Exclusive: Ian Abel Band's Ian Abel on OVW, MJF, Jim Cornette and AEW using "Shoes"
The Ian Abel Band is a Los Angeles-based rock outfit led by guitar player and primary songwriter, Ian Abel. Abel -- originally from Louisville, Kentucky -- has a solid trio of musicians backing him, including native New Yorker Kenny Schwartz on drums, high school friend and guitarist Westray Tackett, and bassist Karthik Suresh.
The group's song “Shoes” was notably licensed in May 2019 to All Elite Wrestling for a promotional video for the historic fight between Cody and Dustin Rhodes at the company’s inaugural pay-per-view, Double Or Nothing. I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Ian Abel himself about AEW and all facets of professional wrestling.
Listed below are a few extracts from the interview:
A lot of people first took notice of Ian Abel as a result of AEW's Double Or Nothing. When did you first find out that your song was being considered by AEW?
Ian Abel: Okay, so this is a two-part answer. I knew I was being considered within 45 minutes of my initial email to them. They said they loved my song “Walk Out” and asked if I had something else that was “sadder” or if I could produce a song for the secret match Cody had coming up.
That was in March, I believe, and it wasn’t until the day before the promo aired that I found out they were going to go ahead and pull the trigger and go with my song “Shoes."
Were you at Double Or Nothing? Watching at home, maybe?
Ian Abel: I had already scheduled studio time that weekend to finish the mixes on the rest of the album so unfortunately, I was unable to attend. However, we finished those and I threw a "watch party" at my place which was a lot of fun.
They aired the promo twice in the arena and, unbeknownst to me, I had friends from college at the event and they were texting and calling saying how cool it was to see my name up on the screen.
What do you think of AEW so far?
Ian Abel: Aside from being an unbelievable organization, they’re incredible people as well. They’ve produced two incredible pay-per-views, a match of the year contender and treat their wrestlers and their fans with such respect that I am honored to have been able to work with them.
Do you have a favorite wrestler or two within AEW?
Ian Abel: Okay, so aside from the obvious -- Cody and Dustin Rhodes (laughs) -- I’ve always been a big fan of [Chris] Jericho and am now a disciple of MJF’s. Clearly I’m a fan of the heel and they have two of the best heels in the business under one roof. Also, a shout out to Peter Avalon and the independent sensation, Orange Cassidy!
AEW aside, do you watch a lot of wrestling?
Ian Abel: I do. I’ve been to 3 'Manias -- New Orleans being the most fun -- and I try to keep up with NJPW as often as I can. A phenomenal actor friend of mine, Daniel R. Hill, and I often go to see Nick Aldis at Championship Wrestling in Hollywood.
A lot of my time is occupied with music and I’m thankful for that, but you better believe that once AEW fires up on the weekly TNT broadcast, you’ll know where to find me every Wednesday.
Being originally from Louisville, have you ever run into Jim Cornette or Al Snow?
Ian Abel: I’ve never run into Corny, but I love that he goes by the Louisville Lip -- shout-out to Ali -- and he’s one of the best heel managers of all-time!
I’ve also never met Al personally, but it isn’t uncommon to run into him at the grocery store, and being an OVW fan, I love what he’s doing with them. The product has made some incredible improvements.
Wrestling aside, what are you currently working on?
Ian Abel: Like I mentioned before, we finished a 10-song album to accompany our unexpected single “Shoes." Since its completion, we've been working on new music as well as preparing everything for its release.
Finally, Ian, any last words for the kids?
Ian Abel: Listen here, rockstars. Make sure you follow us on all social media platforms @ianabelband, and be sure to check us out when we come to a town near you! We certainly will not disappoint.