve ever worked with Bob that’s how we’ve done it, since day one. To me, it feels natural.

Metal Edge: Did you rehearse any of the songs first so that you could hear in your head where the vocals were going to lay?

Paul Crosby: To be totally honest, every record’s been a bit different. On some of our records, we just all got in the room together and wrote every single part of all the songs, so we knew what everything was going to sound like when we went in. But on this record, I didn’t even hear any lyrics until after the record was done. We wrote all of the music, and Josey [Scott, vocalist] was there with us at pre-production, but he was just coming up with melody line ideas, harmonies and stuff. He recorded all the lyrics after we tracked.

Metal Edge: How are you playing the part on the intro to “Never Gonna Change”? It sounds like it’s all cymbals and rim clicks.

Paul Crosby: That’s actually a drum loop at the very beginning. I recorded that little loop on my 10-inch snare, which is great for that kind of part because it sounds very high pitched and poppy. Then I come in at the beginning of the first pre-chorus. “Never Gonna Change” is going to be our second single. We’re very excited about it

Metal Edge: Beyond the loops, are you using triggers or electronics live?

Paul Crosby: I just use acoustic drums. The drum loops in the songs are all on sequence, so I can just hit a button and the loops pop in. Also, I play to a click track and that’s how everything stays synced-up. There is a tiny loop and little bit of electronics on “King of the Stereo” but more on “Never Gonna Change.” I’ve been tinkering around with the idea of adding electronics [to my kit], but I haven’t full committed to that yet.

Metal Edge: Are you still playing a double bass set up?

Paul Crosby: Yes. For Survival of the Sickest I had gone back to a single bass, but I just got my new Mapex kit and I’m back to playing two kick drums again. I like the way that looks and feels. To me, two separate drums sound better. A double pedal is great, but one beater is always touching the heads, so it cuts off a little bit of the resonance. If you use two bass drums you’re getting the full resonance of both drums and both heads.

Paul’s Gear:
Drums: Mapex Saturn Pro
Sizes: Two 22” x 20” Kick Drums, 12” and 13” Rack Toms, 16” Floor Tom, 14”x 5 ½” Snare and10” x 5 ½” Snare
Cymbals: Meinl
Heads: Remo
Sticks: Vater

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Paul Crosby Saliva

This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine as part of a monthly column by Gail Worley (under the pen name Jayne Rollins). With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.

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