Words by Francijn Suermondt / Photos (c) Erik De’Viking
There is nothing quite like whipping yourself into a mix of excitement and nervousness when getting ready to interview a member of a band you have listened to and loved for 30 years. Tesla were part of my teenage dirt-bag years, definitely part of the track to my courtship with my now husband and prevalent through the rest of my life to date, all the good times, bad times and times that have been VERY rock n roll indeed, have always had the boys from Sacramento playing in the background alongside Motley Crue and Poison.
After just having dried off from playing a muddy Download Festival two days before, Tesla were in the UK to ensure that all of their die-hard fans could hear some of their new ‘Shock’ album live, alongside their classics of course. They were also in London to play a secret gig in probably the most famous recording studio in the world, but to find out more on that you will have to read my interview with Frank Hannon!
The first support act ‘Flashfires’ have a very charismatic front man in the shape of Alex Gonzato who reminded me of a sort of Michael Hutchence with a soupcon of Mark Slaughter thrown in for good measure. The band obviously have exceptional talent in writing great rock songs and stands outs for me was ‘Circus Boy’ and the beautiful ‘Champagne On Mars’. A super set from the boys really set the stage for the next support of ‘Wayward Sons’
And talking of Toby Jepson and his gang of long-haired rockers ‘Wayward Sons’, all I can say is I nearly choked on my coke when they came bounding on to the stage and blasted us with ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ …WOWZER! Rock n roll really is alive and kicking! The boys on the stage were obviously having the time of their life and in return the crowd dutifully shook their hair and wiggled their booties. With nine kick ass tunes played, each as uplifting and magnificently executed as the last, Wayward Sons are mesmerising to watch and a treat for any rockers ears. As soon as I got back to my hotel I downloaded their album ‘Ghosts Of Yet To Come’ …. rather shamed faced that I hadn’t done so when it was released in 2017! Can’t wait for what you have next for us ….. bring it on!
Ask anyone who has been to a gig that I have review with me and they will tell you, I always scribble notes in a little pad in between having a little boogie. But this is the FIRST time my notebook was made redundant. Not because I had nothing to say, but I was too enthralled with watching the Californian kings of down to earth hard rock ‘Tesla’ ramp it up right from the get go. Helping me to bring back memories and providing plenty of new ones, this night was fast becoming one to remember. I had listened to ‘Shock’ recently, before interviewing Dave Rude a couple of months ago and couldn’t wait to hear the new tracks live and I was not disappointed.
Opening with the superb ‘Tied To The Tracks’ from ‘Shock’ the boys from Sacramento bounded on to the stage to the cheering of the crowd, one of my favourites from the album, this has a classic 70’s rock feel and is the perfect start to what was to become the perfect set!
With the energy of Steven Tyler and the swinging hips of Mick Jagger, lead singer Jeff Keith has always been the ultimate rock front man and tonight his beaming white smile said it all as he sang with his trademark throaty vocals through new offerings and classics such as ‘Modern Day Cowboy’, ‘Changes’ and, what I have always felt to be the ultimate girl power song, ‘Little Suzi’.
Dave Rude and his mentor Frank Hannon, were blissfully bouncing off each other, in that special way that only they know how, bringing guitar licks a plenty to those songs well known and the Tesla trademark to those newer tracks from ‘Shock’. Plus, as they had been to recently to ‘the most famous recording studio in the world ….. read my interview’, there was the lovely touch of the boys playing a cover of ‘Blackbird’.
Brian Wheat and Troy Luccketta, as always were the back bone and drive to this set with pounding drumbeats from Troy and the grooving bass from Brian. From goose bumps a plenty with the always gorgeous ‘Love Song’ to the superbly written and executed new tracks such as ‘Taste Like’ from the new album, the boys were clever in the mixing of much-loved classics and new treats.
When asking fans the one question they would like to ask Tesla, the most common one by far was ‘Why don’t you play in the UK more often?’ After experiencing this wonderful evening I would like to echo that sentiment, we miss you and we want to see more of you!!
Aren’t the rock fraternity just great! Any gig or interview I am lucky enough to do I simply love because I adore rock n roll, but because I am usually WAY over excited, I chatter and dance away and always meet some incredibly nice and kind people….so to all of those at the gig who I met, Tesla, the Duff Press team, the 02 staff and all the rockers that put up with me, thank you and I hope to see you again one day!
Written by: Francijn Suermondt
My Global Mind – Staff Writer