This Tesla is driving down the highway to Indian Ranch


Veteran Sacramento blues metal rock band Tesla has a message in his new single.

“It’s time to switch.”

This is the title of the single, and its basic message.

“Basically the idea is to say it’s time to rock,” said Jeff Keith, Tesla’s lead singer who also writes many of the band’s song lyrics while guitarist Frank Hannon writes the music. .

“Let your hair down for four and a half minutes,” Keith said.

“In today’s world, I don’t want to get into politics, but my God, what a waste. Let your hair down for four and a half minutes. I’m not saying forget everything. It’s time to rock. Let your hair down.

The single is set to be released on August 5, but there is a YouTube video of a June 11 performance at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California.

“It’s so new I forgot the words, man,” Keith told the audience at the end.

Although the song is a rocker, there is an underlying benefit that makes the message not as simplistic as it seems. There’s an undercurrent of “we can’t believe what we’ve seen”, which could be seen as applying to a number of aspects of recent life that can make people want to get excited. get away in a rock song for a while.

Or start touring again in a rock band.

That’s what Keith and his bandmates will be doing when they come to Indian Ranch in Webster for a 1 p.m. show on July 31 at Indian Ranch in Webster. Tesla will also be at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis on August 2 and Bold Point Park on August 3 in East Providence.

Keith said he has relatives in New Bedford and they’ll be showing up to the gigs. “All my cousins ​​will come.”

The band’s current tour began in May (with three previous performances in March) and continues through September.

“It’s going really well. It’s great to be back here playing and working and having fun. And the people are loving it too,” said Keith, who sounded like he was really up for anything. in a recent phone interview.

The other band members are Hannon (guitar, backing vocals), Brian Wheat (bass, keyboards, piano and backing vocals), Troy Luccketta (drums, percussion) and David Rude (guitar, backing vocals).

Tesla was formed in Sacramento in 1985, from an older, locally popular band called City Kidd. The band wrote original music and knew their name didn’t match the sound. At management’s suggestion, the group named themselves after the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla who pioneered the radio, but only belatedly received credit for doing so.

Now, of course, there’s another Tesla on the road, even if it doesn’t play rock concerts.

Tesla's next single is

Hannon and Wheat have their earliest ties to the band dating back to 1981, while Keith and Luccketta joined in 1984. Rude came on board in 2006.

Tesla’s 1986 debut album “Mechanical Resonance” produced the hard rock hits “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Little Suzi”, and the album eventually went platinum.

Then the band hit the jackpot with their 1989 follow-up album, “The Great Radio Controversy”, with five hits including “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)” and “Love Song”, which reached the Top Ten of the chart. pop.

“Love Song” has been called a ballad, but even though it starts and ends slowly, there’s also plenty of room for powerful guitar work. The words are also simple (including “Love is all around you” and “Love will find a way”) but obviously heartfelt and they struck a chord, so to speak.

Keith said, “We’ll forever be playing ‘Love Song’ every time we play. Because love is how we all got here. Love is what makes the world go round. Love is above all, even hatred.”

There was a breakup of the band in 1996, followed by a reunion in 2000, and Tesla maintained a loyal following with his blue-collar approach to rock metal. His last studio album was “Shock” in 2019, released on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of “Mechanical Resonance”.

Tesla has toured with bands like Def Leppard, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, as well as solo. In 2019, he toured in support of “Shock.”

Tesla also released a single last fall, “Cold Blue Steel,” with good rock and lyrics that can be interpreted in many ways. Influenced or inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1975 “Saturday Night Special” about guns written and sung by the late Ronnie Van Zant, “Cold Blue Steel” says towards the end “Just like Ronnie, I agree / Why don’t not throw them to the bottom of the sea.”

But Keith said the song had nothing to do with gun rights, but was about the issue of violence in society. It’s a “sad but true…we have these people, they’re cracking” problem.

“Cold Blue Steel” also states, “What’s to blame? Let’s be real/Some find the answer in Cold Blue Steel/Nobody wins, it’s such a shame/It’s not good for me or for you.”

“I love the punch of the song. (But) it’s not something that I just sit back and smile while singing,” Keith said.

He certainly doesn’t sit on stage much, if at all, when he performs. At 63, Keith moves with a lot of energy and dexterity, like the other members of the group.

His voice is not as high as when he first sang “Love Song”. The cries of “Time To Rock” are quite guttural. But there is no doubt that he means it.

“Man, it’s fun, fun, fun. Fantastic,” Keith gushed about touring live and in person again.

While some artists have said they’ve used the pandemic to rejuvenate themselves artistically and write or compose, Keith hasn’t.

“The whole industry around the world shut down. I had a great time with my family, but you know what? I wasn’t inspired to write. It wasn’t very inspiring,” he said. he declares.

“I just haven’t been inspired by this whole pandemic. I wear my heart on my sleeve and didn’t have much of my heart on my sleeve to write about.”

However, he also wrote what could be another “Love Song” type song, although he did not want to reveal the title yet. “I feel great about it,” he said.

So with that, “Cold Blue Steel” and “Time To Rock”, Keith said “that wheel is turning again”.

No matter what the singles do, “It’s great to be back in the saddle,” Keith said. “The day I don’t have fun doing it, so never mind. Find something else to do. Heck, I’m turning 64 in October. As long as the voice holds, I’m ready to go out.”

Keith knows he has to take care of his voice. For some songs, it goes down “a half step, a whole step”, in terms of key or pitch.

“It lets me sing the full chorus. In ’86 you don’t think ‘we have to sing that every night’.”

The touring schedule is set so that Tesla does no more than two shows in a row, he said.

That works. “We’re having the time of our lives on stage. I love performing live because you only get one chance to do the song,” Keith said.

And after nearly 40 years of touring and playing together, the Tesla Band members still get along, Keith said.

“Yeah, we’re brothers. You bet we’re brothers,” he said.

“If you can’t stand yourself after this 90 minute set, what’s the point?”

You’re here

When: 1 p.m. on July 31 (doors 11:30 a.m.)

Where: Indian Ranch Amphitheater, 300 Gore Road, Webster

How much: $34.50 to $69.50. www.indianranch.com

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