Tesla - Cumin’ Atcha Live & Electric
Tommy Skeoch Interviewed by Keith McDonald
14 million albums sold and a string of radio hits might be enough for
a band to look back at a great career, especially in a business where
most bands aren't lucky enough to forge ahead to do a second and third
albums. But with Tesla, a band that came out of the 80's, stopping is
something that isn't on their minds. After reuniting recently, the band
has had an incredibly successful tour that has seen most of their shows
sell out and in the case of New York City, moved to a larger venue.
Tesla, singer Jeff Keith, drummer Troy Lucketta, bassist Brian Wheat and
guitarists Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch have delivered the fans a much
needed dose of material via Replugged
Live. The band continues to tour, but on their recent break, I
had the opportunity to speak with Tommy who filled me in on what's going
on. You can check out their website at www.teslatheband.com
did you do a live album?
Cash (laughs). We got back together; we've been touring. We recorded all
the shows with the mindset of putting out a live record since we never
put out an electric live record. A lot of people mentioned that they
were missing that from us. So we did it. We have a pretty hardcore
fanbase that has been waiting for new material. Something to hold them
over. The record is kinda cool, there are some improvising and it's fun.
It's not just one show, couple of takes from one show and then a couple
from another. It's got tracks that sound better than the original.
Were you surprised by the success of the reunion
Not totally. I can't say I was dumbfounded. I knew there was a good
thing with Tesla. Me and Jeff had gone out and promoted the Bar 7 thing.
People had been saying when will Tesla come back. I was surprised we
sold out almost every show.
How did the reunion come about?
There's a guy, Pat Martin in Sacramento, CA, a DJ at 98 Rock that has
been trying to get us to do a one-off reunion show for three years. We
were ready for it. Frank's band Moondog Mane broke up, Brian was working
on another Soulmotor record and me and Jeff did the Bar 7 record and it
really didn't go anywhere. A lot of the bullshit from the past was gone.
We had gotten over the problems we had with each other.
How did you land at Sanctuary?
Brian's on CMC, which is part of Sanctuary. More or less
of all the offers we did get it was the best offer. We got a really
sweet deal. It isn't like we have to sell a million records to make a
million dollars. With Geffen they were basically taking over 80% of the
money we made. It's a big company and that's what they do.
How well does the Tesla catalog sell?
Not bad. The Greatest Hits is really what does it. It just went Gold
this year. The other records I don't know. We get a lot of radio play.
It does o.k. not great but steady.
When can we expect a new studio album?
We're writing for it right now. I think we're going to try to record it
within the next six or seven months. I'm going to be writing with the
boys (soon). Hopefully we'll have all the writing completed and have it
out early next year. We're all pretty pumped up about it, we've written
some great songs. It's good to have some new material for the fans and
What about any tour plans?
We just got off a leg. We're going back out (Nov.) 25th, take a month
off. In between I'll be writing. We have one more leg after that till
February. After that maybe some one-offs but we'll be concentrating
getting the record out.
How do you explain your longevity?
It's a miracle we got back together. Even without getting back the band
goes on in radio. I think it's just the integrity in the music. We
really concentrate on writing great music, that's our main thing.
How do you feel about the Glam Rock tag?
It's o.k. Labels are labels. I don't really see it. We are definitely
from that era but it wasn't like we were writing 'Look What The Cat
Dragged In' or use hair spray and didn't look like any of those bands.
The music definitely had more integrity than what I would classify as LA
rock. I don't agree with it but it's cool.
How's the band getting along?
We're all the same people we were. We've grown up a little bit more.
There's a lot more acceptance. They're like my brothers. We talk now, in
the past we didn't. Some of the subjects that are brought up aren't real
comfortable but you just do it. We're all not on narcotics, which is
probably making the communication better. We're not angels. We smoke
grass and drink beers but that's it. We're not doing coke or heroin or
Will we see another Bar 7 album?
I don't think we're gonna as long as Tesla is going. I think if Tesla
fell apart we would (do it) for the work. That's why Jeff and I did it.
I really enjoy playing with (Tesla).
What's the future for Tesla?
We're gonna try to put out a record every year for the next five years.
We made a five-year plan. Before we'd stagnate on the record and it
would take two to three years to get another record out. We wanna get
our ideas out. While we're back together really capitalize on it and
make a living and have fun. That's the main thing...to have fun. Before
it wasn't. If it's not fun then it's not worth it.
©2001 Metal Rules!!