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Articles Home » Music Talk » Saving Abel Interview with Scott Wilson
Saving Abel Interview with Scott Wilson

Saving Abel

Interview with Scott Wilson

By Nina McCarthy


Since 2008, Saving Abel has embodied the definition of “Southern Rock” and loves to tour and bring their redneck sound and southern charm to their fans.  I had the chance to chat with bassist, Scott Wilson (formerly of Tantric and replacement of Eric Taylor in Saving Abel and an award winning music producer) and get to know more about the band and their future plans because these boys aren’t going away.  The band currently consists of Scott Austin (lead vocals), Scott Bartlett (rhythm guitar), Jason Null (lead guitar), Steven Pulley (drums), and Scott Wilson (bass).  Yes, that is a lot of Scotts, but it makes it easier to remember their names.



SW:  Are we recording?  Is there a red light?  I’m nervous.


BRR:  Yes, but I can edit it when I transcribe it, so don’t worry about what we actually say.  Saving Abel has been through some lineup changes since the original inception but personally, I think the current line up is excellent and the best I’ve heard.  Do you find Scotty (Austin, who was announced as replacement lead singer at the end of 2013) is often compared to the original frontman Jared Weeks, or has that kind of died down?  


SW:  I mean, of course there are always going to be people who try to dissect bands but in all honesty, we’re just bringing songs to people and emotions to people to get them to get away for a minute and Scotty Austin is one of the best, if not THE best entertainers on the planet. So, nobody can take anything from Scotty.  And you know, Jared is an amazing singer and everybody knows that, but I get super proud to stand by Scotty Austin every night.


BRR:  Because it is not only the singing. It is like you said, it is the whole stage presence.  He makes me laugh, he makes me cry, and he certainly looks good doing it.


SW:  Austin is the whole package. He’s a great front man, he’s an amazing singer and he’s an amazing human.


BRR:  How has your view of being independent, touring, and interacting with your fans changed over the years?  You’ve been doing this awhile.


SW:  The great thing is, since social media, everyone is more accessible. So people know about my family, they know about my life, they know that I have a dog that has three legs. They know weird stuff about me, that they didn’t stalk me to get, it’s just out there now.  So when you meet people and people buy meet and greets, you hangout or we’re out in the crowd watching a rock show, because we get to even do that sometimes, they know more about you so it is easier for people to approach you.  We love that because music is about connecting with people and we get to do that regularly.  So that helps access us to the people who just want to talk to us and hang out.


BRR: I find that the bands that are personally involved in the social media and interacting with fans after shows, like Ded for example who are totally all about that, gain more diehard and loyal fans.


SW:  They were at our recording studio, Sunshine Studios in Colorado, not too long ago.


BRR:  I love those guys.


SW:  I work with a lot of up and coming artists as a producer.  Doing that, I encourage them when we are in the studio and we’re talking about the business and “How do you this?” and “What do you do?”  I encourage local bands and bands who start out touring with bands to go to smaller venues, play the smaller venues and get a core hard rock foundation of fans and they will be with you long term.  And the only way to do that is by hanging out with them watching a rock show, just like they are, but they saw what you did, connected with you and understand it.  They love it and if they don’t, who cares?  We are all music lovers. That is why we are here.


BRR:  I also deal with a lot of up and coming bands because we deal with mostly independent musicians so I understand what you are saying.  This is how I met some of my good friends that have gone on to tour internationally.  Now, you guys are very supportive of the Armed Forces and PTSD with songs like “18 Days,” and “Drowning.”  Have any of you served and what made you decide to support this cause?


SW:  Everyone in our band has a tie to the military. My personal tie is my grandfather who was a WW2 veteran, my father was in Vietnam and my brother and I are the first two of our family on my father’s side that didn’t enlist.


BRR:  Because you were into rock and roll?


SW:  It was the music.  I was already doing music at 17 so it worked out.  But gosh, how can you not be a patriot?  As Austin says, “not a football player!”  How can you not be a patriot living in this and seeing people suffer through what they suffer through and the families that sacrifice their cousin, sister, mom, or dad, or whoever who are over there doing things?  Even just if they have to serve in the States they or if go away for a period of time, the soldiers are doing the ultimate sacrifice, but the families are also doing that as well.


BRR:  Right and they worry every day. I’ve done Adopt-A-Soldier, where I have adopted one serving overseas, and I send him care packages with various themes. One of my first packages was all music related. I had local bands give me t-shirts, CDs, download cards, or whatever merch they wanted to donate, and I threw in a bunch of snacks.


SW:  Gosh, anything to feel like you are home for a minute.  And we relate because, we are not doing the job they’re doing, but we’re gone from home, we’re gone from familiarity, there’s no “regular.”  So anytime I have friends come out it just feels great.


BRR:  Tell me about #ResolvingSAD.


SW:  We were working with a company called Pier 7, and just trying to draw awareness to PTSD and what soldiers come back to. And you know, they have been over there doing hard a job that is unbearable and they come back with a lot of issues and a lot of us in this band have been affected with that in our families.  It is just a relatable thing where we can draw attention, raise some money, help some people out.  I don’t want to say it the wrong way, but sometimes these soldiers are forgotten about from the government and their paychecks and then when they return their jobs are done. So, after certain period of time, if their enlistment is over they don’t get paid, and they’ve got to deal with these medical issues.


BRR:  I’ve heard that medical care is probably almost impossible for them to get too.


SW:  It is and one that’s a big problems is the medical facilities that deal with this are overly full and they have to turn down people who really need help.  So that is why we are getting behind this cause, to help people who helped us.


BRR:  That’s great that you acknowledge that and support the cause.

What is your favorite song to perform live and why?


SW: You mentioned it earlier, actually. It’s “Drowning Face Down.”  It’s a super fun song to play musically. It’s challenging; there’s a lot of stuff going on. “Miss America” is another one that I really enjoy. It’s very technical, so musician-wise it is fun, but whenever you kick off you know, “Addicted” you get to see these faces light up and that makes those songs fun too, you know, “18 days,” and “Addicted.”


BRR:  Exactly because everybody knows them.


SW: Or even “Sex is Good.” Our whole set, most of our fans know them and you get to see their face light up when they hear their favorite one.



BRR:  What is your opinion of the rock scene now as opposed to when you started out?


SW:  I believe this, the recession that we all went through, everybody had different things that that affected.  It affected the rock scene big time, because people didn’t have the money to put out there to go see rock shows.  Back in the day, all the labels were super thriving, gave huge tour budgets, everybody’s on three tour buses, riding around with 18 wheelers and the guys like Saving Abel, Tantric, I can name 100 bands from our era, that are still out there kicking ass.


BRR: Hinder...


SW: Hinder! All these guys, all our friends, Shinedown, I mean Breaking Benjamin, all these people.  We just kept it alive long enough with whatever scale we had to be on and everybody scaled down, big time. You know, travel in a van a lot. We were with Theory of a Deadman not long ago, and they were in a van.  Their new single had just dropped and they were in a 15 passenger van and we were in a new tour bus and we looked at each other and we’re going, “Well?” but who knows.  There is that medium now where everything is coming back to life, the recession is over, venues are paying money again, the venues are able to make money on drinks again and tickets. So it's exciting and we’re glad to still be out here and kicking ass.


BRR:  My heart is always been with the rock, like what you guys play, so it is good to see it all coming back strong.


SW: Music does circles and it never ends.


BRR:  You’re currently writing new music, so what can you share about it?  Like you said, you play old school stuff live, which I love, but I’m curious to see what’s next.


SW:  I have been writing with Saving Abel for a little over a year now, and a lot of the new stuff is in the mainstream of Saving Abel, it sounds like Saving Abel.  We’re going to start the songs and you’re going to go, “Oh yeah, ok, it is Saving Abel.”  But, it also has little bit of a twist to it, some of it where the diehards are going to love it, but it will attract some new fans too. But don’t think that we went out and changed the sound. That didn’t happen. We’re all still rednecks and love the south.


BRR:  Don’t change what isn’t broken!  Do you have any advice for up and coming bands?


SW:  The big thing that I always try to tell people is remember that when you’re recording, especially the first thing you ever put out and put down, is your business card. Before people see you, they’re looking at your social media and if you have a terrible recording, or a very half-assed recording out there, you may or may not get that fan to come.  You may not even get that gig on a national stage based on your recording.  So, I know we all have budgets and we all look for “the deal” but don’t skimp on your business card and the reflection of your music, which is who you’re supposed to be. Go out there, hire a real producer at a real studio, who can make your music the best it can be to where, when a venue gets a call saying “Hey...” let's use Sick Puppies just for an example, “...they’re coming to the venue. We need a couple openers. You fit in that vein.”  Then you send this MP3 to the venue which they have to send to Sick Puppies to approve to have you open and they go, “That’s a terrible recording. No.”  So, you have to be a pro, appear pro, and don’t skimp on the recording. That is the biggest thing.  The next thing is being personable. If you don’t want to hang out with people, do not become a musician, because that’s what this about.


BRR:  Amen!  Ego goes nowhere with me. So many bands, I may love their music, but you have ego, I don’t have the time to deal with it.  You’re currently independent, right? Is it ‘Tennessippi’?


SW:  There is label shopping going on. Tennessippi Whiskey Records is what the last record was released under, which is great, but there is label discussions now and everybody seems to wanting to bite on this record, so we’re excited.  Who knows what is going to happen.  As much as we love to be in control, there is funding coming back into music now, and we are excited that a lot of labels have shown interest.


BRR:  I’m excited to see what the future holds for you.  In conclusion, do you have anything else you like to add or any shoutouts?


SW:  I’m super proud to be out here and play music and get to represent Ernie Ball, Spector, Westone Music Products, and Orange Amplifiers. Those guys are always behind me and whatever I need they’re always there to do it.  It is huge and I always forget to do this part in an interview, but I remembered this time, so thanks to those people.


BRR:  Well, thank you for your time Scott and I look forward to Saving Abel’s return to New England again soon.


Saving Abel is currently finishing up a European Tour this month and will be heading back to the US through the end of November.  Make sure to go out and show your support!  Buy the music and merch and keep these musicians on the road!


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© Boston Rock Radio 2018


A special shout out goes to my friend Kati with her assistance in helping me with this transcription.

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