Ian Abel's music fits like a great pair of SHOES
Ian Abel Band, is a rock outfit made up of accomplished young musicians in Los Angeles, California. Lead singer, guitar player and primary song-writer, Ian Abel, formed the band to produce new music for rock fans everywhere.
"How would I classify our music? Imagine that the ‘03 Drive By Truckers got into fist fight with ‘86 Metallica at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and Chris Stapleton documented it."
September 1, 2019 By Kreig Marks
TRR: Hi Ian. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. Congratulations on the new LP. Shoes seems to be getting a lot of listens on Spotify.
IA: Thank you for the interview and yes, the song is getting some attention.
TRR: Over 30,000 streams is some good attention! When you first set out to make your mark in the rock n roll community, did you have a band name in mind or did you always plan to use your given name?
IA: In the beginning, I was using only my name (Ian Abel), but there is this jerk off in New York that uses it as well and we were having crossover issues with bookings and streaming services. At the time, we had shows coming up here in Los Angeles, so we sat down to come up with a solution and decided to throw Band on the end of it. There wasn’t a chance in Hell I was going to allow somebody else to not let me use my given name.
TRR: Who are the players?
IA: I’m (Ian Abel) lead vocals and lead guitar. Kenny Schwartz rocks the drums and background vocals. Westray Tackett on the keys/ additional guitars and Karthik Suresh holds it down on bass. I’ll tell you what; for a 4 piece, we sound HUGE live and we’re sexy as all get out.
TRR: How did all of you meet? Is there an interesting story about this?
IA: I first met Wes in high school when I was a sophomore and he was a remarkably talented freshman. I hadn’t even been playing for a year and here was this kid strutting around the music room shredding the guitar. I remember fondly being blown away the first time I heard him play the intro to Thunderstruck. He even had a vintage Gibson SG, by God! By an off chance I ran into him in early 2017 and it was like no time had passed at all. He was out here working in a recording studio and scoring films and I was looking for a rhythm player who also rocked the keys. First night we got together to jam, we finished 2 songs and it’s been gravy ever since.
In late 2016 I was introduced to an unbelievable drummer, Kenny Schwartz. Full disclosure, he mainly joined the half held together group I was in at the time, to play with an old college friend of his (Corey Dozier). After that show, Corey let me know that he wanted to move back to his hometown of Houston and Kenny was left with a decision every one of us musicians have had to make. Would he stay in a band with someone he barely knew, or would he say, “adios amigo”? Granted I didn’t know this shit was even being considered at the time, but luckily for me, Kenny isn’t someone who gives up on anything and I had some songs that he saw promise in. Pretty funny to think about it now; I went from almost not having a bassist or a drummer to gaining an amazing friend and together, starting something really cool.
Then there is Karthik… Oh boy… After making our way through bass players, we’ve finally landed on our newest and most lethal member, Karthik Suresh. I met him my very first year in Los Angeles at the annual NAMM event in Anaheim. I had managed to convince someone to let me in on one of their sponsor-guest passes. I can’t remember what booth we were at, but there I was making 80’s movie references and talking music with this funny and wickedly talented bass player, Karthik Suresh. It just so happened that Karthik was sponsored by the manufacturer I was impersonating. After he brought that to my attention, I awkwardly and or impressively (depending on whose vantage point) Boot Scootin’ Boogied my way out of there. Now look at us; 5 years later and we are hanging out, playing awesome venues and yes, still quoting 80’s movies.
TRR: How would you classify your music?
IA: Imagine that the ‘03 Drive By Truckers got into fist fight with ‘86 Metallica at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and Chris Stapleton documented it.
TRR: If you weren’t in a band, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
IA: I most likely would’ve given cage fighting a half-hearted attempt only to lose in the first round to someone clearly better at cutting weight than myself. After that, I would’ve gone back to working in the same steel factory I grew up working in during high school and college.
TRR: The guitar slinging cage fighter. Could be a cool promo for your next gig. Who are some of your musical influences?
IA: Before the aforementioned brawl you didn’t know you needed in your life; my favorite band is Pink Floyd. David Gilmour’s guitar work is unbelievable, and Roger Waters can paint a Picasso with his lyrics. Jazz became a very big influence early on in my playing and being from Kentucky, I have an affinity towards Blue Grass & Folk music.
TRR: What do you think makes your band stand out from others?
IA: We fully embrace our Rock N’ Roll roots. Ain’t no ghost writers here big dog. Every song you’ll hear from us is recorded with the same hands that wrote the tune and it will always be authentically, us.
TRR: What other bands would you like to tour with?
IA: A band that I would love to open for would be My Morning Jacket! Being from Louisville, I’ve always loved that band. Other groups that we would put on a Hell of a show with would be the Raconteurs, Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Drive By Truckers and Zach Brown Band. Audiences would be in for a treat those nights! If there is someone I forgot to mention, apologies, we would love to play with you too.
TRR: How do you write your songs? Is it collaborative?
IA: I’m the main songwriter in the group. It usually starts out when I get in a weird, quiet/reflective mood. Then I pick up a guitar and it just sort of happens. Most of the time the songs are pretty much already formatted when I send Kenny a late night voice recording via email because he doesn’t have an iPhone. You read that right, Kenny uses android and it ruins our group messages. Hopefully this will be the peer pressure he needs to change his evil ways. That being said, Kenny has a pretty great taste when it comes to rough tunes with promise. He’ll tell me which of the usual 3 or 4 suspects he likes the most, I 98% of the time agree and then we get together and demo them drums, guitar and scratch vocals first. Then we add bass and to finish it off, we send it over to Wes. Wes is a genius at creating soundscapes and since all of the guitars are usually accounted for, he adds a little Westray magic to the demos. That’s sort of been our formula for the last year now and have over 30+ songs prepared in our catalog.
TRR: What is your most memorable show?
IA: Hands down our last one at the Troubadour! We had a packed house, made a video from it and it was a week after our song debuted in the AEW’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view. There was a sort of magic in the air that night and the audience shouted down the house music and lights for us to perform an encore set. For a band coming up, that was an honor because I have always loved that venue.
TRR: What has been your craziest fan interaction?
IA: Last year before a show at the Viper Room, we were going live on IG and this girl flashed the video for a quite a while. That’s not too out of the norm for a rock show, however, my family back home were tuned in so that made for an interesting Christmas dinner discussion haha.
TRR: That’s awesome! Dad must have been proud! Have you had a “Murphy’s Law” show?
IA: Not a chance. We’re extremely focused and always prepared. If something was to go wrong, we would be able to roll with the changes and make it seem like nothing bad happened at all. That being said, I’ll pack a couple extra pair of strings and drum sticks for our next show.
TRR: What’s on the table for the rest of the year?
IA: We’re releasing a lot of awesome music. We have 10 other bangers in the wing, ready to drop. It’s just a matter of which one next. We’ve also recently started working with Rob McDermott of Mad Mac Ent. and we’re excited to see where this next step in the journey takes us with his guidance.
TRR: Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to or thank you to?
IA: Hell yeah. First and foremost, follow us on all social media platforms @ianabelband. As far as shout outs go, here they are:
- Thank you Tom Geroge & TAG Publicity (@tagprteam) for setting this up. Thank you to Tru Rock Revival Magazine for keeping it real and having us here to discuss our music. Mad love to Jon Graber (@jgrabesrules) for engineering, co-producing and mixing our record. Big thanks to Reed Wolcott (@reedaretheunion) for assisting Jon and being a loyal friend w/ great ideas. Major props to Alan Douches of West West Side Music (@westwestsidemusic) for mastering the record and putting up with my stupid requests. All praise goes to Chris Wilson (@ckdub2) for laying down some amazing organ and rhodes for our song ‘Shoes’ and ‘Outlaw!’ Huge props to Kevin Perez (@kv.pz) for playing bass on our record. He’s insanely talented. A very special thank you to my girls who’ve been down since day 1 of landing in LA, Danelle Corbin (@thisisdanelle) & Mia Jones (@miajonesmusic). They sang background vocals on the record. Super big thank you to Cody Rhodes and All Elite Wrestling for using my song on their inaugural ppv. I’d also like to thank a good buddy of mine and phenomenal actor, Daniel R. Hill (@dhillactor), for getting me hip to the AEW in the first place. Mad love also goes out to our photographer Brian Love (@brianloveco) for always making us look good and to our videographer, Mitch Parks (@mitch_parks) who shot & directed an incredible music video for ‘Shoes’. Thank you Chelsea Corp (@chelccorp) for the choreography to our ‘Walk Out’ video and for assembling the sexiest trio of all time with herself, Tanya Jane (@tanyajane_) & Erin Gray (@erinannegray) to perform it. And last, but certainly not least, I got to show love to my parents for not killing me all of those years when I was “making music” in the garage. I love you very much.
Kreig Marks is the founder/publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine. As a guitar/bass player and life-long rock music fan, it was only a matter of time before Kreig would create a publication to help promote and support rock music on a global level.