There’s a magnificent classical guitar intro for just under a minute or so at the front of Tesla’s Little Suzi which says *AWOOGA AWOOGA*‘Serious musicians at work: Do Not Underestimate’*AWoo… You get it. Then! The semi acoustic stomp of the main song kicks in. From here on, it’s face in wind fan, 80’s cheese metal of the highest order. As American as apple pie and paying through the nose for your medical treatment. This song sounds like torn stone washed denim and cowboy boots. It sounds like aviator shades and shirts with the sleeves cut off.
The country tinge to Tesla’s sound is just that little bit of mainstream post Tom Petty rock n’ roll that feels so wholesomely American that the Cowboy hat brigade simply had to assimilate it into their soundscape for the Heartland. That’s how it looks from London England any how. It never ceases to amaze me how many stetsons and spurred cowboy boots are lurking in the closets around Hammersmith.
Tesla delivered some seriously good twin guitar hard rock between the release of Mechanical Resonance in the mid 80’s and Simplicity in 2013. They were never particularly fashionable and didn’t chase any one trend at any point in that long career.
That is, if you ignore the argument that they kick started the MTV unplugged movement…Which I am going to completely ignore right now… But maybe one day…
And so it came to pass that they have had only a passing relationship with the big time outside of State Fair USA or the trenches of the Classic Rock faithful.
Their Outlaw Rock pedigree is firmed up by their early single Modern Day Cowboy, the hit they had with a cover of Five Man Electrical Bands ‘Hippy’ anthem Signs and the roots-ier numbers on their albums like Government Personnel and Freedom Slaves.
The American-ness Tesla represent is one of proud righteous defiance, of progressiveness as a virtue and of purdy girls making their way into the wide blue yonder as a beautiful thing to be proud of.
The 80’s and 90’s were a different time. Tesla’s America was the one the world once looked up to. They’re still out there you know.