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.
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.
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!
Thank you for sharing the experience Hellion Rocks! Excellent photos. I love the expression on Troys face while he’s holding the coffee cup! I’ve been a fan since 1986, experienced some mild depression when they dropped off the scene for awhile (I think Jeff had some gig called Sofa King at that point heh 🙂 and was overjoyed about the “Replugged” tour. My husband and I saw FHB at the M15. Frank and your buddies ROCKED! I can’t wait to see Tesla on LDCN tour. Hope they come to SCAL SOON!
Thanks for the feedback. My mission is keep people informed of the goings on in the Rock N’ Roll world. I appreciate readers like you and hope you share my page with friends and help it keep it alive! FHB is fun huh? -the Hellion
Hellion, I met JK and Frank just before a show in Sioux Falls SD and they were both so nice. I was just a blithering idiot but they both made me feel like they were happy to be there talking to me. After the show I was fortunate enough to talk to both of them again, as well as meed Dave, Troy and Brian. Dave is quite possibly the nicest human being on the planet. He told me he saw me singing along with every song every word and he looked amazed at that fact. I was amazed that he remembered and was so nice to me. LOVE the boys of Tesla.
That’s awesome!They are wonderful people. Thanks for stopping in. Let your friends know Rock is alive right here!!
Thanks for this article. I was the short person who sat right next to you and your wife at the ABQ TESLA concert on 4/20/13. It did rock! The energy here was enough to raise the roof. This was one of the best concerts I have been to at Route 66 casino. The pictures here are excellent.
Awesome! Nice to “meet”you. It was an awesome show and thanks fire the kind words. Hope you enjoy more articles on here. You ROCK!!! -the Hellion
Hi Hellion! It’s great to read a blog about Tesla! I’m from Mendoza, Argentina, and I’ve been a fan of the band since 1989, when I found The Great Radio Controversy in a store and have never looked back ever since. Sadly, Tesla is one of the few bands I truly love that have never come to play in my country, so I’d like, if you have a chat with them, if you could mention them this fact. Argentina is a great place for hard rock bands, with enthusiastic fans avid to watch their idols playing live for them. Tesla rocks and I’m grateful they’re still around doing new records and tours. I’m a guitarist myself, been with three bands in the past and Frank Hannon has always been one of my faves. Have a great day, Hellion!
Thanks for the kind words! Keep Rock alive!!! -the Hellion