Scene Scribe: Lesser Known Saint pays tribute to 'Dimebag' Darrell

By Michael Swanger

There is a lot of distance between the members of Lesser Known Saint when it comes to their influences and geography, but their shared love of late metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott will close the gap Saturday in Ames when they pay tribute to the former Pantera ax-man.

It was Dec. 8, 2004, when headlines hit the airwaves that Abbott had been shot to death onstage at a Damageplan concert in Ohio. The news shocked Lesser Known Saint, whose members Jim Schloemer (vocals), Axel Aguado (guitar) and Mike Britson (guitar) reside in Minneapolis and Brendon Fuhs (bass) and Sam Wong (drums) live in Ames. That night, they began planning a tribute show that would take a year to prepare, but one that would coalesce their eclectic tastes.

"We've been so hugely influenced by this man, his music and everything about him," says Schloemer. "It took us more than six months just to come up with two sets of Pantera tunes we could agree on."

Abbott is a bit of a curious influence for alt-rockers Lesser Known Saint, though their sound includes space rock and metalcore. But Schloemer says Saturday's tribute show at Bali Satay, which marks the first time the band will play a cover tune since its formation in 2002, isn't about playing Pantera songs note for note. The bill also includes Organ Donor paying homage to Elliott Smith and Johnny Cash and the Sons of the Republic tipping their hat to The Who.

"It's about a bunch of people who have a lot of love in their hearts for 'Dimebag' Darrell and want to drink, hang out and play some awesome music," Schloemer says. "I wanted it to be a special evening where each band would do something they normally wouldn't do."

Finding middle ground during the past year between Minneapolis and Ames has been the norm for Lesser Known Saint. Earlier this year, they split time between the two cities to record their new independent album, "New Year's Project," as they continued to book Saturday night gigs in Iowa. But the release of their new album, Schloemer says, adds a little strain to the group because it wants to promote the record with more live shows.

"Now it's becoming apparent our drummer and bassist need to get their asses up here," he says with a laugh. "It's tough because everyone has legitimate day jobs, so we just roll with the punches."

Schloemer moved to the Twin Cities in August of 2004 after graduating from Iowa State University to work for an architectural firm. He says the group still practices and gigs on weekends, and though he wishes everyone lived in the same city, he says the band has never sounded better.

"I've never been happier because we're reaching a point where everyone is comfortable writing together and we've had our fights and we don't have to worry about inter-band politics," he says. "What's cool about this band is we all have good jobs and we don't have to do music for a living. We write and record on our own time. It's our own money and on our own terms. Sam and Brendon will move when they're ready, and if they have to stay in Iowa we'll take it as it comes. There's no question about their dedication to the band. We tackle serious issues with our music, but we don't take ourselves really serious."

And because their time together is limited and they admire Abbott so much, Schloemer says this weekend's gig is special.

"It'll be a good night," Schloemer says. "There'll be some crying, laughing and rocking."

Scene notes

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