Tesla — one of the few '80s rock bands that survived the decade sans hair spray and spandex — is mounting a comeback. The Sacramento, Calif., quintet's first step was a sold-out show at its hometown's Arco Arena last October, where all five members — Jeff Keith on vocals, guitarists Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch, drummer Troy Luccketta, and bassist Brian Wheat — shared the stage for the first time since 1995.
Keith says the reunion show was one of the highlights of his rock career. "Oh, man, that was just one of the best Tesla memories I have," he says. "Of all the Tesla memories — and I've got a lot of good ones — that one in Sacramento was it, because we are all back where we belong. We're almost better friends then we were it seems like, because we realize what we've been through, what mistakes we made and how much we missed each other."
The pop-metal act, best known for its cover of '70s rock anthem "Signs," has no intention of limiting the reunion to one show. The band will kick off a two-week tour on Feb. 16 in Boise, Idaho. Tomorrow night, Keith and Wheat will meet with fans in an America Online chat at 10 p.m. EST. Also tomorrow, VH-1's Rock Show will air a performance of the band's Comin' Atcha Live, recorded at the October show.
The band will be recording the upcoming shows — which also include stops in Salt Lake City, Chicago (for two sold-out shows), Dallas, and Phoenix — for a planned live release, and Tesla will be getting into the studio to record an album of covers later this spring. The most recent release from the band was the 1995 hit collection Time's Makin' Changes.
There's also talk of a new studio album, though a label is still to be determined (many have been calling, the band reports), to come out next year.
"I'm excited to see where we're headed because I can't wait to write some music with these guys again," reports Keith. "I'm sure it will be down that same vein that we were taking — good, real rock and roll with good vibes. We're five very good friends that make music together. That's what it's all about and I do believe that's what it will be about this next time around."
Tesla tour dates:
February Feb. 16 — Big Easy, Boise, Idaho Feb. 17 — SaltAir Pavilion, Salt Lake City, Utah Feb. 18 — Ogden Theatre, Denver, Colo. Feb. 19 — Beaumont Club, Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 21 — The Rave, Milwaukee, Wis. Feb. 22-23 — Vic Theatre, Chicago, Ill. Feb. 24 — First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minn. Feb. 26 — In Cahoots, Oklahoma City, Okla. Feb. 27 — Bronco Bowl, Dallas, Texas Feb. 28 — Aerial Theatre, Houston, Texas
March March 2 — Rialto, Tucson, Ariz. March 3 — Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Ariz. March 23 — State Theatre, Detroit, Mich. March 24 — Piere's, Fort Wayne, Ind. March 25 — Orbit Room, Grand Rapids, Mich. March 26 — Vogue, Indianapolis, Ind. March 28 — Bogart's, Cincinnati, Ohio March 29 — Agora Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio March 30 — Metropol, Pittsburgh, Pa. March 31 — Chili Cookoff, Richmond, Va.
— David John Farinella
David John Farinella is a San Francisco Bay Area-based music journalist who contributes to a handful of Web sites and magazines.