One of my favorite bands of the late eighties and early nineties is Tesla. Named for the Serbian-American inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, this band had some diverse music that fluctuated between head-banging hard rock to edgy blues rock. This band may have actually been the first rock music our youngest daughter Crysta heard. She was within weeks of being born when Robin and I attended their 1992 concert in Tampa, Florida. Tesla have sold over 16 million albums in the United States as of this year. Tesla has wrongly been categorized as a glam metal band with the likes of Def Leppard and Poison. I think it’s namely due to the fact their popularity rose about the same time as those “polished” metal bands. The band has proudly proclaimed that their music is pure guitars and drums with no synthesizers or anything to distort their sound. Their previous six studio albums have all proudly proclaimed “No Machines.” As a guitar player myself I recognized that their musicianship and skill set Tesla apart from all the other “hair” metal bands of the eighties and nineties. The current band lineup is still Jeff Keith on lead vocals, Frank Hannon on guitars, piano, and Hammond organ, Brian Wheat on bass, and piano, and Troy Luccketta on drums. The only exception to the lineup is Dave Rude who replaces Tommy Skeoch on the second guitar.
The seventh studio album from Tesla is called “Forever More“. The album was released on October 7th, 2008 on their own label Tesla Electric Co. The album was recorded while “we were riding an incredible wave of energy that doesn’t come easy for a band of rookies much less a band whose been doing this for over 20 years – and we wouldn’t have it any other way”, states Frank Hannon in a recent interview. The first track is also the title track. The track starts out with a cool bent note riff that builds to a heavy rhythm as Jeff Keith’s recognizable vocals kick it all into full gear. The next track is “I Wanna Live. It is a great uplifting song that is very typical up-tempo Tesla music in the same vein as past songs like “Getting Better”, “Hang Tough”, and “What You Give”. The third track is called “One Day At A Time” and contains some very good musical composition with a cool bridge and song outro guitar solos. The fourth track is song that deals with the reality of this world called “So What”. A verse in the lyrics says that life is not paradise, but so what, life is still beautiful.
Your telling everybody that the worlds unfair, well
So What! So What!
It’s time to get real,
It’s not paradise,well
So What! So What!
The album highlights include the first four plus “Just In Case” which is a tender song about searching for the meaning of life and what comes after. The author seems to have some new comprehension about the existence of God and entrance into heaven. The second verse is searching:
I’m trying once again
every time I try to talk to
it’s like i never seem to get through
i never have the strength, never put my faith in you
maybe i should just realize
i don’t deserve you in my life
they say it’s in your hands
everything’s just like you planned
it’s good enough for them, so why not me
only i could pray
i know what i would say
dear god i’m talking to ya
Just in case I don’t make it to heaven
I’d like to personally thank you for giving
something so beautiful makes life worth living yeah
thank you just in case I
don’t make it
As my wife stated when she heard the lyrics, “It sounds like someone is having an epiphany.” If you believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God, His death, burial, and resurrection, and how that redeems you from your sinful debt owed to God. Then you can have assurance that you will be able to thank God as the song’s author pleads for that opportunity. “Fallin’ Apart” is a neat bluesy song about love and breaking up. The blues guitar in the song is reminiscent of the one in “Song And Emotion” from the album “Psychotic Supper.” “Pvt. Ledbetter” is a somber song that is dedicated to the troops serving our country in a war to keep us safe and free. “In A Hole Again” is a darker song with deep lyrics about dealing with depression and the facades people hide behind. Musically the song has a couple of diverse guitar solos that match the darkness of the mood.
In wrapping up this review I’d like to express my appreciation to Tesla for going back into the studio and recording this great new release. The Tesla sound is recognizable and better than ever. Jeff Keith’s vocals are just as good as ever, the lyrics are deeper and more mature. The guitars are as skillful as I had remembered and the drumming is outstanding. I give the album four and a half guitars out of five.
Check out the new music video from the first single “I Wanna Live.”