Tesla had its greatest success during the ’80s, with albums such as “The Great Radio Controversy” and, in 1990, the live “Five Man Acoustical Jam.” But the members of the California hard rock group fight being viewed strictly as part of that era.
“Bands are always lumped into the era that they’re from,” says guitarist Frank Hannon, 43, who co-founded Tesla — named after inventor and engineer Nikolai Tesla — in 1984 in Sacramento. “The Beach Boys will always be from the ’60s, but they are also lumped into a surf music kind of thing.
“With Tesla, we’re from the ’80s but we weren’t really lumped into that whole glam-rock thing. It’s because our songs were more from the gut and from the heart and weren’t as cheesy and, like, party music as all the stuff was back then.”
Tesla sought to keep a claim on its credibility last year with “Forever More,” the quintet’s first set of all-new material in five years. The group is still actively working the set — it just released a video for the song “Breaking Free” — and Hannon says Tesla has been pleased with the reception its gotten.
“Our die-hard fans embraced it and they liked it, and that’s hard to do for a band that’s had a long history of breaking records,” says Hannon, noting that Tesla’s next move will be recording two separate live albums, for the U.S. and Europe, that will be released in 2010.
“You’re always a little bit apprehensive when you make a record, whether nor not people are gonna dig it. But we always push ourselves to keep trying to write quality songs, ’cause that’s what it’s all about. We push ourselves to try to remain valid and not just be a nostalgia band.”
Tesla and Slight Return perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 5) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $37.50 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www. palacenet.com.
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