At the end of 2013, the band announced that one of the founding members, frontman Jared Weeks, was leaving the group to pursue a solo career. Some people expected the band to call it quits as soon as that was announced, but that was never a thought for one of the hardest working groups in rock. With Weeks electing to leave, the band picked up a new frontman in Trash The Band's Scotty Austin, dusted themselves off, and kept going. Not only is Saving Abel still running, they're working harder than ever with tour dates scheduled from February to September, work in the studio on off days, and a new single called "Love Like Suicide" already out and released with their new vocalist. It's been a crazy few months for Saving Abel, and if all goes right, things will keep going that way. Talking with Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett recently, he discussed a number of topics with Alternative Addiction, the first being how and why Weeks decided to leave Saving Abel.
"He just said he wanted to go in a different direction," said Bartlett when asked why Weeks left the group. "He wanted the freedom to write for himself. The singer tends to have a more powerful voice in the band because he's the voice of what you're doing. Jared had some stuff that he was writing that didn't fit with Saving Abel, and I think he recognized that. We all have stuff that we write on the side, but Jared wanted to make his stuff his sole focus. He wanted to start a solo career with just his songs, and I can't blame him for that. We just told him that we will support him because we're brothers, but we have to keep going without you. Tears were shed, and here we are now."
Since Weeks left the band found a replacement in Scotty Austin. Saving Abel and Scotty's other group, Trash The Band, share management and it was a logical decision to give Austin a chance to take over for Weeks in Saving Abel. Bartlett discussed meeting their new vocalist for the first time.
"The first time he came by the house he looked me right in the eye and said, 'I'm not Jared Weeks.' I thought that was great. We just did three records with Jared, we don't want a carbon copy. That part of our career is over, it ended on a high note, but it's over. We went over some things and it was clear we were going to be able to work together. Since then, people have been very receptive with Scotty coming on board. There's been a few haters, but you're always going to get that and we're used to it. But with Scotty, we still work the same way and write the same way, there's just a different voice on top of the music now."
The first song that has come out of Austin fronting the new Saving Abel is the band's new single, "Love Like Suicide." Like a lot of this process with bringing in a new singer and getting him up to speed, the guys in Saving Abel were nervous about writing new music at first, but only just long enough not to be nervous anymore.
"We weren't sure how it was going to work for our first writing endeavor. We were bouncing ideas off of each other and we came up with this hook, she's got love like suicide. We ended up not wanting to make it about a girl. We wanted to make it about the fact that we've been doing this a long time and we're still just dumb enough to keep doing it. With this business, you sacrifice parts of life that a lot of people take for granted - wives and kids - you don't get to see them. Music is what you do, not just as a livelihood, but as a passion. It's a way of life. She's got love like suicide; 'she' refers to music, and just that we can't stop doing it," added Bartlett.
Saving Abel's passion for their music has been reinvigorated by the new lineup, the single speaks to that. Not only do they have a new frontman in Austin they also have a new drummer with Steven Pulley taking over for Michael McManus. The new lineup has reenergized Saving Abel. The tour that they're on right now promoting the single has gone phenomenally well and they have tour dates scheduled all the way through September.
"We've got a whole U.S. to prove that we're still here and we can still kick ass. We've sold out 80 percent of our shows on this tour so far, all of the promotors and fans are happy. We're coming out and partying with our fans like we used to in the beginning. It's breathed new life into this band having new personnel. We've got a whole country to prove that to, not just the areas that have been good to us in the past. That's through no faults of Jared. Sometimes it just takes a transition to remind us how lucky and blessed we are to be able to do what we love for a living. Last I checked Jared was doing great in Nashville, and I couldn't be happier for him, same goes for the rest of us, but we're going to keep this train rolling."
Saving Abel will be working on new music in April to release by the end of the year. They will also be on the road through the end of the year. You can see the upcoming Saving Abel tour dates go to SavingAbel.com. You can also download the band's new single, "Love Like Suicide" for free, you can do that here.