Return to Saving Abel

Saving Abel returns to home turf

Carey Miller

Hard rock band Saving Abel has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the small town of Corinth in north Mississippi.

It's seen a self-titled debut album go gold, had three hit singles - including Addicted, a top 20 smash - and toured with Nickelback, arguably the biggest modern rock band in the world.

The Clarion-Ledger recently spoke to guitarist Jason Null as the band prepares to head to Jackson for the first concert of the 2009 Mississippi State Fair.

Q: What's next for the band?

A: We're going to do a headline tour starting at the end of October (the upcoming "Class of 2009" tour with Red, Pop Evil and Taddy Porter) ... It's our first official headlining gig.

Q: What was the moment for you that made you realize, "We've made it"?

A: I was coming home from Memphis late at night ... on the radio it was 92.9, the Memphis rock station, and they said "Here's Saving Abel with Addicted." That was the first time I'd heard it on a major radio station like that, so I kind of cranked the volume up, sat back and just enjoyed it, you know.

Q: What was it like touring with Nickelback?

A: It was a dream come true; only a few years back I can remember being in the clubs in Tupelo with a cover band and we were playing How You Remind Me and things of that nature.

Q: I've read interviews where you mention an affinity for fellow Mississippi rockers 3 Doors Down. Are they an inspiration?

A: You always think you need to move to L.A., or do this or do that ... Well, I had a son, who's 8 now, and at the time I was thinking about moving and I realized I couldn't leave him and go off to California to pursue a music career. So there was several bands like 3 Doors Down - Saliva, from Memphis, Fuel, from Lexington, Tenn. - I realized all these bands were from my area and doing it somehow. So I knew there was a way to do it, so yeah, they were an inspiration.

Q: Are you glad to return to your home state to play at the Mississippi State Fair?

A: Anytime that we can get close to home, man, it's always great for us, because we can see family and Jackson's only a four-hour drive from our hometown.

Q: What did growing up in Mississippi mean to your music?

A: My mom introduced me to old country and '50s and '60s rock ... I can remember getting up on Saturday morning and she'd have those 45 records playing, and my brother always played guitar, so there was always an instrument in the house. He's 10 years older than me. So I got all the '70s and '80s rock from him. So then I got into music and playing it and that's when the Seattle bands hit - it's been just a wide array of musical influence for me. I think you can hear that a lot in our first record.

Q: What's in store for the fans at the show?

A: When we get the opportunity to play for 45 minutes or more, we like to have fun and we'll likely play a couple tunes that never made it to the first record, and I'm sure we'll be ready to kick out one of the new tunes by then ... coming from the Nickelback tour where we only had 25 minutes, it's really a kind of relief. I loved it, but playing five songs you're only just getting warmed up. After that's when you really start having some fun.