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Ready, willing, Abel: Saving Abel snags Aerosmith opening slot

By Eric Lochridge, Journal staff

Despite the success Saving Abel has found with its debut album, guitarist Scott Bartlett has a hard time believing the band is scheduled to open for rock icon Aerosmith.

“I think I might actually be a little starstruck,” he said.

The band’s combination of Southern rock and alternative rock has garnered it opening slots with plenty of well-known acts, but Saving Abel’s members grew up listening to Aerosmith.

“It’s insane. I mean we’ve been kind of chomping at the bit for this show. We’ve never done anything like this,” Bartlett said.

Saving Abel’s performance at the Buffalo Chip Campground will mark the band’s second consecutive year at the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Last year, Barlett said, the band got a full dose of the Sturgis experience.

“If I recall correctly, we got into a lot of trouble last year. We drove a Segway into a lake. I got into a drinking contest with the Jager girls,” he said.

Those kinds of activities aren’t necessarily a large part of Saving Abel’s usual tour itinerary, but the rally apparently brought out the band members’ rock ’n’ roll side.

“You kind of up the party ante with Sturgis. It comes with the territory,” Bartlett said.

Saving Abel’s self-titled debut album was released in March 2008 and has produced several top singles, including “Addicted” and “18 Days.” The band’s guitar-driven songs have put it into the mainstream, but Saving Abel isn’t relaxing just yet.

“We don’t have a whole lot of time to reflect on whatever success we’re having. We just kind of lower our head and go. We tour relentlessly,” Bartlett said.

That solid work ethic has paired with songs with strong hooks and choruses to attract a loyal fan base that the band hopes to build a career on.

“Lyrically, I think people can identify because they’re real-life experiences,” Bartlett said. “We’re all songwriters. We all offer something different, and it becomes this interesting sonic amalgam.”

After its Buffalo Chip show, Saving Abel plans to finish up its current tour swing with Nickelback, go into a studio to record a new album and end the year on a headlining tour.

“In the short run, we’re thinking about the long run,” Bartlett said. “We’re working on album two. We’ve definitely got about five or six songs we think are going to make it.”

Fans can expect more of the sound Saving Abel has cultivated on the new album, which could be out in early 2010.

“I’m really happy with the new stuff -- lots of guitars, guitars everywhere,” Bartlett said. “Just get ready to get hit in the face with rock.”