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Saving Abel talks touring, rock and live shows
By Gary Darling
American rock band Saving Abel is touring the country. Gary Darling spoke with Jared Weeks.
1. Where did the name “Saving Abel” come from?
There was a point in our career, right before we starting book dates and stuff, in our small hometown of Corinth, Miss., where we had five dudes in a room trying to come up with a name of a band. You get a lot of different opinions going on. Our guitarist, Jason Null, was actually Googling the story of Cain and Abel in the bible and one of the options that came up was “there was no saving Abel from his brother Cain.”
I remember him telling the story and that part kind of just stuck out to him and sang to him. So he brought it to the rest of the band and we went with it. By that time we had gigs booked and the album out, and you can’t even book gigs without a name. We are glad the name stuck.
2. How would you describe the band’s sound?
It is definitely Southern blues-driven rock and roll. We’re a Southern band, no doubt about it. You can tell by seeing us live and listening to the CD. It’s good music and real versatile. We got rock 'n’ roll and ballads for days. That’s what I like about us. We are just versatile, we can grab just about anyone’s attention.
3. Have you been surprised at the early success of the band?
Absolutely! Have I been surprised? Are you kidding me, man? We’re blessed to be where we are. We get to travel around the whole country. We been around here at least 12 times. We’ve gotten to see so many things. None of that would have been possible without the fans and the radio stations and all the interviews and us just working our tails off. I am really proud of where we are. We’ve come a long way and we are still going. We are progressing as we go. Thank God, because we are not the band that has an ego.
4. What separates “Saving Abel” from the other rock bands out there?
The way I look at it, the bands we have been out with, everyone is just a big family. We all tour together. Some work harder than others and some have better songs than others. I think what separates us from the rest is just, meet us. Just come up and meet us. We pretty much get along with everybody. Not saying that everyone else doesn’t but sometimes you have bad days on the road and whatnot. We always bring it and never cancel a show. We continue to do things like that. We’ll keep playing if the fans will keep listening. We are committed to this.
5. What can a fan expect when seeing this band live?
I’ll quote the bald-headed guitarist in our band, Scott Bartlett. This is what he said because we have been asked that question before. What he said was, “Balls out, rock show!” Come ready to get your faces knocked in because we come out banging. We don’t have enough money to get the pyrotechnics. We definitely come out rocking pretty hard. Also that is where the versatility of this band comes into the picture, we’ll come out and blow the stage off and then slow it down and pick it up. Any way we want to go with it. It’s getting better and better.
6. What brought about the “Class of '09” tour?
Our management came up with the “Class of 09” tour basically for us to headline. What we are trying to do with it is pick some of the “freshman” bands, the new bands, that got in the top 10 or on the Billboard charts. Whatever, you name it. Just to get them all together and go out on a tour with them. We plan on doing that every year with the new bands. We thought it would be a good idea or at least to get something started like that. Who knows maybe four or five years from now it will still be going on. Hopefully, absolutely.
7. What has been the highlight of the tour so far?
Touring with Nickelback has been the highlight for me. I got to meet all those guys and hang out with them. We were out with them for four months. I remember playing in an amphitheater in California. It was just amazing. It overlooked the Columbia river and it was called “The Gorge.” It was totally awesome. Just meeting people like that and seeing that they are normal and just like us. They get up and wash their clothes, too. It really helps absorbing it all in. It helps me to want to be that way, to be more like them.
8. Being the headliner, do you feel a lot of pressure to deliver a good show every night?
Not really pressure though. It’s guaranteed, it’s already a given, you know. That’s how we go into every show, that’s how we look at it. Pressure comes from all different angles. Comes from the shows and it comes from being on stage. Pressure, though, no because it’s just a given that it’s going to be a good show.
9. As the headliner, how much did you contribute to picking who would open for you?
What we did is we asked a few bands to come out with us. We just pitched it out if they wanted to be a part of this tour. A lot of them were already booked and going out and doing their own thing.
What we did was, we used to tour with Pop Evil on the Puddle of Mud tour and we had also done a few shows with Red. We also went out and got a band Taddy Porter. We have done a lot of shows with those guys. They’ve opened for us plenty of times. So we are really good friends with them. They had just gotten their album out. We have the same producer as well and they were putting their album out so we wanted to help those guys out too. So we are bringing them with us.
They totally have a different sound. It’s original like “back in the day” Led Zeppelin sound, but it’s new. I’m really interested in seeing how far these guys can go and what they are going to do on stage in front of all these people.
10. What song would you say represents Saving Abel the most from your self-titled album?
I would say “Drowning Face Down” because that song right there, we wrote that when we were still working 40 hours a week and getting off at five. Then driving to Memphis for recording and then driving back. Going to bed then getting up for work at 4 a.m. again. It just kind of just brings us back to the moment. I’ve heard Jason Null say that as well. Like where we’ve come, from there to here and what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished. It represents that, we’re humble and appreciative.
11. Which song is the most fun to play on tour?
The most fun to play would be “Addicted.” It would have to be. Because of the reaction you get from everybody. From the moms and the daughters, I don’t even sing, I just let them sing to me, I just save my voice. It’s working out really well.
12. When can fans expect the next album?
I tell you what. That’s what we are doing right now. ... We’re recording for the next album. It should be out; well, we have a single coming out in the late winter. Then the album will come out, we haven’t set a date yet, but maybe in the springtime so we can go tour the summer with it.
13. How much pressure do you feel in duplicating the success of your first album?
Absolutely, that is where the pressure comes from. It is kind of hard to follow a song like “Addicted.” We released “18 Days” and it couldn’t even get anywhere because “Addicted” was still being played. It’s kind of hard to outdo that song. We’ve come in the studio. We’ve come up with a more edgier, more rock 'n’ roll, more head banging album. Yet, we still have our ballads and our rhythm songs. It’s going to turn out awesome. We are really excited. We just recorded these two songs and the label wanted us to go and change some stuff. So we have been up here changing it and we pleased them. We are ready to be off for at least a week cause we have been working two years straight.
14. What has been the best perk you have gotten out of your stardom thus far?
One of my favorite singers is Brent Smith from Shinedown. When we were on tour with them and Buckcherry, Brent would pull me out on stage and let me sing “The Sound of Madness” with them. I did that 10 or 12 times. Every night was just exciting and I got to do it for like a week, a week and a half. It’s just something I will never forget. I always got to share the stage with Brent.
15. Where do you get your inspiration for your music?
Every day life. Other than “Addicted,” we try to write songs that [people age] 6 to 80 can relate to. We try to write about everyday situations -- what’s going on in our lives and how we deal with things. We deal with things the same way a lot of other people do so we can connect. We can connect that way and hopefully find a good hook.
16. What bands have had the most influence on your career?
Three Doors Down. Those boys are from Mississippi and when they put out their “Kryptonite” album, I figured if they could do it, we could do it. Brad, their singer, was definitely a motivator. Bands like Three Doors Down and Shinedown, I’ve always loved those guys, and just the southern rock bands. Kenny Wayne Shepherd is another, he is from Shreveport, La., a blues player.
17. Where do you see the band in 20 years?
Probably like Aerosmith ended up. All they do is, having worked their butts off their whole lives, they get to go home and chill out. Somebody calls up and says do you want to do a show and they say, "Yeah, let’s go do a show." Get up and do the same songs, everyone goes crazy, and get to go home and rest a little bit. Then come back and do whatever you want. We just want to be around.
18. If you could tour with any band out there, who would it be?
Alice in Chains for me, right now. I’ve been listening to their new album and we got to do one show with them about two years ago. This is before they came out with their new singer, they were just playing the old Alice in Chains stuff. It was them and Velvet Revolver. Ever since then they got their new lead singer, I’ve just been obsessed with them. Then their new album came out and I’ve been listening to it. I just found out we put in a bid in the middle of February to go out on tour. We don’t know if we got that yet or not but that’s what I’m hoping. It would be awesome.
19. Is there anything you would have done differently in getting where you are today?
Absolutely not. I think some of the worst times of my life are some of the best times. Times where I learned you just have to trust up and keep going. I wouldn’t change it though because it has gotten me to who I am today and who we are today and what we stand for and what we believe in. I know it sucked at the time going through all that but wouldn’t change it because we are done, we have accomplished this and we are over it now. We are progressing onto better things.
20. What is a typical day for the band like?
It all depends. There are five of us. I like to sleep late unless I have interviews or other stuff to do. Blake usually gets up and works out and runs a little bit and plays the drums all day. Bartlett our guitar player, the bald one, he is the one that gets up and sweats out his Jack Daniels and does his barbell pull-ups. He usually does a lot of exercising, too. Jason and I usually just chill in the back playing PlayStation. Nothing really cool.
We are just waiting to get our momentum up for the show for that night. Eric our bass player is pretty much just like us. We are all just kind of chill. We are getting to the point where we can relax and realize this is our job and this is what we are going to do. So we don’t have to be stressed out and frantic.