I was “Teslafied” on 03/25/1987 in Albuquerque, NM. My friend Steve and I had bought tickets for the Alice Cooper “Raise Your Fist And Yell” tour. At that point we had never heard of Tesla. When Tesla took the stage and vocalist Jeff Keith announced that we were about to be “Teslafied” we looked at each other in amusement, for about 30 seconds. This band ROCKED! I became an instant fan and have been ever since. I eagerly purchased each new release and caught them several times when they rolled through my town. Years later a very good friend of mine, Mike Araiza, won a chance to play a song on stage with Tesla. That one song turned into several and a long-lasting friendship with the band. A couple of years later that relationship led to a collaboration with Mike’s musical partner, vocalist Jeff Sandoval, and Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon.
04/20/2013 – My wife and I purchased VIP seats to once again see one of our favorite bands. It was a mellow evening as we waited for the show, there was no opener so the stage was set for just Tesla.
After a brief intro the band came on strong with “I Wanna Live” and took hold of the sold out crowd and never let go. Despite a few technical glitches the show went off amazingly. Jeff Keith’s vocals were spot on and powerful as ever. Smiling, and at ease, the perfect host for an evening of Rock N’ Roll. Jeff has a personality that makes you feel like you’re at a backyard party watching your friends band.
The rhythm section of Troy Luccketta and Brian Wheat anchored the band solidly. Brian is a joy to watch as a bass player. He doesn’t stand in one spot, as some other do, he plays to the crowd from all over the stage. His playing style is solid and rock steady providing the beautiful low-end to the Tesla songs we all know and love. Troy provides the beat with a no B.S. approach. Perfect timing and giving the band the foundation to rock your ass off.
Which leaves me with the Dynamic Duo of guitars, Frank Hannon and Dave Rude. These guys are here to amaze. From heartfelt acoustic, to in your face shred these two have got you covered. Frank and Dave compliment each other so well. The classic Tesla song were played live as if they were in super HD, brilliant, and flawless. Flying across the stage, engaging the crowd, drawing you in to the show. This guitar tag team remains one of my favorites. They have gotten the Rock N’ Roll equation right.
During the show we noticed that Mike Araiza and Jeff Sandoval (previously mentioned as members of the Frank Hannon band, and close personal friends) had arrived and were enjoying the show as well. We all said hello and hugs were given all around and went back to watching the show.
Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza from the Frank Hannon Band.
The evening’s set list consisted of songs from the vast library of Tesla greats. Tesla gave the crowd their money’s worth and then some. Including: “I Wanna Live”, “Hang Tough”, “Breakin’ Free”, “Heaven’s Trail”, “Mama’s Fool”, “Getting Better”, “The Way It Is”, “Signs”, “What You Give”, “Love Song”, “Edison’s Medicine”, “”Lazy Days”, “Modern Day Cowboy”, and “Little Suzi” as their encore. When their set was finished the band took pictures of the crowd and thanked and shook hands with as many as they could from the stage.
The show was over but the evening had just begun to get interesting. We hung around and caught up with Jeff and Sharon Sandoval and Mike and Marta Araiza. During our catching up a magic “King” and “Queen” (they’ll know who they are when they read this) managed to slip us a couple of guest passes to meet the band. All of these years of listening to Tesla and now we were getting the chance to meet them.
We got meet and talk with Frank Hannon, Troy Luccketta, Brian Wheat, and Dave Rude (Jeff Keith had already retired to the tour bus). We hung around for about an hour and half just talking about projects, music etc. Jeff Sandoval was in full on pimp mode telling the band members about this blog site. He sure made me feel good about what I am doing here on this blog. The guys took a definite interest in it and we shared information for future writings and interviews. Thank you Jeff, Mike, and Marta for the chance to meet this great bunch of guys.
Mike Araiza, Frank Hannon, the Hellion, Mrs. Hellion, and Jeff Sandoval
Dave Rude and the Hellion
Troy Luccketta and the Hellion
Brian Wheat and the Hellion
A very special thanks to Jeff, Frank, Brian, Troy, and Dave from Tesla, you guys continue to amaze.
A super special thank you to Frank Hannon for making the evening EXTRA special!
“Lazy Days and Crazy Nights” for sure!
It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!