Dave Rude, Guitarist of Tesla Interviewed via phone
on 25th June, 2007 by Glenn Milligan
Glenn: Hi, it’s Glenn from Metalliville.com
Dave: Hey Glenn, it’s Dave Rude.
Glenn: Hi, how you doing?
Dave: Good, how are you man?
Glenn: Sound. What made you guys decide to make the new album ‘Real To Reel’ an anologue production?
Dave: Well we wanted to keep it all in tradition with the way that original songs were done because a lot of bands have done covers records but we wanted to make ours different and we obviously made it a double record so it’s lots of songs and also we thought it’d be cool to keep it in that original vibe. So we recorded it on all vintage gear and all analogue tape and all that but we also did it in the way that other albums were recorded. Like most of ‘em are… the bulk of each song is one take.
Dave: You know, live in the studio and with very minimal overdubs and fixes.
Glenn: It comes across like that because when you listen to the digital recordings these days, this album comes across so warm and real – the presense is there which I think digitally it’s lost that as opposed to the original vinyl sound. I suppose you guys think the same about that?
Dave: Yeah man, I agree. I think tape has a real warm sound to it that digital recordings don’t have. Digital recording is cool you know, Tesla were recording like that before I was in the band but wanted to get that warm sound because that’s what the originals had.
Glenn: Yeah, got ya. Makes sense to me. How did you go about choosing? You must have had a real long list of songs to choose from for the album.
Dave: We did. I mean, we had 5 discs of stuff we were going through. We had played a few of these songs already on Tour last Summer in America and we would learn a song at soundcheck and try it out that night at this gig and a few of them we got that way like ‘Rock Bottom’ and ‘Saturday Night Special’. There was a few that came across from there that we knew we liked a lot and the crowd liked a lot. The rest of them, we roughly have the same influences so we all sorta liked everything – it was really more what was suited to Jeff’s voice and what song we had the best vibe on when we played it.
Glenn: So in essence there was so much to choose from. So instead of ditching and canning the rest for a few years, you’ll release a volume 2 for the fans to get at gigs and also Classic Rock are bringing it out in the UK.
Glenn: Yeah. I think it’s a brilliant way for fans to get new music from yourselves and also it promotes the gig as well. So people are gonna say, ‘I’ll go and see Tesla because they are giving a new album away, so it’s 2 in 1 so it’s a really good idea. Who came up with that idea?
Dave: It was kind of a collaborative thing with all the guys and management. It sorta came together. A lot of it actually had to do with the packaging because since we recorded on reel to reel and that’s what it ended up being called . Then the idea came, ‘well let’s make the packaging like a reel to reel tape machine’. Have you seen the actual packaging yet?
Glenn: Well I’ve got the promotional version with the reel tape on the cover.
Dave: Ok, well you actually get the case. It’s really cool. It’s like a digipack and it folds out into like an 8-panel thing and it looks like an old reel to reel tape.
Glenn: Oh nice one.
Glenn: I used to have one as a kid see so I am into all that sort of stuff.
Dave: Sweet Dude ! That’s cool.
(We laugh about the fact)
I was looking at what the word ‘Tesla’ meant …
Glenn: … and it’s the strength of a magnetic field so really it’s a perfect name for a band and a perfect cover to go with it as well.
Dave: Yeah, because Tesla was a great inventor and we are called Tesla. Exactly.
Glenn: Nice One. What would you say are some of your favourite songs on this album and why?
Dave: I love ‘Stealin’ – I think Jeff’s vocals on that are amazing – I love that song. I love ‘Walk Away’; ‘Bad Reputation’. It’s had to choose, I like ‘Rock Bottom’ – that’s such a cool thing.
Glenn: Yeah, UFO.
Dave: And Frank's solo ! I don’t know, I like ‘em all man. I like ‘Honky Tonk Women’ you know, it’s hard to choose.
Glenn: Yeah – I tell you which one that you’d not mentioned and it was the one that blew my mind actually – it was the version that you did of The Beatle’s ‘I got a feeling’.
Dave: Oh yeah.
Glenn: Reason being is because no-one ever covers that song and it’s one of the best ever songs they ever did.
Dave: I know, I know man. I dig that one too. We actually did that a bunch live and people seem to love it and you are right, like no one ever does that song.
Glenn: No it’s all the obvious singles all the time innit.
Dave: Right, exactly.
Glenn: Or ‘Helter Skelter’.
Dave: Yeah (laughs)
Glenn: A million times (I joke).
Dave: Exacty, everyone does the same stuff which is another thing, we didn’t want to do all the same songs that other bands have done. So we would go for stuff that was well known enough so people recognise it and that we like it but it wasn’t like completely a huge hit – we wanna go a little bit obscure.
Glenn: That’s what I liked about it because you have got songs there for the mainstream people…
Glenn: And you’ve got stuff for people who know a bit more and delve more into album tracks and there was songs on there and I was thinking ‘Who’s done this?’ and I was looking on the internet thinking ‘It’s a Temptations’ song or something – it’s like wow.
Dave: Ha-ha, yeah. It’s like everybody goes, ‘they know the lyrics to that one and they’re like ‘Who the f*ck is this?’ and they are like ‘Oh, it’s The Temptations in like rock ‘n’ roll you know.
Glenn: And they often play that song on the radio across here. I think it was on the radio a couple of weeks ago on BBC Radio 2.
Dave: Oh cool.
Glenn: So I thought, ‘I’ve heard this one- ahh – this is where I’ve heard it before’.
Dave: Ha-ha, that’s cool man!
Glenn: Yeah it is, aye! What’s it mean to you playing the UK? Is it the 1st time you have been in the UK for you when you are gonna be playing some gigs?
Dave: Yeah, yeah – Tesla hasn’t been to the UK or Europe since the early 90’s since ‘The Psychotic Supper Tour’.
Dave: It’s been a while and I’ve really excited to be here.
Dave: Yeah, we’re stoked !
Glenn: What would you say your favourite gigs are that you’ve played so far, either in the past or in your own band ‘The Dave Rude Band’ or with Tesla over in the States?
Dave: Oh man, there’s so many. One cool one with Tesla was last July we did this big festival, I think it was ‘Rockfest’ or something in Wisconsin and we played in front of about 30,000 people opening for Motley Crue – that was great.
Glenn: Nice One. I saw them the other week. I saw them at Download at Donington Park and I must say they were in the tent and they should have been on the main stage because they blew the place away. There’s been talk that they stole the whole weekend.
Dave: Motley Crue?
Dave: They were good?
Glenn: They were absolutely exceptional – they put on a proper rock ‘n’ roll show with all plugs pulled and they were absolutely unbeatable – Vince’s voice was spot on. I mean I sing a bit myself and he got every single note – he was absolutely spot on.
Dave: Gee, I’ve seen them a few times on their, since they got back the original members and it’s been phenomenal everytime I’ve seen them. I think they’re great.
Glenn: Definitely. Yeah.
Glenn: Did you get to decide to who was gonna play on the bill for the London gig at all or was that down to Classic Rock Magazine?
Dave: What for ther Shepherd’s Bush one?
Dave: You know I’m not sure yet, I haven’t heard. But I know there will be someone at least.
Glenn: I know you’ve got Fastway who I also saw at Donington.
Dave: Oh, how were they?
Glenn: They were absolutely exceptional, they’ve got ‘Toby Jepson’ on lead vocals and he’d only been in rehearsal with them for about 2 weeks because the guy that was playing couldn’t make it and had to pull out as Harvey has another band called ‘Stormzone’. So Toby was ‘full-on 2 weeks rehearsals and they got it down to a ‘T’. I was really, really impressed. Then there’s another band called ‘McQueen’ who are sort of like Girlschool, Broadzilla sort of stuff – they are a decent enough band. I have seen them support WASP and one or two other bands in Sheffield. Be nice to get Tesla in Sheffield.
Dave: Yeah, that’d be good.
Glenn: The first time I ever heard of Tesla was on MTV Unplugged when Jeff took his hat off during ‘Signs’ and all the hair came down and it was like a massive statement – a f*ck*ng awesome moment to see.
Dave: Totally. That was one of the biggest hits they ever had. A song that everyone freaks out on live too.
Glenn: I’m not surprised. What made the band decide to go on their own distribution with ‘Rykodisk’? Was due to the fact that you could get a better deal yourselves as opposed to releasing the album on some major label and not making enough money from it and just not having enough control over it or were there other reasons as well?
Dave: I think it’s that and also just so the band has more control because if you are on a record label you never know if you are gonna get attention from the staff and they are really gonna work your record but this way Tesla can do all their own promotions and control everything so it’s like we are working real hard to promote the record and we don’t have to worry about some other band on the label getting the attention because there are a lot of bands.
Glenn: Exactly. Because otherwise it’s a small fish in a big pond so to speak on a big label. Like if you are on something like Geffen, I mean how many more hundred bands are on the same label? Is right that isn’t it?
Dave: Yeah, exactly and there are hundreds of bands that are on major labels that you will never hear of because if you are on the same label as ‘Jennifer Lopez’ then they are not gonna push your record they are gonna push hers.
Glenn: Yeah, they are gonna get the millions back on hers aren’t they (I laugh).
Dave: Yeah, exactly.
Glenn: Yeah, it’s a fikled business, I’ve got a few mates who have been in and out of the business.
Dave: Yeah, definitely.
Glenn: What sorts of songs can we expect to hear in the brand new set?
Dave: Well for this show on Thursday we’ll be definitely doing a lot of Tesla because we haven’t been back here for so long so we wanna come back out with the classic Tesla stuff and we’ve also been doing a lot of older songs from the bands catalogue that we haven’t played in a long time. Some of the stuff we haven’t done in, you know, 20 years like ‘Lazy Days, Crazy Nights’; ‘EZ Come, EZ Go’; stuff from Psychotic Supper like ‘Freedom Slaves’ – we’ve been doing that in America and its been really good and we are often changing the set a lot, every night or so and we have so many covers songs that we’ve been changing those around really frequently too. But like I said, this run here we won’t be doing as many cover songs because the album’s not out yet.
Glenn: Exactly yeah.
Dave: But we are planning to come back so when we do we will probably be playing more ‘Real to Reel’ and like I said, that changes night to night.
Glenn: As well it stops it getting boring. It’s not like your typical set list – like different place, same songs and I suppose that gets really tedious as well because it’s nothing different.
Glenn: It’s just the same thing no matter where you are.
Dave: Definitely yeah. That’s what’s nice about it and the other thing is there are a lot of songs, especially Tesla songs and especially some of these covers also that have a lot of places for improvisation and playing them out. So if even within the same songs sometimes it’s different every night.
Glenn: Yeah. How have the gigs been going? Have you attracted quite a lot of newer fans or have the old fans crept out the woodwork again to support you?
Dave: You know it’s a little bit of both. Tesla has really die-hard fans. Tesla fly out to see the band from all over the world literally and they are still here, hanging out, coming to the shows and having a great time. I’ve noticed in the States that there’s a lot more young people coming to shows and you’ll see 15 year old kids in Guns ‘N’ Roses T-shirts and they are singing along to every lyric to song and I think that’s pretty cool.
Glenn: Would you say that’s probably because of song of the magazines like ‘Metal Edge’ and such like and there’s newer bands in them citing a band like Tesla as being a big influence for them to form a band in the 1st place as well.
Dave: And there’s not many magazines covering this type of music now.
Glenn: We’ve got one or two – the main one being Classic Rock’ Magazine.
Dave: Oh I love ‘Classic Rock’ man. It costs me an arm and a leg but I buy it anyway.
Glenn: Do you find that a lot of the fans are my sort of age – mid 30’s?
Dave: Yeah – there’s a lot of that. A lot of the… still the bulk of the fans are people who grew up with it.
Glenn: What would we expect to see in your record collection? I know one of the members of Tesla discovered you via ‘MySpace’.
Glenn: What did it mean to you becoming a member of Tesla?
Dave: You know I’ve got of the same sort of Classic Rock stuff that probably you have and the rest of the band. Guns ‘N’ Roses are probably my favourite band, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones - all that you know, Stevie Ray Vaughn – I am into the blues. I’m kind of more into classic bands because there are not that many new things that turn me on. I do like Buckcherry, I like Incubus, I like some of the Jet – some of their newer stuff - not too many of the newer things and for me it’s just great to be playing with Tesla because I grew up listening to them. I was younger, I was a kid when I first got into ‘em but I loved ‘m – I got that acoustic record (Five Man Acoustical Jam) and I’ve listened to it forever so it was definitely a thrill to get the e-mail you know.
Glenn: So I suppose it’s a dream come true to play with one of your favourite bands?
Dave: Yeah, totally, totally.
Glenn: It’s made things so much easier with the internet.
Dave: Like the way I hooked up with them never could have happened ten years ago. I didn’t even know they were looking for a guitarist – it was just completely out of the blue. It would have been a thing where they would have to put out an audition call and send in tapes and all this.
Glenn: Yeah and because you have your biography and songs on myspace all they have to do is check you out for a bit and say, ‘I like the sound of this guy, let’s get him in’ sorta thing.
Glenn: It’s spot on for you.
Glenn: How did you start on guitar in the first place? Was it through school? Through Parents?
Dave: It was my parents I guess. I had always wanted to play since I was a little kid. I’d been bugging my mum for lessons since I was like 5 and I started actually taking lessons when I was 9. Just cause I always love it – I loved music since before I could talk and that’s what I wanted to do. I got lessons since I was 9 and I played from then on. I got into rock ‘n’ roll about when I was 11 and got into Tesla when I was 12 and just kept playing. I took lessons till I was about 17 and just kept playing more and more on my own and finding bands, and you know – the usual.
Glenn: Yeah. Do you still see members of your old band? Do you still have that band running as well?
Dave: I still do that thing. It’s like I kind of split my time between the 2 bands – it’s not really a side project – I do both. Oh yeah definitely, obviously we are out on the road so much, we aint doing any live stuff but right now we are getting together our new EP. Michael Rosen produced it. He’s the guy that worked on the new record – he mixed and engineered it and he co-produced it into the now with the last 2 Tesla studio albums. He produced my band new EP that’s coming out in about a month so we’re just getting all the logistical stuff – we are working all that together.
Glenn: Yeah, that’s cool. Then it’d be nice if you could do a support slot for Tesla abd then join the main band. (I laugh)
Dave: Yeah, that’d be great man.
Glenn: It would yeah.
Dave: It’d be fun. We are actually trying to get some tour stuff too. We’d love to come over to Europe because things like England and especially Germany, places like that just like Rock ‘n’ Roll than America (laughs).
Glenn: Yeah. Regarding the album cover of ‘Real To Reel’ did you all come to a unanimous decision with the tape on the front.
Dave: No I think it was just sort of … I mean everyone liked it so it wasn’t sort of a serious thing. It was just a collaboration between the band and the management. When you fold it looks like a tape machine so each disc looks like a reel of tape. So when you get it in the store the other disc is missing and it says ‘go to see a Tesla show’ so it’s pretty cool.
Glenn: It is yeah, definitely.
Dave: I haven’t seen a packaging idea like that in a long time.
Glenn: No, me neither. So how has the promotion been going so far? Has it been interview after interview after interview.. and it’s been like ‘Oh not another one man’
Dave: (Laughs) No for me it’s fine. I’m new to it so I enjoy it and I know all the other guys still do too. We’ve been working a lot for it over in the States. A week before the record came out we were flying all over doing tv shows and radio all day before it was even out.
Glenn: Oh excellent.
Dave: So we’ve been busy every day – pretty much every time we have a show we have interviews everyday on the phone or whatever and it’s been good.
Glenn: So I suppose you’ve got to see parts of the United States that you’ve never seen before as well?
Dave: Oh yeah, tons man.
Glenn: What’s been your favourite so far and made you think, ‘I’d love to come here again’?
Dave: You know what, it sounds crazy but I really love Nashville, Tennessee. It’s like the country capital of the world. I’m not that into country – I like old country like Johnny Cash.
Glenn: Yeah, I’m not bothered about a lot of the new stuff either.
Dave: Yeah, I mean the new stuff is cool but it’s more pop.
Glenn: It is yeah.
Dave: It all sounds like 80’s Rock – it sounds like Def Leppard sorta pop-rock.
Dave: Which is kinda cool but it’s not really country anymore but that was the 2nd to last show we played before we came over here (to the UK) and we had a few days off in Nashville and I’ve been there a few times on tour and I just.. I really like the vibe and there’s so much good musicianship there.
Glenn: Yeah, definitely.
Dave: I love it and I love New York man.
Glenn: What do you do outside music?
Dave: That’s kinda what I do but I don’t really have many.. (laughs) I like to exercise. It’s really anything cool.
Glenn: Just keeping fit and that ready for the next gig.
Dave: Yeah, that’s pretty much. I like that. With the two bands I am pretty much busy all the time.
Glenn: How have the reviews for the album been so far? I personally gave the album ‘Real To Reel’ 10/10.
Dave: Oh that’s brilliant.
Glenn: As soon as I got it I banged it on straight away…
Glenn: …and I was really… I was so impressed and reviewed it for the website straight away.
Dave: From what I have heard all the reviews have been pretty positive and all the DJ’s and stuff that we’ve met with while doing radio stuff, they’ve all love it a lot and people have been playing it.
Dave: The fan reaction has been great too.
Glenn: Brilliant. Have you had chance to support many other bigger artists as well or do dual headlining shows while you’ve been playing?
Dave: We’ve mainly headlined and this tour it’s pretty much all a headlining tour except for a couple of maybe festivals here and there. Last Summer we had a lot of 80’s bands open for us which was a real trip for me because I’d grown up listening to them. Like Skid Row opened up for us at a bunch of shows, like Warrant and Slaughter and all these bands. I don’t think those guys ever got too big over here (in the UK) but I’d definitely grown up to them with posters on my wall – now they’re opening – it’s pretty cool.
Glenn: Yeah it is mate. A lot of it is still played over here in our club, well most clubs – the rock clubs that is over here because there’s nothing to really on that scale to replace it to be honest.
Dave: Yeah (agreeing with me)
Glenn: It’s all still there such as like ‘Tesla’ – you guarantee every few weeks you’ll get ‘Modern Day Cowboy’ or something.
Glenn: So it’s all still there somewhat. You just gotta dig it out a bit.
Dave: Yeah man - Totally, totally ! You know there are newer bands doing that. Actually right now the American Tour we have with this band from LA opening for us called ‘Poets & Pornstars’. They’re great and they’re definitely a Classic Rock type of vibe – you’ll probably dig ‘em a lot. The singer’s from London actually.
Dave: Yeah, definitely check ‘em out – Poets and Porn Stars.
Glenn: Will do. Excellent. Have you got any road stories you can re-cap on that’s printable that is?
Dave: You know honestly man, it’s pretty tame because we don’t like party or anything when we are on the road. We don’t drink or do anything when we are working. I know there’s been all kinds of stuff. I’m not really hiding much – I can’t really think of much - we do the show and then we get on the bus and leave. There’s not like highjinks going on. (Laughs).
Glenn: I mean the guys have been around quite a bit somewhat so they did all that back in the 80’s.
Dave: Exactly – now they are older.
Glenn: Now they are like married men with kids and houses and all the rest of it like any other person.
Dave: (laughing) Exactly, I’m the only one who’s like, ‘Alright, let’s go party’. I’m younger so I’m like, ‘Cool man, you know wherever we are – this is fun’. I mean not, of course they’re into it still but they don’t go out still.
Glenn: Yeah that’s it – (they’re like) ‘been there, done that, bought the t-shirt’.
Dave: Yeah, exactly, they’ve already done it more than most people can handle so I’m sure they’ve had their fill.
Glenn: Of all the different types of songs, what’s been your most, even though you’ve not been part of it as such, looking back at the history of the band, what songs have really stood out to you and which albums and which performances have you thought, ‘Yeah, I really do like that’ and for what reason?
Dave: My favourite Tesla record is definitely ‘Psychotic Supper’. I like that one – it has the most timeless feel and production and every song on that is so good. In particular ‘What U Give’ – I’ve always loved that song. I think it’s one of the best rock ballads ever written. I’ve always thought that and I’ve loved it since the first time I heard it when I was 13. The guitar solos – that’s one of my favourite solos ever of anybody. You know what I mean?
Dave: So that one. Others of the acoustic record is just great because there’s so many. When you have a good song, I think the test is to be able to do it acoustic.
Dave: And if it still comes across and as great…
Glenn: It’s a good song.
Dave: Then it’s a really good song and what’s interesting is that I had never heard Tesla before I got that record.
Dave: And I love Tesla because of the acoustic record. It’s all because of the melody and the lyrics and the of course the guitar playing but it wasn’t like some huge heavy guitar record. The song-writing still came across and just the authenticity of it all. So that was a cool (album) but I love playing ‘Mama’s Fool’ – I think that’s a great song from ‘Break A Nut’. Another one of the ‘Psychotic Supper’ that I like that we’ve also been doing live is ‘Freedom Slave’ – I think that’s a great song and of course the hits – ‘Love Song’ and ‘(Modern Day) Cowboy’ but there’s tons of them but some of them connect to you and ‘Psychotic Supper’ most – most pretty much that whole record does for me - and ‘Song And Emotion’ – I love that song.
Glenn: Yeah - got ya. So it’s mainly a good mix of the ‘Psychotic Supper’ sort of stuff that you like.
Dave: ‘The Way It Is’ that’s a great one and ‘Gettin' Better’. All kind of all the classic stuff.
Glenn: Well that was a great answer. I am gonna let you get off now and we covered a load of different topics. Excellent.
Dave: Well hey Glenn it was great talking to you.
Glenn: You too. I’ll definitely see you some time this year.
Dave: Alright man, that sounds good. Ok Cool Man. Talk to you later.
Glenn: You too man.
Here's a recent update regarding the UK and US Shows - July 30th '07 via e-mail
Glenn: What was the show like at Shepherds Bush, London on 28th June, 2007 with regard to audience turnout & highlights of the show both on and off-stage?
Dave: Shepherd's Bush was the best show we've played since I've been in the band. Truly a magical night. The fans were insane--jumping in unison, singing along to the instrumental intro to Love Song, moshing during Miles Away, and crowd surfing. Amazing. Great turnout too. Can't wait to come back in the fall. English fans kick ass!!
Glenn: How are the shows in the USA? - I noticed you have been playing in Utah recently!
Dave: The US shows have been killer. We've been all over the country so far, and still have a few more months to go. Probably till the end of the year. Shows are great. We change the setlist every single night, so it's always fresh for us and the fans.
Lots of older Tesla tracks have been getting the dust knocked off 'em like: EZ Come EZ Go, Rock Me To The Top, Changes, Mama's Fool, Hang Tough, Solution, and tons more. The fans love it and it's a thrill to play all those classic songs. Still doin' stuff from the new record, Real to Reel, as well--which also goes over great.
We played in Utah two nights ago and it was a really cool show. The crowds in Utah always go crazy! It's the opposite of what you might expect, but they're some of the wildest audiences around. They really let loose at their rock shows.
See y'all in the October!!
big thankyou to Dave Rude for a mouthful of magnetism and also to Roland
Hyams for setting up the Phone Interview.