Saving Abel Revisited

I can honestly say, there may have been no better early find in the history of than Saving Abel. I mean, the fine country gentlemen out of Corinth, Mississippi, have more than blown up since our chat in March of 2008, nearly 3 years ago. The household name and act behind "Addicted" were in the middle of their roll to super stardom then, already signed by Virgin Records. It wouldn't be long after our chat that "Addicted" was blasting on every major radio station in the country - and now they have a second record that dropped this past summer titled "Miss America" (that hit #1)... and a new one on the way this year. No doubt - they've been busy. You probably know all about the Saving Abel of today, but read on to learn a little more about these good guys back then.

XXQs: Saving Abel – Jared Weeks (PEV): Hey Jared, how’s everything going?

Jared Weeks (JW): Everything is going great man. I’m actually right in the middle of the continental divide and freezing my ass off in Wyoming. We don’t get this kind of snow in Mississippi and it is really cold dude.

PEV: So, are you on break right now?

JW: We’re actually with the Sick Puppies tour but they took a five day break, so we are doing a radio show for a Salt Lake City, Utah station. They wanted us to do a headlining show down there. We drove down to Salt Lake City and now we are going to meet back up with the Sick Puppies in Madison, Wisconsin.

PEV: You mentioned you grew up in, wait, I don’t want to mess it up… Corinth, Mississippi-

JW: Yeah man, you got it! Most people say like, Corneeth, or Cornathe or something but yeah you got it man.

PEV: What kind of music were you listening to growing up?

JW: Man, I did the whole church thing growing up in the bible belt, you know. Basically when my eyes were open, like way open, was when I started listening to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, any kind of blues. That’s like the best music to feel. It’s expressed through the guitar. But I’m a real Stevie Ray Vaughn fan – southern rock at its best.

PEV: How did Saving Abel first come together?

JW: Well Jason, the lead guitarist, we were at a concert and he goes to me, ‘Can you sing, can you play?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I can do both.’ We got together, wrote music acoustically, just sitting for like 6 hours a night, 4 nights a week, just drinking a bottle of wine. The hard thing was the only way we could hear the music was to play it. So we got what money we had and went to Nashville to record in a studio. So, we went in there-paying customers and started tracking a song called “Beautiful Day.” And Skid walked in there and he liked it. And about two weeks later, Skid was like, ‘I’ve never done this before but we’re going to give you guys a production deal.’ Basically, he was going to build a band around me and Jason. If we got signed, all that he asked was to do the next two albums and, if not, then he’d do the album for free. So, we thought that was fair and we took it and started tracking immediatley.

We started holding auditions right there in the studio. Scott Bartlett, which is our lead guitarist musician, who came in just to lay some tracks down, was basically told, we either pay you for what you’ve done or join the band and I’m sure within six months we’ll have this band signed or on the road. It took a little more than six months, but it happened. Then we got in touch with the other guys involved and next thing you know, I’m sitting in the continental divide, heading to a show in Wisconsin.

PEV: How have your friends and family reacted to all your success?

JW: I’ve got a great family, man. And there has been a lot of stressful times, you know – down to my last dollar kind of times. But my family has always had my back and believed in what I can do. I mean, my whole family are musicians. Even on a Saturday afternoon, we go in the back, play guitar, smoke some cigarettes and just play whatever we got. My family is totally excited about it and know what we’ve had to go through. And it’s now paying off. My friends are real excited and they look at it a little different in that they were only there since Saving Abel started, and my family was there in the beginning of it all, but they are still excited.

PEV: I read this quote from you: “You know when you hear a song on the radio and you don’t know who it is, but you love it and feel like you’ve heard it before? That’s our band!” Tell us about the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio.

JW: On the radio. Well, actually the acoustic thing, Jason and I were doing… there is a song called “Beautiful Day.” The song is on the album. In this town man, you kind of know people and stations and stuff. And we dropped some off at the stations. I was at the hospital, I used to be a phlebotomist, I’d draw people’s blood, which is weird and another story (laughs). But, I was in the break room and they had the radio playing local stations and it was Jason and I playing “Beautiful Day.” Just the two of us, playing acoustically. As far as the first band track goes, there was a song called “Beautiful You.” I was cleaning my room – I remember it like it was yesterday and it came on. I just cranked the volume up and ran out the house. My dad came out and was like, ‘What is that!’ I was like ‘Dammit, that’s us man!’ So, he got excited with me, man. Yeah, I remember it like it was yesterday.

PEV: The new album, “Addicted,” is already doing great. What can fans take away from the album?

JW: I hope that when people listen to it that they see we’re from Mississippi and we’re not just picking our banjos. That we are really serious about what we are doing and have something good going on… that we got an edge to our music. Also that there is a familiarity to it – you’ve heard it before and it’s really radio friendly and off the wall rock. I hope they get the serious side of it and know that we’re not playing around. And as long as they keep listening, we’re going to keep on playing. I hope they walk away with some sense of what we’re about.

PEV: Are you surprised to see how fast the song “Addicted” is catching on?

JW: Yeah, actually I am. I know it is a good song but it is really hard to tell in this business, what is good, or what will catch on, you know? But it depends on the people, if they like it or not. If you like it, it gets played. I’m totally surprised with how well it’s doing and I am not taking it for granted.

PEV: You talked about how you worked in the hospital, did you ever belt out any tunes in the hospital?

JW: Man, I used to sing to the older women. I don’t mean to put them in a category, but they were always my favorite. They are the sweetest old ladies man. But yeah, all the time I’d be at work at 4:00 in the morning and no one appreciates the phlebotomist job; you got to wake them up and then stick a needle in their arm and draw blood, so I never got a thank you. But there will be a couple of times when I’d be humming a song and coming up with something. People would be like, ‘What are you doing here? Why are here drawing blood? You should be out there singing’. And then I would tell them about the story of the band. Dude, sometimes I would just sing to the old ladies and they loved it! I wasn’t flirtin’ or nothing like that but they gave me an appreciation for what I do. They would ask me to sing songs for them and if you can just give somebody that sense of comfort it’s the least that I can do. I mean to give someone on their dying bed comfort, you know. It was good practice, too.

PEV: How is this album different than other albums out today?

JW: Well, I think that most the other southern rock bands that come out, they play off the whole, “We are from the south. This is what we do. I’m going to play off the whole culture…” And we definitely have the south on our side but we have an edge that you’ll know it. I really think they are going to catch onto it. Some people walk up to us after a show and they are like, ‘I didn’t know you were that band that sang that song’. I get all the time, ‘Where are you from?’ and I tell them, ‘We’re from Mississippi’ and they are just like, ‘I could never tell!’ My dad was born in Chicago and spent half his life there. He’s got a mixture of an accent. And I get all the time that people can’t tell I am from Mississippi. But I really think this album, to me, is like the “Thriller” album. We have about seven or eight singles on this album alone!

PEV: What’s the best and worst part about road life?

JW: The best part is that, well, I don’t get to see too much – I’m from a small town… All we see are hills and gravel roads. Traveling through like, northern California, like Napa Valley, it is so green out there and mountains everywhere. Just taking it all in and experiencing it, I don’t think I can ever get tired of it. That is some of the pros. Some of the cons are just being in a fifteen passenger van with six other guys! It’s hard to come by a shower or just get along with everyone. I mean, you ride in a van so long you just want to step outside and catch your breath. But it’s fun. Maybe we’ll get a tour bus one day! We’re just hoping that happens.

PEV: When you get a chance to kick back and relax, what do you like to do in your spare time?

JW: Man, I like to just sit down and write new music. I like to write old music too! I do a lot of cardio work too. We got a lot of weights and stuff here. But when I am on the road, I like to get out and see as much as I can. I mean you only live once, right? You got to take it all in as much as you can. I just like to go see what is going on.

PEV: Is there a certain kind of atmosphere or zone you have to get into when you sit down to write?

JW: Definitely dude. You know, we can all sit in a van and write but sometimes I like to be by myself. That way my thoughts are my own with no other influence going on. Maybe sipping on a brew, smoking a cigarette, the best way I know how. Sometimes it just hits you walking through a McDonalds or something. I’ll grab a napkin and just write it down.

PEV: What’s something we’d be surprised to hear about the guys in Saving Abel?

JW: Something that would be surprising to hear about Saving Abel… Well, Scott’s a workout buff; he’s totally huge. Hell, I don’t know man… we just do what we do. We all like to write music and feed off each other. As far as writing, Blake will come up with something and we’ll write it down. We’re just dudes from the south: chill, relax, and get along with anybody… anybody!

PEV: Is there someone you haven’t collaborate with that you would like to?

JW: “3 Doors Down” is my number one favorite source. Brad Arnold, he’s the reason why I’m sitting here right now. I so want to hook up with those guys and play with them. Plus just soak up as much from them as I can. I mean, they’ve been doing this for so long and kicking ass, you know, I mean, I would love to collaborate with them. They have an album coming out this summer and it would just make my year to hook up with them some how.

PEV: Is there a band more up and coming you think we should all be listening to?

JW: There’s a cool band now I like called “Airborne”. They’re like an AC/DC almost… really balls to the walls rock. I totally dig the Airborne guys.

PEV: So, what’s next for Saving Abel?

JW: Well, we’re going to finish up this tour with the Sick Puppies. We’ve got shows in May in Memphis, “The Memphis In May Concert.” We’ll be taking the stage with Seether and Disturbed, which is totally awesome. One of the main things we’re focusing on now is our live show. When people are there to see us, we want them walking out with Saving Abel t-shirts and talking about us. It’s going well, I’m proud of these guys. We’re going up!

PEV: I appreciate you taking out the time with us. Thanks a lot man. Best of luck, love the songs.

JW: Awesome dude, we should see you when we come through man! See the live show!

PEV: Count on it man, thanks!

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