NEPA Scene Staff

’80s rock band Tesla will electrify Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Oct. 21

’80s rock band Tesla will electrify Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Oct. 21
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From a press release:

It was announced today that multi-platinum rock band Tesla, known for a string of hits in the ’80s and ’90s like “Little Suzi,” “Modern Day Cowboy,” “Love Song,” and “The Way It Is,” will perform at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $35 in advance or $40 the day of the show, go on sale this Friday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. at and all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe), and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Penn’s Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

Thanks to their diehard fan base and their younger offspring, Tesla continues to tour to sold-out crowds around the world. 30+ years of kickass rock ‘n’ roll songs take their audiences on a musical journey that keeps their loyal fans coming back and has newcomers realizing, “Wow, I didn’t know they did that song!

Tesla was formed in Sacramento, California in 1985 out of an earlier, locally popular group called City Kidd, which dated back to 1982. The band wrote original music and knew their name didn’t fit the sound. At management’s suggestion, the band named itself after the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, who pioneered the radio and other innovations but was only given belated credit for doing so.

After playing several showcases in Los Angeles, Tesla quickly scored a deal with Geffen and released their debut album, “Mechanical Resonance,” in 1986, which produced the hard rock hits “Little Suzi” and “Modern Day Cowboy” and crowd favorites “Cumin’ Atcha Live” and “Gettin’ Better.” “Mechanical Resonance” reached the Top 40 on the album charts and eventually went platinum.

It was the follow-up, 1989’s “The Great Radio Controversy,” that truly broke the band. The first single, “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” was a hit with hard rock audiences, setting the stage for the second single, a comforting ballad called “Love Song” that substituted a dash of hippie utopianism for the usual power ballad histrionics.

“Love Song” hit the pop Top 10 and made the band stars, pushing “The Great Radio Controversy” into the Top 20 and double-platinum sales figures; the follow-up single, “The Way It Is,” was also a hit, along with “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)” and “Hang Tough.”

Tesla’s music is often referred to as heavy metal but is better described as blues metal. The band’s lyrics also strayed from the themes popular in heavy metal, particularly in the 1980s at the beginning of their career. A further distinction from their contemporaries was their blue-collar, T-shirt-and-jeans image, which was in strong contrast to glam bands of the time that were characterized by big hair, leather pants, and flashy makeup. During the early years of their career, the group toured with David Lee Roth, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith.

To celebrate their 30th anniversary as Tesla, they revisited their first album with “Mechanical Resonance Live!,” released on Aug. 26, 2016 (Tesla Electric Company Recordings/Mailboat/Frontiers).

Recorded in the spring and fall of 2015 while on tour with Def Leppard, the album spruces up the classic 12-song tracklisting with 21st century live renditions. Bringing everything full circle, they owe its genesis to the suggestion of a close friend and fan, Phil Collen of Def Leppard.

“Phil came into our dressing room to have a talk with us one night,” recalls Hannon. “As a true fan of Tesla, he suggested that we record a live rendition of ‘Mechanical Resonance.’ It was just a brilliant idea. We immediately agreed with him.”

“We pride ourselves on being great on stage, and we were really able to capture that,” says Wheat. “It’s a bit of déjà vu. 30 years ago, we were on tour with Def Leppard promoting ‘Mechanical Resonance.’ 30 years later, we’re touring with Def Leppard and promoting ‘Mechanical Resonance!’”

For the first time since the record’s original tour cycle, Tesla dusted off deep cuts like “We’re No Good Together” and “Before My Eyes.” Mixed by Wheat in his own studio, the recordings pack a powerful and passionate punch by preserving the original performances.

“Some of these live renditions are better than the performances on the original record,” continues Wheat. “It’s just us doing what Tesla do best – playing live. I wanted it to be as in-your-face as it could be.”

“It’s completely honest and real,” Hannon concurs. “When you listen to it, you’ll hear the imperfections and nuances because it’s 100 percent us.”

As much as it honors their legacy, “Mechanical Resonance Live!” hints at Tesla’s future as well. The band included a brand new track, “Save That Goodness,” produced and written by Phil Collen. Energized by bombastic guitars, robust grooves, and an epic refrain complete with a choir call-and-response, the song remains a welcome addition within their storied catalog.

“It’s definitely reminiscent of Tesla’s style because it’s got a positive message in the lyrics, and the vibe is really upbeat,” Hannon exclaims.

“We love the way Phil works,” Wheat goes on. “You’ll hear more of that quality down the line. It’s got the ‘Little Suzi’ good time vibe.”

The 21st century has become something of a renaissance for Tesla. 2014’s “Simplicity” bowed at No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200. The group ignited ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in addition to scorching stages at festivals such as Rocklahoma, Graspop Metal Meeting, and Sweden Rock Festival, as well as the cruise Monsters of Rock. Remaining committed to philanthropy, they hosted a benefit for The Station nightclub fire in addition to playing a rally for the Sacramento Kings. They simply never stop.

As they cut their ninth full-length album with Collen at the helm, Tesla take a big leap forward as they glance back on “Mechanical Resonance Live!”

“I want people to feel like Tesla is still full of energy these days,” concludes Hannon. “That’s it.”

“This is a band we started in Frank’s garage when I was 18, and Frank was 15,” Wheat leaves off. “I’m proud we’re still standing this many years later. It’s a pretty cool place to be. I’d love for people to think, ‘That band has managed to stay in the game for 30+ years, and they’re still playing great shows and putting out quality music.’ Now, just turn the shit up when you listen to it. It was made to play loud.”