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Tesla

Although Tesla emerged during the glory days of hair metal, the band's music was equally indebted to contemporary blues and '70s-style hard rock, a fusion that helped differentiate albums like The Great Radio Controversy from its contemporaries. Despite the refreshing lack of posturing, Tesla was hit just as hard as the rest of the pop-metal world when grunge arrived in the early 1990s. They did produce one of the era's more respectable bodies of work, however, including three consecutive platinum-selling albums.

Although Tesla took shape in 1985 in Sacramento, CA, the musicians (vocalist Jeff Keith, the underrated guitar tandem of Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch, bassist Brian Wheat, and drummer Troy Luccketta) had logged several years together under the name City Kidd. At their management's suggestion, the bandmates renamed their group after the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, who pioneered the radio but was given only belated credit for doing so. After playing several showcases in Los Angeles, Tesla quickly scored a deal with Geffen and released the debut album Mechanical Resonance in 1986. It produced a minor hard rock hit in "Modern Day Cowboy," reached the Top 40 on the album charts, and eventually went platinum. However, it was the 1989 follow-up effort, The Great Radio Controversy, that truly broke the band. The first single, "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)," was another hit with hard rock audiences and set the stage for the second single, a warm, comforting ballad named "Love Song" that substituted a dash of hippie utopianism for the usual power ballad histrionics. "Love Song" hit the pop Top Ten and pushed The Great Radio Controversy into the Top 20. Double-platinum sales figures followed as another single, "The Way It Is," also enjoyed some degree of airplay.

In keeping with their unpretentious, blue-collar roots, Tesla responded to stardom not by aping the glam theatrics of their tourmates, but by stripping things down. The idea behind 1990s Five Man Acoustical Jam was virtually unheard of -- a pop-metal band playing loose, informal acoustic versions of their best-known songs in concert, plus a few favorite covers ('60s classics by the Beatles, Stones, CCR, and others). Fortunately, Tesla's music was sturdy enough to hold up when its roots were exposed, and one of the covers -- "Signs," an idealistic bit of hippie outrage by the Five Man Electrical Band -- became another Top Ten hit, as well as the band's highest-charting single. Not only did Five Man Acoustical Jam reach the Top 20 and go platinum, but it also helped directly inspire MTV's Unplugged series, both with its relaxed vibe and its reminder that acoustic music could sound vital and energetic.

The studio follow-up to The Great Radio Controversy, Psychotic Supper, arrived in 1991 and quickly became another platinum hit. It didn't produce any singles quite as successful as "Love Song" or "Signs," but it did spin off the greatest number of singles of any Tesla album: "Edison's Medicine," "Call It What You Want," "What You Give," and "Song and Emotion." Perhaps that was partly due to Tesla's workmanlike hard rock, which didn't sound ridiculous if it was played on rock radio alongside the new crop of Seattle bands. The winds of change were blowing, however, and by the time Tesla returned with their 1994 follow-up, Bust a Nut, few bands from the pop-metal era had maintained their popularity. Bust a Nut did sell over 800,000 copies -- an extremely respectable showing given the musical climate of 1994, and a testament to the fan base Tesla had managed to cultivate over the years. Yet all was not well within the band, and Tommy Skeoch's addiction to tranquilizers resulted in his dismissal from the band in 1995.

Tesla attempted to forge ahead as a quartet, but the chemistry had been irreparably altered by Skeoch's exit, and they broke up in 1996. Most of the bandmembers began playing with smaller outfits, none of which moved beyond a local level. When Skeoch's health improved, however, the band staged a small-scale reunion in 2000, which quickly became a full-fledged effort. In the fall of 2001, the group released a two-disc live album, Replugged Live, which documented their reunion tour. Into the Now, which was co-produced by Michael Rosen (Testament, AFI), appeared in March 2004. A collection of '70s covers called Real to Reel arrived in 2007, by which time Skeoch had left the band once more and been replaced by Dave Rude. 2008 found the revised band releasing its seventh studio album, Forever More, an all-new collection of songs that saw the musicians reuniting with producer Terry Thomas, who had previously helmed 1994's Bust a Nut. ~ Steve Huey & Andrew Leahey, Rovi
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Selected Discography

Comments

This song was our wedding song. Every time I hear it I rear up RIP MISS YA WITH ALL HEART♡♡♡♡♡
Tesla f**king rocks
Seen Tesla back in 86,with Great White & Badlands.a few more times after that.My friends in The Leo Project opened for them a couple of yrs ago they still rock
Tesla is one of my faves .times making changes in my life.times rearanging you and me..Rocks!
i saw them and poison and again with firehouse. was so awesome!!!
luckyheartz7 7
Love <3<3<3 92 first time seeing this group and Poison. Forever
Pandora put new tesla on
Song and Emotion, one of my all time favorites.
Whos the one that makes you happy..
Whos the one alwasys on your mind.love this song
One of my faves.tesla os awsome.
love this song!
luckyheartz7 7
92 the first band I saw with Poison. Always <3<3<3
Love TESLA, need to add new album and the solo projects by FH, DR, & The rest. A.S.A.P. ...PLEASE!!!
Love tesla
bambibear64
changes are a COMING!!!!
Still rockin with Tesla! One of my all time Faves! Chicago House of Blues August 2014. Can't wait!!!!!!!! ! !
Love this song
Been listening to tesla for 30 years and still love it . Jeff Keith , what a voice
chrismalec0
best band from the 80's period! these guys did it all and had the chops and talent to back it up. lumped in with other generic bands, these guys were blues and hard rock period! first guys to do unplugged which became a hit after those a**holes in Nirvana did it...respect to Tesla for being pure bluesy balls rock!
bma668
One of the first concerts I ever saw, Tesla opening for Def Leppard. So much energy and lots of great music.
Matter of opinion @thomasgoode 6 8 .
thomasgoode6 8
Tesla SUCKS!!!!!!! !
This band Always had its own sound in a time where every band sounded the same they were above all the others
Thats way it is thats the way it goes.....roc k s .
Tesla is the greatest f**king band in the world and on July 3 they are going to rock Wichita I'll be there front row
Love this song! This is my station and I said so!
Another a.s.s.h.o.l. e 2 names below me. No where in my comment did I say anything about Hendrix being taught by Gibbons. That in fact is both have taught each other. The reference was to Sharp Dressed Man which bears similar guitar. You need to be seriously schooled and listen to Earl Hooker, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Tampa Red, Elmore James, Robert Johnson just to name a few. Hendrix and Gibbons both learned from these greats!
Strait up asskickin rock n roll
ARE YOU STUPID ZZ TOP BILLY GIBBONS TAUGHT JIMMIE HENDRIX HOW TO PLAY SLIDE LOOK IT UP!!!!
Heaven Trail ( No Way Out) = awesome slide guitar reminiscent of classic ZZ Top and just classic blues in general.
Tesla rocks.some of the best ballads ever recorded
Can't think of nothing but your good good love: ) . So sweet: )
Rock me ...baby:-P:- P : - P
watching JK since Troubleshoot e r . this band never gets old...
tesla is one of the best hair bands of the 80s whoever said hairbands are a bad compliment to the era of rock evidently was not part of the 60 70 or 80s genre too f**kin bad medicine for you
30 years of Tesla rock 'n' roll!
Absolutely underrated! Kick a** band
Love Tesla,just a straight up kick a** rock & roll band! Hate the fact they're compare to so called hair metal bands, to me that's such an ugly comment,caus e there's so many talented bands that are compared to those words, that's it!
Rock on Tesla!
I remember going to the oasis ballroom when they were City Kidd
I love hair band radio...80's rocked
This is what you call good o American rock 'n roll
I can't believe this f.u.c.k.e.d. up world in which were livin ' in. Great opening lyric to 2 late 4 love.
This song fuckn rocks I love Tesla best 80'$ hair band
Tulsa tesla Texas , :+
I've met Tesla in person many times and they are truly good ole' boys! Heart and soul rock n roll!! Jeff's voice always takes me to a better place! No machines!
arose4yu
I like it.....haven ' t heard it before then I thought it sounded a little newer lol....I'm 5 years too late. Has the sound of the other groups like three doors down.
Back then it was way better
Music they make this day suck
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