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Rockers Tesla Stay True To Today

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Tesla bassist Brian Wheat says the veteran California hard rock group’s new album, “Forever More,” is “what Tesla should sound like in 2008.” That didn’t stop the group from tapping a bit of its past to help out with it, however.

The album reunites Tesla with Terry Thomas, who also produced 1994’s gold album “Bust a Nut.” But, Wheat says, there were no concerns that the collaboration would date either party.

“Terry’s a lot like us — he likes a very melodic song as well as ... the powerful stuff,” explains Wheat, 44. “Terry’s thing is dynamics and power. And sometimes you need that outside, objective opinion.

“That’s what he brought into it. We’re so used to doing things the way we’ve done ’em for so many years, and what (Thomas) brought in was thinking outside the box and tailoring things, trimming them up, getting really focused to the point instead of having six different sections to a song ... those kinds of things.”

Besides being Tesla’s first batch of original material in four years — following the 2007 covers collection “Real to Reel” — “Forever More” is also the group’s first new album with guitarist Dave Rude, who joined after a semi-acrimonious parting in 2006 with founding member Tommy Skeoch, who’s spending more time with his family after years of battling substance abuse. But these days, Wheat notes, “the Tesla environment is pretty comfortable and relaxed, where it hasn’t been so relaxed in the past.

“It’s always tough; we’re talking about replacing one of the guys, and that decision wasn’t made lightly. It’s always tough emotionally and stuff, but it’s just something that had to be done. It was better for (Skeoch) and better for the band.

“Now people are saying, ‘You put so much (music) out the last two years, you guys seem to be on a creative tear. It’s just that there’s no distractions anymore. We can just be a band and be creative and put stuff out and work. It’s a great place to be after all these years.”

Tesla performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Oct. 17) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $35 and $27.50. (Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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