--Jeff Keith (vocals), Frank Hannon (guitars), Brian Wheat (bass), Troy Luccketta (drums) and Dave Rude (guitar)-has always been revered as a bluesy, no-frills, '70s-style hard rock band, concentrating on solid musicianship more than the trends of modern music. Now, after selling over 16 million albums worldwide since bursting onto the scene in 1986, they're paying homage to their hard rock heroes on their sixth studio album, Real To Reel
, due out June 5 on their own independent label, Tesla Electric Company Recordings (in partnership with Ryko Distribution).
The first single, Led Zeppelin
's "Thank You," is currently being serviced to radio on May 1, but it has been receiving early airplay for the past few weeks on such stations as KRXQ in Sacramento, The Bone in San Francisco, WHOG in Milwaukee, KZRR in Albuquerque and KDKP in Phoenix and KISW in Seattle. A video for the track is forthcoming.
Real To Reel
--produced by Tesla and Tom Zutaut and recorded at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX--is a two-disc 25-song collection of classic rockers from the '60s and '70s, recorded through a vintage Neve console directly to Ampex 456 analog tape to capture the purity of these timeless and legendary songs. Songs include: "Space Truckin'," "I've Got A Feeling," "Ball of Confusion," "All The Young Dudes" and "Street Fighting Man."
The first 13 tracks will be available on June 5 at retail outlets, while the second disc containing the remaining 12 songs will be available this summer along the band's tour route with the purchase of a concert ticket. Details are forthcoming.
Tesla first tested out some of their favorite rock classics with their fans in the summer of 2006 during the "Electric Summer Jam" tour (the first tour with guitarist Dave Rude, who replaced original guitarist Tommy Skeoch). While UFO's "Rock Bottom" went down like a storm to a standing, cheering, grandstand crowd of 10,000 in Milwaukee, Black Sabbath
's "War Pigs" engaged 6,000 people in Lansing, Michigan so much that they refused to leave during a torrential rainstorm which lasted throughout the entire two-hour show. After getting such a positive reaction from their fans, the band knew making Real To Reel
was a logical next step for them.
"Real To Reel
is a collection of songs that inspired us back in the day when we first heard them in the '70s," says singer Jeff Keith. "We originally had a large list of songs in mind for the record, and we had a lot of fun picking out the ones that ultimately made it onto the album. Making music is all about feeding off of your inspirations and putting your own touches to it. We feel we've accomplished this to the highest extent."
In talking about the first single, "Thank You," Keith explains, "That's my favorite song on the album, and it's funny because we never discussed covering that particular song. We went back and forth about a lot of Led Zeppelin songs. We had planned on doing 'The Song Remains The Same,' and it was Frank who thought we should do 'Thank You' instead. The guys actually recorded it while I was at my casita feeding the abandoned pups and their mom that I found in a vacant lot. When I returned to the studio and heard what they did, I was so blown away that it inspired me to sing what I think is my best vocal performance on the record. When I finished recording in one take, it was just mind-blowing. Everyone in the studio was in tears. Sometimes that's how it works and that's the beauty of making music. We all felt it was the perfect choice for the first single. If you think about Tesla, the lyrical message of the lyrics throughout the years, they're very similar to 'Thank You.' It's that same positive message that we try to get across in every Tesla song. It's a sacrilegious song to cover and we didn't think we'd do it justice, but we were up for the challenge.
once told Brian that he had bought the Five Man Acoustical Jam
record and thought it was a really great album. That was a huge thrill for us to hear because we've always had a love of Led Zeppelin and they were so important to all of us growing up. There's always been this reverence for Zeppelin. So hearing Jimmy Page say he loved Tesla too, we were honored and it enlightened our spirits. Led Zeppelin inspired us to be a band in the first place."
The Sacramento band has proven themselves to be a long-lasting force in the rock world, one that could still compete with all the new rock bands that had sprung up between 1996-2000 (the time period when Tesla had disbanded), while most of their contemporaries from the late '80s were stuck in classic rock nostalgia. Rolling Stone called their sophomore album, The Great Radio Controversy
, "...a shining example of what can happen when a talented band puts on blinders, ignores what everybody else is selling and forges ahead on instinct."
On the touring front, Tesla will launch a summer U.S. headlining tour starting June 7 in Santa Rosa, CA at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. They'll make a stop in Las Vegas at the House of Blues on Thursday, June 14. Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday, April 27. The band will perform three more House of Blues shows in Anaheim (Friday, June 8), West Hollywood (Saturday, June 9), in San Diego (Monday, June 11), which go on sale this Saturday, April 28. More dates will be announced in the coming weeks. Fans can stay plugged into all things Real To Real
and purchase VIP ticket packages at the band's new website, www.teslatheband.com
Here's the complete track listing of Reel one (sold at retail
1. Space Truckin' (Deep Purple
2. Walk Away (James Gang
3. Hand Me Down World (The Guess Who
4. Bad Reputation (Thin Lizzy
5. Thank You (Led Zeppelin
6. I've Got A Feeling (Beatles
7. Day Of The Eagle (Robin Trower
8. Ball Of Confusion (Temptations
9. Rock Bottom (UFO)
10. Stealin' (Uriah Heep
11. Bell Bottom Blues (Eric Clapton
12. Honky Tonk Women (Rolling Stones
13. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
Here's the complete track listing of Reel two (available with concert ticket purchase only
1. All The Young Dudes (Mott The Hoople
2. Make It Last (Montrose
3. Shooting Star (Bad Company
4. Not Fragile (Bachman-Turner Overdrive
5. Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones)
6. Is It My Body (Alice Cooper
7. I Want To Take You Higher (Sly & The Family Stone
8. Do You Feel Like We Do (Peter Frampton
9. Beer Drinkers And Hellraisers (ZZ Top
10. Seasons Of Wither (Aerosmith
11. Saturday Night Special (Lynyrd Skynyrd
12. War Pigs (Black Sabbath)