Saliva guitarist Wayne Swinny dead at 59

Wayne Swinny onstage with Saliva
(Image credit: Scott Legato)

Wayne Swinny, guitarist with nu-metal veterans Saliva, has died at the age of 59, after suffering a spontaneous brain haemorrhage while on tour with the band. The news was confirmed in a statement released by the band on social media.

The statement reads: "It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our brother Wayne Swinny. Wayne passed away this afternoon from a spontaneous brain haemorrhage while we were out on tour. Details for the funeral arrangements will be announced shortly. Wayne will be missed by all those who knew him. We love you Wayne."

"I’m not even sure what to think or how to feel right now," says frontman Bobby Amaru. "My heart aches for Wayne’s family, his friends, and anyone who had the joy of being around him. My heart aches for his daughter Nikki. He loved that little girl so much. 

"He was a guitar hero onstage with all the rock‘n’roll swag that most guitar players dream of. Offstage he was a proud father, an Ancient Aliens expert, and an incredible human who had zero enemies! He would go out of his way to make sure you had a good time. I’m grateful that I got to share almost 12 years of my life with Wayne on the stage and most importantly off the stage. 

"He was the older brother I never had. I learned so much from him and we had a fucking blast together! I will cherish it all for the rest of my life! God Bless you Wayne. I know we’ll meet again!" 

Swinny was one of the co-founders of Saliva, who formed in 1996 and released their self-titled debut album the following year before going on to sign with Island Records for a string of albums, from 2001s Every Six Seconds to 2011's Under Your Skin. Two years later came In It to Win It, the band's first album with Amaru – after original singer Josey Scott departed – and their most recent release was 2018's 10 Lives.  

The band released a new single, High On Me, in December last year, promising to "continue to release tracks and ultimately a full album in Spring of 2023."

Saliva's last show was at the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN, on March 20. Yesterday the band posted a message saying that Winny had been taken ill, saying, "Our dear brother Wayne Swinny was discovered Tuesday morning in medical distress and paramedics were called. He was transported to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a spontaneous haemorrhage in his brain. He is currently in the ICU as we await further news. We ask that you keep him in your thoughts and prayers at this time."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.