Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with TESLA guitarist Frank Hannon. Several excerpts follow:
Blasting-Zone.com: What prompted the group to record an entire album of cover material?
Frank: "Well, honestly, the truth is that we've been planning and talking about doing this type of thing for probably fifteen years…going back to our 'Five Man Acoustical Jam', which came out right after our second studio album. 'Five Man Acoustical Jam' has a lot of covers on it, but done acoustically, so even back then, we were like, 'Man, we gotta do something for the electric numbers.' We've always done covers as B-sides and we did covers in the bars, so we've been planning it for a long time. It just kinda developed over many years. Then, when so many bands started putting out covers albums recently, we decided that if we were gonna do one, it needed to be kick ass…it needs to be great. We've been doing some of these songs for years and some of them we've just learned."
Blasting-Zone.com: In hindsight, did you find it difficult to decide upon a final track listing?
Frank: "It wasn't hard in a sense that we came up with songs that are actually easy for us to perform. In the end, we would pick an artist and try a few different songs by that artist…like the DEEP PURPLE thing, ya know? I've played 'Highway Star' in other bands, but we ended up playin' 'Space Truckin'' with TESLA. It just seemed to work the best for the team. Some of the songs we've played live at our concerts for years like (the BLACK SABBATH classic) 'War Pigs'. We've been playing that for years. And 'Rock Bottom' by UFO. Brian and I have been playin' that for years…since our first cover band back in high school. We tried the songs out live during our Electric Summer tour last year and the ones that worked great are the ones that survived. Some of them just fell by the wayside."
Blasting-Zone.com: What are your current touring plans? How important is it that the public at large become re-familiarized with the TESLA "brand name?"
Frank: "We are planning on going overseas in July to do a festival with AEROSMITH. We're currently headlining our own shows. We're playing anything from two thousand seat House Of Blues-type venues to twenty thousand seat outdoor festivals. We're gonna play selectively. The Midwest is a big area for us. I'm not really part of the management stuff, but yeah, our goal is to try and get out as much as we can. But we wanna try and keep it in places where our fans can enjoy the shows."
Blasting-Zone.com: What type of set list have you been working with?
Frank: "That's another cool thing. Now that there's so many songs to choose from and we've listened to our fans on the website complain about how we used to always play the same set, this year we're changing it up. We're digging into the archives and playing songs that are like relics and we're changing the order of our set. We're totally going for it. In the past, it was more comfortable for us to play the same set every night because you know what to expect and you get really rehearsed at it. But now we've rehearsed multiple tunes and we have a different set every night. Over the past six shows that we've done, the set list has been different every night, varying with different song. And it's gonna get even more varied as time goes on. We're gonna pull off deep tracks like 'Freedom Slave' and some different songs off the albums that people haven't heard before."
Blasting-Zone.com: At this point, have you found yourself growing tired of playing (the "Five Man Electric Band" classic) "Signs" every night?
Frank: "Absolutely not. And I'll tell you why: it's because that song is a great freakin' song. The lyrics are fuckin' killer and it's just a really good song. Now if it had been some cheesy pop song, some song that we were embarrassed about, then yes, we would be like, 'oh my God, why do we have to play this shit?' But because it's such a great song, I never get tired of that one."
Blasting-Zone.com: Can your fans expect a new TESLA studio album in 2008?
Frank: "You can definitely expect one by summertime or the end of 2008. I've got about twenty five new riffs, ideas and arrangements that I'm working on. I know we all have a bunch…it's just a matter of finding the time when we're not out of tour to get together and spend two weeks recording demos. Then we'll take time away from that, let Jeff chew on 'em and write lyrics, then, two weeks after that, we'll take another two weeks and put everything together, ya know? We work in like two week increments."
Read the entire interview at Blasting-Zone.com.