On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Ian Abel of the Ian Abel Band sat down Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman to discuss the work he has done with AEW. Before that, Hausman complimented Abel for having a Drive-By Truckers sound, and Abel reacted to the compliment.
“Being compared to the Drive-By Truckers is an honor,” Abel expressed. “I saw them at Bonnaroo in 2008, and it was noon I think they played. In the front row on both sides was just topless girls, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is great. This is heaven.’ I’m also a big fan of their music. I think Decoration Day is an incredible album. Jason Isbell is one of my huge inspirations. He’s a god when it comes to songwriting. I will take that to the bank.”
Abel later revealed who he reached out to initially to start his collaboration with AEW. He recalled his reaction to the email exchange and how surprisingly quick the process was.
“So I was following Being The Elite. I was following their YouTube channel and everything, and I believe they had started a Road to Double or Nothing,” Abel recalled. “I got ahold of Brandi actually and sent her our song ‘Walk Out’ because there’s a lot of signings and things like that. I was like, ‘Man, this could be kind of a good jab song to the bigger company that they’re going up against. The hook is they all walk out on you, and you’re getting all these people coming over.
“I was like, ‘Oh, this could be cool,’ and she emails me back within 15 minutes. ‘Hey Ian, that song was great. I showed it to my husband.’ I’m sitting there going, ‘Oh my God, I know who that is,’ and she said, ‘I showed it to my husband. He’s actually looking for a song for his match he has coming up.’ I don’t know anything about it. That’s all I know, and I’m like, ‘Whoa!’ And then suddenly, I’m on an email chain with seven other people, people I have never met still. Didn’t even pipe up in the email. They’re just monitoring it or assistance. I was like, ‘Oh, this is for real.’ I had not met them up until that point.”
Abel then revealed how quickly the process was to work on the song Not Afraid To Die. However, he also talked about what happened that delayed the use of the song.
“Shoes was the first one. Not Afraid To Die is actually a song — because that was on Thursday or Friday and then Saturday, I went into the studio with my buddy John Graber and Reed, and I’d written Not Afraid To Die Friday night just thinking about who the Rhodes family is, who Cody is,” Abel explained. “They sent me a sample. ‘This is what we’re kind of looking for,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I got this. Let’s do it,’ and I think it was from Red Dead Redemption. I was like, ‘I’ll smoke this. Check this out.’ We recorded it Saturday, and I sent it Sunday.
“So we just did it in one day. Actually, the majority of time, we were talking about Shoes actually. During the time of the Double or Nothing match, we were emailing back and forth about Shoes. I actually thought we were talking about Not Afraid To Die for a solid three weeks. I was way out of out of the loop till Cody sent me an email, and all of sudden, it was, ‘I WANT SHOES!!!'”
Hausman asked Abel what it’s like to see his music being used in pro wrestling. Abel’s music was used in the promo packages leading up to Cody vs. Dustin at Double or Nothing and Cody vs. Darby Allin for the TNT Championship.
“It was awesome. It’s something that I never had imagined,” Abel admitted. “When you start doing anything, for me playing guitar, I wanted to get really good at guitar, and then I was like, ‘Okay, I’m writing songs. Who’s going to sing them? I guess I’ll sing these songs.’ That’s the trajectory. Then it was, ‘Okay, I’ve got all these songs. Let’s record them,’ and so I would have never dreamed — pro wrestling. Why don’t I have my songs in pro wrestling?
“It had never come to my mind, except one day, I just sent an email. I found their email. I was like, I’m going to be ballsy here and be brash. Let’s do it. Let’s send it out, and so when it happened, I was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome!’ It blows me away to think about the matches that they were involved with more than anything because they were two incredible matches. The brother vs. brother match, insane. Darby Allin winning the TNT Championship, finally overcoming the odds beating Cody, who’s the babyface of the company, maybe babyface of the wrestling world. Wow! It’s insane to think about.”
Abel later recalled meeting Cody and other AEW people in person for the first time.
“I was in Nashville for the CMAs in November 2019, and they do a whole week of events or whatever. You’re there for songwriting stuff, meeting people, drinking, going to party, and AEW actually did a show in Nashville that week,” Abel recalled. “And so my dad drove down, and Cody, I just reached out. They got us backstage tickets and passes, and we were back there an hour or two before the show, just hung out. I talked to him. He was really busy, but we talked for 20 minutes, which is crazy because he’s an EVP. People are running up to him asking him things, and I got to meet Dustin, which was wild because we shook hands and the only thing I could say was, ‘This is f**king cool.’ He took an impossible character in Goldust and made it a thing.
“I mean the craziest thing is my dad was running around all backstage. I lost him from the get because he heard JR talk. My dad was like, ‘I’m gonna go meet JR,’ and he took off. I was like, ‘I don’t know if you’re allowed to do that or what,’ but I met Brandi which was cool. SCU walked by, and I was living in Los Angeles, so I fist-bumped SCU. I didn’t talk to him MJF. He winked at me though. I was like, ‘Okay, he’s going to knock the drink out of my hand.’ Always kayfabe but he winked and meeting Chris Jericho, who I think is the GOAT, that was sick.”
You can follow Ian on Twitter @IanAbelBand. The full audio and video from Ian’s interview can be found below.