Tesla Resonates at Thunder Valley
In the late 1800s, a guy by the name of Nikola Tesla was busy inventing a new kind of transformer, not realizing the level of energy his name would carry into the future.
I’m not going to go into a lot of history since Tesla is a Sacramento band and most readers know who the hell these guys are. They started in the ’80s and, for the most part, were labeled a hair, metal, or glam band. As history has proven, those labels didn’t come close to describing their mix of soulful blues and metal.
While many “hair” bands of the ’80s are balding, gray and pretty much forgotten, Tesla remains one of the few ’80s bands still producing great music, both collectively and as solo artists. Yes, they’ve aged as we all have (thanks to radio personality Don Geronimo for pointing this out, but more on that later), but they’ve never sounded better, and Saturday night at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort was no exception.
Just before the show, the audience was treated to an appearance of the latest member of the Tesla family, Joe Bob Jeffrey Keith. It was kind of a family-album moment, and you could tell lead singer and father Jeff Keith was in his dad element. When he introduced the newest member his daughter Courtney handed off Joe Bob to their father.
The band kicked off the concert with “Forever More,” followed by “Hang Tough.” These guys are high energy and were constantly on the move. Band members were flinging picks throughout the show. I was afraid I was going to lose an eye.
Just prior to “Breakin’ Free,” the band pretty much challenged Don Geronimo. It appears there’s a bit of a tiff between Tesla and Geronimo. It all started when Tesla was asked to play at the Here We Rally at Cesar Chavez Park in support of the Kings. Just before the rally, Geronimo went on a rant about the band members. Bass player Brian Wheat took exception to his comments and posted his response on Tesla’s site.
I guess we’ll see if Geronimo responds. I can see it now. Thunder Valley Casino and Resort presents the “Ultimate Mud Wrestling Championship: Tesla vs. Don Geronimo.” I’ve never heard Geronimo’s show before, but I did listen to the show in question, and I’ve determined Geronimo gets off by demeaning people in general, so I wouldn’t take it too personally. However, what he did say, according to Wheat’s post, is pretty personal. This from a guy who, when he was just starting out, was fired for forging an FCC broadcasting license.
Back to the concert. Like I was saying, these guys are high energy. They were a blur of action until their acoustic set. I thought the audience would start to lose interest going to a mellower sound, but the crowd remained engaged, clapping as guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude flawlessly performed “Love Song” with Wheat joining in.
For their last song, “Signs”, a lucky 98 Rock contest winner was invited to join the band onstage to sing the intro. Jody Snider was thrilled to learn that she had won the opportunity and was joined by a friend. They also had the opportunity to go backstage and have their picture taken with the band. The whole time they were bubbling with excitement.
Like the original Tesla coil, Tesla the band has just gotten bigger and better over time. Both the coil and the band now operate at extremely high-peak power levels with the ability to reach mucho megawatts (just ask the sound guy). They proved that Saturday night with a high-energy show. And to prove they still have it, Tesla will be at Dimple Records on Tuesday signing autographs and performing an acoustic set for the release of their new album, “Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions.” They will be at 2433 Arden Way Sacramento, CA 95825-2411. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
The CD has six original tracks that were recorded in 2005 at Wheat’s recording studio, J Street Recorders. These were the last recordings with original member Tommy Skeoch. Wheat’s studio burned down last year and, lucky for Tesla fans, not all their recordings were destroyed in the fire. Wheat is rebuilding, and rumor has it the new studio will be named The Trax.
Join the band out at Dimple Records and show them some Sacramento love!
As for Don Gerinomo. Donnie, I’ve never listen to you before today and I don’t plan on listening to you again, but I’ve been listening to Tesla for over 20 years and will be listening for another 20.