Wayne Swinny: Saliva band guitarist dead at 59 - cause of death, will Spring Mayhem tour continue?

Swinny’s guitar work with Saliva helped define the band’s sound and contributed to their success

(Photo: Instagram/@saliva)(Photo: Instagram/@saliva)
(Photo: Instagram/@saliva)

Wayne Swinny, the guitarist for rock band Saliva, has passed away at age 59 after experiencing a brain haemorrhage while on tour.

The Tennessee group announced on their Facebook page on 22 March that Swinny had passed away while they were on their Spring Mayhem tour.

“It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our brother Wayne Swinny,” the statement said, adding that the guitarist would be “missed by all those who knew him”.

But who was Swinny, and what were his contributions to Saliva, and the rock scene more broadly? Here is everything you need to know about him.

Who was Wayne Swinny?

Wayne Swinny was a guitarist and songwriter best known for his work with the rock band Saliva. He was born on 15 July 1973, in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Arkansas. He started playing guitar when he was 14 years old, and was influenced by guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

After playing in various bands in his hometown, Swinny moved to Memphis in the mid-1990s to pursue his music career. It was there that he met Saliva’s lead singer, Josey Scott, and the two began playing together. Swinny officially joined Saliva in 1997, and the band released their debut album, ’Saliva’, in 1997.

Over the next two decades, Swinny played on all of Saliva’s albums, with some of the band’s most popular songs featuring his guitar work including ‘Click Click Boom’, ‘Always’, ‘Your Disease’, and ‘Rest In Pieces’. These songs helped the band achieve mainstream success in the early 2000s and earned them a loyal fanbase, and they toured extensively throughout the United States and around the world.

Throughout his career with Saliva, Swinny received several accolades, including two Grammy nominations for Best Hard Rock Performance for the songs ’Your Disease’ and ’Rest In Pieces’. He also played on the soundtrack for the movie Spider-Man with the song ‘Hero,’ which was a collaboration with Chad Kroeger of Nickelback and Josey Scott of Saliva.

In 2019, Swinny announced that he was leaving Saliva to focus on his solo career and other projects, releasing several solo singles and collaborating with other artists.

He was also known for his philanthropic work, including supporting the United Service Organizations (USO), which provides support to military service members and their families, and the MusiCares Foundation, which helps musicians in need.

Overall, Swinny’s guitar work with Saliva helped define the band’s sound and contributed to their success, and his collaborations with other artists and his philanthropy made him a respected figure in the music industry.

How did he die?

Swinny passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59 after suffering a brain haemorrhage, with Saliva announcing on their Facebook page that Swinny had died while they were out on their Spring Mayhem tour.

The band wrote: “It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our brother Wayne Swinny. Wayne passed away this afternoon from a Spontaneous brain hemorrhage 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.”

The band had previously revealed that the guitarist was undergoing treatment in an intensive care unit just hours before his death.

“Our dear brother Wayne Swinny was discovered Tuesday morning in medical distress and paramedics were called,” the band said in a statement prior to Swinny’s death. “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.”

Plans for the rest of the tour and whether it will continue in Swinny’s absence have not yet been announced by the band.