Alex Abel has a voice made for hard-rock. High, piercing and a bit otherworldly. This 21-year-old musician from Louisiana does much more than sing. Abel is a vibrant artist who is also a prolific songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist.
The apocalyptic “Righteous One” juxtaposes Abel’s clarion vocals and icy, tentacled guitar lines with jagged, rumbling low-end riffs. Abel’s bright, clean guitar leads derive from one of his unexpected influences: Surf-rock guitar master Dick Dale. “Half Moon” let’s loose three-and-a-half minutes of thrashy aggression and doomy eeriness. There’s more furious, neo-metal exploration in “I Can Hear You Fine,” “Touchless Automatic” and “Bottoms of My Feet.”
In Nashville, Abel has been performing regularly throughout the city, as well as in clubs throughout the Southeast with recent shows in Chattanooga, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette.
Abel’s solo career follows two years with the popular Baton Rouge band the Chambers. Tess Brunet -- the musician and record store owner whose performance and studio credits include Generationals and Deadboy & the Elephantmen -- produced a seven-inch vinyl single for the Chambers.
Henry Rollins, the singer for seminal punk bands Black Flag and Rollins Band, broadcast the Chambers song “Touchless Automatic” on his Los Angeles-based radio show at KCRW. “Cool band,” Rollins wrote on the station’s website.
More recently, Abel worked with engineer Ben Mumphrey (Pixies, The Breeders, Jello Biafra, Frank Black) at Louisiana’s legendary Studio in the Country, where Abel recorded his newest EP, “RIP,” released on Halloween 2018. Mumphrey also recorded the band's new album, which will be released in 2019.
Abel grew up with the music of Nirvana and the Pixies, two of his mother’s favorite bands, and his father introduced him to Black Sabbath. Alex’s grandfather, Paul Abel was classical musician and professor of Music.
A VHS tape he found of Walt Disney’s animated classic Fantasia, however, influenced him most of all. The fantastical scenes in Fantasia are accompanied by great classical compositions, including Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” in D minor, Paul Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”
The Fantasia soundtrack, Abel says, “is my favorite because I discovered it on my own. It wasn’t my mom’s music, it was mine. And nobody even thought about ‘Fantasia’ as music.”
Abel imagined Fantasia’s score as if Nirvana might play it. “I loved Kurt Cobain’s guitar tone, but I also loved to listen to the orchestra playing classical music. It’s so complicated.”
Abel has written more than 120 songs. “I have a lot of pent-up emotion,” he says. “Music is how I express all those emotions.” Selfishness, materialism, inequity and sociopolitical repression stir Abel’s ire. “Almost all of my songs express anger about those things,” he says. “In the words of Muse’s Matthew Bellamy, ‘Soullessness is everywhere.’ ”
Abel is also the creator of the Blue Orchid, a mind-blowing musical version of the wireless energy transmitter invented by Nikola Tesla, formulator of the first alternating current motor.
“The Blue Orchid is a unique wireless guitar fuzz pedal,” Abel explains of his invention, which is currently awaiting a patent.
For Abel and his music, not even the sky’s the limit.
“If I can go to Mars with it, I’ll do it,” he says. “I want to make an album on Mars.”