The band was known more for their hard-rocking sound than what they looked like in spandex.
In the 1980s, coming out on top as a new band was far from guaranteed. Record company executives flooded the market with every glam-type hard rock band they could find. Some acts simply cared more about lipstick and hairspray than what they sounded like, yet a few managed to break through due to their sound and not their look. One of those bands was Tesla. Known more for their hard-rocking sound than what they looked like in spandex, the band emerged on the scene with their 1986 debut, Mechanical Resonance. The first single, “Modern Day Cowboy,” went straight to the top on the then-musical MTV. Significant album sales followed, making their debut an impressive one. With follow ups songs like “Little Suzi” and “Time’s Making Changes,” the band struck a chord with audiences, and gathered a dedicated rock ’n’ roll following.
Formed in Sacramento, California, in late 1981, the band changed their name from the more glam-sounding City Kidd to the more modern-sounding Tesla. After career-spanning seven albums and even more successful tours, Tesla released their latest efort, Simplicity, in 2014. A back-to-the-roots type of album, Simplicity featured music recorded organically, as opposed to using modern technology and recording techniques. Simple, back-to-the-old-school rock ’n’ roll is what Tesla does best, and they prove it on their latest album.
Live, the band is whipped into a sonic fury, delivering their patented brand of hard rock with proficiency and skill…and a whole lot of heart. Singer Jeff Keith still possesses his golden pipes, and provides a timeless vocal. With hits like “Signs,” “Love Song,” and “Edison’s Medicine,” the show promises to be quite a good one, as Tesla rarely disappoints on stage.
But are the hard rock artists of the 1980s still relevant in today’s musical culture? Bands like Tesla, Scorpions, Queensrÿche, Mötley Crüe, and Twisted Sister have more than proven that there is a large call for classic ’80s artists. Tesla is still as relevant as they were in 1986. Time has brought changes, yet they still know how to deliver. The band is also due to tour this summer supporting Def Leppard and Poison. | Marc Farr
See for yourself February 7 at St. Louis’s The Pageant, or catch them on tour across the country.
02.01 | Arcada Theatre. St. Charles IL
02.03 | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Sioux City IA
02.04 | Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake MN
02.07 | The Pageant, St. Louis
02.08 | Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
02.11 | Hobart Arena, Troy OH
02.12 | The Louisville Palace Theatre, Louisville KY
02.14 | Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
02.16 | W.D. Packard Music Hall, Warren OH
02.17 | Firekeepers Casino Hotel, Battle Creek MI
02.18 | Star Plaza Theatre, Merrillville IN
02.21 | The Fillmore, Detroit
02.23 | Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City
02.24 | Choctaw Casino CenterStage, Pocola OK
02.25 | Choctaw Grand Theater, Durant OK
02.28 | Brady Theater, Tulsa
03.02 | Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, Austin
03.03 | The Aztec Theatre, San Antonio
03.04 | House of Blues, Houston
05.06 | Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord NC