Saving Abel's Scott Bartlett on vodka shot face-offs, biting asphalt in North Dakota and his most memorable rock 'n roll party
What happens when you mix Jäger, vodka and the raging testosterone of a 6'3", 230-pound guitarist of a rising southern rock band? We caught up with Saving Abel’s Scott Bartlett to get the full story on his most memorable “party like a rock star” moment:
The best one that comes to mind was on our way to play Sturgis for the first time. I don’t remember much of it, but this is the story the rest of the band recalls….
We get on the bus for the long drive out west, and the last thing I remember is getting into a drinking competition with this team of Jäger girls. They each did five shots, and there were four of them, so I did 20. Mind you, this was at the height of my drinking, so I was in good shape. They were little shots, but needless to say it got a little hairy after that.
At this point, I’m just sitting on the bus wasted. I can barely fucking stand up. Our bus driver said, “I’ve driven Skynyrd, AC/DC, and I’ve never had to stop a bus because a band member couldn’t sit without falling down and knocking his head on the floor.” Our other guitarist was just trying to egg it on, so he challenged me to a drinking competition. Clearly I’m already done, but he brings out a fifth of vodka, which I don’t really drink, and there’s a third of it left. He’s pretending to pull off the bottle but was actually just doing the bubble trick and not drinking it. So then I say, “Lemme show you how I do this where we’re from” and finished it. And that’s when our guitar tech at the time, who is as much a degenerate as anyone I know (love him to death, but you know), he runs up to the front and was like “I’m actually worried about Scott.” That’s when we stopped the bus.
Mind you, we’re in the middle of North Dakota off the highway. Nothing but fields. Apparently they stopped the bus, and I decided I was just gonna take off sprinting through this field. (I really wish we had the Flip Cam back then.) I take off running and then finally, after who knows how long, I come running back to the bus and apparently just eat shit on the asphalt. Scratched my entire face, everything, just laying there in the middle of the road, laughing maniacally.
Somehow they get me back on the bus, and everybody’s screaming at our other guitarist for bringing out the vodka. They say I was just lying on the floor like a dog at this point, and our guitar tech brought over a doggie dish and was like, “If you’re gonna act like a dog, drink like a dog.” So I was doing that, drooling on myself…it was all very sexy. Then our guitarist Jason came into my bunk to hug me to apologize, and I took it the wrong way. I just snapped and grabbed him by the neck and flung him into his bunk. Then he grabs a nail file and goes straight for my jugular to defend himself, and I catch his hand. To paint the visual, I’ve got a hand on his neck, and I’ve got his hand in my hand holding the file back from my crotch and the bus is just rolling down the freeway.
They go get our bus driver, who was this ex-military security guy, and he stops the bus again and comes back and sees me. He tags me in a pressure point, and I just go down like a sack of bricks. And that’s where I woke up the next day.
What can I say? I’m in a rock band—my body likes alcohol. We’re a southern rock band, we’re that band that drinks too much whiskey and fights each other. And I’m just one of those people that when I’m wasted, I’m kind of like the life of the party. Thank god we had a day off the next day before the concert. I was fine. My body has a way of bouncing back. The human body is a resilient thing.
Saving Abel is currently on tour. Keep up with Saving Abel via the band’s website, and check out Scott Bartlett’s new ink-inspired clothing line at tatcodesign.com.