Abe Cunningham was born in Long Beach, California. When he was young, his family moved to Sacramento. He first started drumming in his early teens playing the drums for his band Phallucy in the early 90s. During this time, he also drummed for the Deftones on the side, when the band was having problems landing a permanent and dedicated drummer. At the time when he started learning drums, he also learned how to play guitar, but growing up with a stepfather (Neil) who played the drums, he took a deeper passion with the drums. Abe's father, Sid, was also a musician and an early influence for Abe before his untimely passing. His influences include Stewart Copeland, Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell.
Cunningham is known for his frantic, pounding rhythms on such songs as "Knife Party" and clever usage of tempo ("Mein"), while at the same time refusing to indulge in the double bass drum setup of many metal traditionalists. However, he does use a double bass pedal as part of his kit, as seen in various drum magazines. A BBC reviewer has praised his style for displaying " the assured expressiveness of a musician whose abilities stretch further than most metal-scene sticksmen".
Cunningham has been a long time endorser of Tama Drums and Zildjian Cymbals, and for most of his career, has played the same setup. He has been featured in various ads for Tama and Zildjian and most recently, has become an endorser of Pro-Mark drumsticks. He has his own signature model; the Abe Cunningham TX916W Autograph Model.
Abe lives in Sacramento, California with his family. He has two sons with his ex-wife, Annalynn Seal; Sidney & Daniel. Annalynn made a guest appearance on "MX" singing along with Chino Moreno.