Tesla, Real To Reel


(Tesla Covers Some of The Greatest Bands In The World)
Tesla Electric Co. Recordings

Barbara Fara
Music Incider Magazine

California’s own Tesla band members include: Jeff Keith (vocals), Frank Hannon (lead guitar), Brian Wheat (bass guitar), Troy Luccketta (drums) and Dave Rude (guitar.)

Formed in Sacramento in 1984 as the City Kidd, the band smartly changed its
name to Tesla, after 18th century Serbian inventor and electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla.

Tesla was never a glam band (also known as Gay LA Metal.) At a time when other heavy metal groups wore their hair high and carried makeup and leather over from the 1970s, Tesla sported t-shirts and jeans. Believe it or not, most of the band members were hard-working at day jobs.

Tesla’s first album was Mechanical Resonance in 1986. Do you remember Modern Day Cowboy? If you do, you deserve a t-shirt and an all day sucker. The second album was The Great Radio Controversy.

Tesla’s 1990 release, Five Man Electrical Band included hits: Signs, Comin’ Atcha Live, Gettin’ Better, Modern Day Cowboy, Little Suzi (PhD Cover), Edison’s Medicine, and Love Song.


They have always been and continue to use more bluesy themes, while their contemporaries sang about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Not until Tesla’s 2004 CD, Into The Now, did the band include any synthesized beats.


The band took a hiatus and reformed in 2000 and recorded a double live album. In 2002 they were featured in the Rock Never Stops Tour alongside other 80s rock bands. Cumin’ Atcha Live appeared in the 2002 videogame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

In 2004 they released their fifth studio album Into the Now which debuted on the Billboard album chart at number 30.


Original member and guitarist Tommy Skeoch left the band for personal reasons, and in the summer of 2006, Tesla welcomed guitarist Dave Rude.


Real to Reel, released on June 5, 2007, is a cover CD honoring Tesla’s favorite bands and songs.



Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple)
The greatest way they could start off this CD is by covering Deep Purple. Only Tesla could do such a beautiful tribute. All I know is this: a copy of this track should be sent to Deep Purple. I think they would love it. Tesla plays it in Deep Purple style.

Walk Away (Joe Walsh)
Tesla picked the best of the best. When you look at Joe Walsh, here you go again. They did it Tesla style with respect for Joe Walsh and his band. This is another hit. This may be an album of covers, but it’s done with style and class.

Hand Me Down World (Guess Who)
Tesla gives it the beat and sound of the original Guess Who and BTO. This is another great hit that was forgotten and should have been remembered.


Background on Guess Who for those of you left wondering. Kurt Winter was a member of Guess Who, which started in the early 1960s. Their main guitarist, Bachman, left the band for following clashes with band members after he became a Mormon. Bachman formed BTO.
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Bad Reputation (Thin Lizzy)

I remember growing up with Thin Lizzy. My favorite song was Smoking In The Boys Room and Bad Reputation. But here’s the catch. In every song off this album, Tesla tries hard to resemble the band they are playing. With this one? No, no, no, no, no. But, that’s in the good way. They did it Tesla style.

Thank You (Led Zeppelin)

When you listen to the song, Jeff Keith sounds like Robert Plant in his own way. This is the closest a cover has ever come to matching Led Zeppelin’s work. And, this should be the main release off this album. It is done beautifully. And, their new guitarist, Dave Rude, sounds like Jimmy Page. It’s so fucking eerie that it sends shivers up my spine.

This is why I feel this should be the first single released off this album.

I’ve Got A Feeling (The Beatles)
I remember the big controversy last year. The Beatles were always know for their writing efforts on their albums as Lennon and McCartney, and McCartney wanted to transpose the order of the names to McCartney and Lennon. I don’t know if Yoko Ono agreed to it or not.

The lyrics are Lennon but the music is Lennon and McCartney. When you hear Tesla do it: here we go again. Tesla has brought back The Beatles. They have brought back the late, great John Lennon in a Tesla style. But, you can still hear that Beatles sound in there. I never thought I would ever hear a band cover The Beatles like Tesla has, and there are plenty of cover bands to go around.

Day Of The Eagle (Robin Trower, Bridge of Sighs)

Robin Trower writes the song, adds his own riffs and guitar-playing style. Everyone compared him to Hendrix. When I listened to Trower’s recording, I heard an original. Well, when I heard Tesla, I heard a great original tribute to Trower.
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Ball Of Confusion (The Temptations)

Tesla covers the Temptations with the great song Ball Of Confusion. You would never think they had that funk in them to pull off what the Temptations could do. There are so many great songs people will happily remember when they hear this CD. With this one song, the cover will never be forgotten by fans of both The Temptations or Tesla.

Rock Bottom (UFO)
British band, UFO, started in 1969 and are new wave/heavy metal that still plays today. When you hear this song, you know why Tesla picked it. They knew how to cover it and did it perfectly with UFO style and a twist of Tesla.

Stealin’ (Kenneth Hensley, Uriah Heap)
Even though Tesla did a cover of Uriah’s Heaps song, as written by the main guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Ken Hensley. Tesla diverts from Uriah Heap’s progressive metal sound, they did it their own modern rock way. You would almost think they wrote the song. I was amazed when I heard Uriah Heap, and I was amazed when I heard Tesla. This should be the second single release off the album.

Bell Bottom Blues (Eric Clapton)

This is early Clapton, from when he was still with Derek And The Dominoes. The story behind this song is a rumor. It’s rumored that his wife at the time had left him for the late George Harrison. I know this song by heart. It is my favorite song by Derek And The Dominoes.

When I heard Tesla do it, and heard the opening notes, it’s semi-bluesy like Clapton. When Tesla’s fans hear this song, they will get a lesson in blues/rock. This CD is a history lesson, with some of the greatest rock hits.

Honkey Tonk Women (Rolling Stones)

This is one of the Rolling Stones greatest hits and one of Tesla’s greatest covers. Here we are again with another history lesson. The music, sound, engineering are all perfect. I got to admit one thing. Dave Rude does a great tribute to Keith Richards. When you hear Jeff do Honkey Tonk Women, he doesn’t have an English twang, but it comes from his soul. You can hear it. If they would bring Keith Richards in to produce their next album, it would be a massive hit.

Once Richards hears Rude, he’ll know who to pass his torch onto.

Dear Mr. Fantasy (Crosby, Stills Nash & Young)

When you listen to this song, you hear Tesla do the song justice. They play it the same way CSNY did it. And, it is an honor to CSNY. This should be the third single released off the album.

This album is a beautiful piece of work and what I’m amazed about is that they remembered the Stones, Derek And The Dominoes, CSNY, and who would think they would remember Uriah Heap and cover The Temptations? I give them credit for remembering the great bands who have been forgotten, giving them a rebirth and bringing them back to life. Boys, you’ve done a wonderful fucking job and I can’t wait for you guys to come to Atlanta and cover the show. Some of these songs better be played at your show, because I’m waiting to hear you play Bell Bottom Blues live.

And if you’re smart, boys, I give you one piece of advice. You’ve found the best PR on the West Coast. If you’re smart, you’ll let Amanda Cagan handle the rest of your career, whether you stay together forever as Tesla, or if you decide to do new projects.


About Author

My name is Barbara Fara. Musicincider.com is my baby. I am a psychic and a photographer-and a writer! I am more than a little crazy, because I love taking pictures with people body surfing over my head

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