Southern rock was the name of the game when vocalist Jared Weeks and guitarist Jason Null formed the band Saving Abel in their hometown of Corinth, Miss.

"I looked up to bands that were from Mississippi like Three Doors Down," said Weeks during an interview from a stop in Peoria, Ill. "(Three Doors Down lead singer) Brad Arnold was very influential in my life. I mean they were the band from Mississippi that had it and got to the big time."

In addition, Weeks was inspired by other southern blues players — Louisianan Kenny Wayne Shepherd and late Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"I liked their sound," said Weeks. "And while Jason and I wanted to make music that sounded like us, we did not hide the fact that we had influences. We did not want to emulate or imitate them, but we did let those influences come out in our own music."

The band's self-titled album was released in March, almost two years after the band's self-titled extended play CD.

"On our EP, we had a Wallflowers-meets-Black Crowes country thing going," said Weeks. "But by the time we got songs ready for the new album, we had written a song called 'Addicted.' And that pretty much changed us to what we are now, a more hard-rock sound.

"Yeah, there are some songs that were on the EP that are on the new album, but 'Addicted' is the turning point."

The band — which includes guitarist Scott Bartlett, bassist Eric Taylor and drummer Blake Dixon — worked with producer Skidd Mills.

"Skidd has done albums with ZZ Top and Robert Cray and Saliva," said Weeks. "And he was only 80 miles away from us. So we brought him the rough cut for 'Addicted' and he helped us get the song going. He set us in the direction."

Bartlett was recruited during those recording sessions, said Weeks. "We hired Scott to do leads on the album, but Skidd talked with us and we all agreed that Scott needed to be in the band."

"Addicted" charted at No. 79 on Billboard's Hot 100 and was No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock charts.

"Things have happened to us in the past months," said Weeks. "We are touring in busses now. We no longer have to tour and sleep in a van and wake up surrounded by fast-food garbage and nachos."

If you go:

What: Saving Abel, Rev Theory

Where: Avalon, 3605 S. State

When: Monday, 6:30 p.m.

How much: $12

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com


E-mail: scott@desnews.com