Dave Rude: "I had no connection to him or the other guys in TESLA other than being a fan.""
As any of my friends or anyone who listens to my shows on Rock Radio NI will know I’m a big TESLA fan so I was delighted when Dave Rude from the band agreed to answer a few questions. I’ve also been following the Dave Rude Band for about three years and have found Dave to be a real down to earth kinda guy on the various social networking sites. Check out the DRB tracks – musically different from TESLA, but well worth a listen.... and a few quid! (Nigel)
Rock Radio NI: Dave, thanks very much for agreeing to do this Q&A session for Rock Radio NI. A lot of people over in N Ireland will know you best for being in TESLA but you also front the Dave Rude Band with Marco Guzman on bass and Josh Schmidt on drums. Tell us a bit about how the Dave Rude Band got started. and what you’ve been up to.
DR: I started DRB in late 2005 when I finally got sick of looking for a singer and decided to do it myself. I'd just gotten out of a long, serious band commitment situation and I was sick of that idea too. My intent was to just be a solo artist and hire people to play with as needed. However, that didn't last long after I started playing with Marco and Josh because the chemistry was too great. We really are a band, not a solo project, but after a while the name just stuck.
RRNI: The Dave Rude Band have now released two cds with 6 tracks on the first one and 7 tracks on last years “Carry Me Home”. You’ve also recently made a couple of new tracks available for download. What plans do the band have for the next few months?
DR: We'll continue recording new tracks, as we're writing all the time. The last weekend of January is our next scheduled recording session and I'm stoked. We've got a lot of really cool new jams I want people to hear.
RRNI: Most TESLA fans will know the story of how you were recruited by Frank Hannon for his solo project after being seen on MySpace and then went on to join TESLA. How did he make contact and was there much online interaction before you met up? I presume you still had to do a live audition for Frank and TESLA as well?
DR: He just emailed my on Myspace, back when that site was still all the rage. I had no connection to him or the other guys in TESLA other than being a fan. I didn't know them personally or anything at all. We talked on the phone after that and 4 days later I drove up and sat in with his solo band, Frank Hannon Band, at a gig in Sacramento (there is YouTube footage of this somewhere). That was the only thing close to an "audition". After that, I toured a few weeks with his band to learn the TESLA material and 2 months later we started my first TESLA tour. A whirlwind to say the least!
RRNI: I’ve been following the Dave Rude Band now for a few years. Reading the various blogs etc it’s clear that the band is fighting to make a name and get its music heard, just as any other emerging band would be. I particularly remember stories about sleeping in the van at the side of the road traveling to gigs. Has your association with TESLA helped or have you made a decision not to focus on that too much when promoting the Dave Rude Band?
DR: It's helped get people to notice DRB when they see that I'm in TESLA too, for sure. It may hurt us in some aspects, because of the 80's band stigma that TESLA has unfortunately and for the most part, undeservedly, been stuck with. DRB is going for a younger crowd so sometimes people may write us off if they hear I'm in "an 80's band" too, but for the most part it's brought more people on board and gotten us a lot more connections and fans. Definitely a blessing.
RRNI: Playing with both TESLA and the Dave Rude Band you must get to play venues ranging from small clubs to major festivals. Which do you enjoy more, the intimacy of the smaller gig or the buzz of the big crowd?
DR: Both are great. The adrenaline of playing in front of a big crowd is fantastic. But small clubs are just as much fun-- a good gig is a good gig. And I love singing and doing my own songs, so that makes the DRB shows lots of fun too, even if they're smaller right now.
RRNI: Difficult question to answer I know, but what would you pick out as being the most memorable performances or achievement over the years?
DR: One of them would be opening for Buckcherry with DRB in October. It was great to play in front of 5,000 people and have such a great response. Definitely a lot of validation for what we're doing, and it got us primed to go out and do it every night.
RRNI: As a singer and guitarist, who would your influences have been?
DR: As a singer it's Liam Gallagher, John Lennon, Bono, and Billie Joe Armstrong. For guitar it's Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, etc.
RRNI: If you had a chance to do a guest guitar slot with any band, past or present, who would you choose to play for?
DR: Tough one, maybe Guns'n'Roses in '88 or Metallica in '91.
RRNI: If I was thinking Dave Rude and guitar I would say Gibson? Do you always play a Gibson? For the guitarists out there tell us a bit about the guitars and equipment you use.
DR: Yeah, I'm lucky enough to be endorsed by Gibson and Epiphone-- which are the two brands I've played for most my life. You just can't beat 'em. Les Pauls are my favorite overall, although I'm deeply in love with my Explorer too. I've got a 2001 or 2002 LP Standard with white pickups that's been my #1 guitar for years and it looks like it's from the seventies or something, but it's just beat up 'cuz I don't treat my guitars like antiques. I play 'em hard and wear lots of jewelry and belts so they get scratched up a lot. Also I have an Epiphone Alley Kat which is a semi-hollow body made for jazz or rockabilly. Gets a great rock rhythm sound like Izzy Stradlin. And I play a Slash Signature Marshall head with DRB. A JCM 900 or 2000 with TESLA.
RRNI: A lot of TESLA fans here in N Ireland were excited to see TESLA back in Belfast during 2009. Do you think TESLA will be back in N Ireland again soon and what are the chances of the Dave Rude Band touring the UK and coming to Belfast?
DR: Not sure when TESLA will return to N. Ireland, but I can't wait. It was a blast to come there. I'd always wanted to visit and I had a great time walking around Dublin on our day off then. The Temple district, is that what it's called? All the bars and restaurants by the river? Hella cool. And DRB will definitely hit Ireland when we get to Europe. Workin' on it as we speak, but it won't happen till we've got a full-length record to promote there.
RRNI: California has a reputation for producing some great bands. Are there any local bands you follow that you would recommend to listeners of Rock Radio NI?
DR: A brand new band called Dead Neck is killer, led by a guy called Matthew Hansen (search him on Facebook and you'll find his Dead Neck stuff). Medieval Knievel is another badass trio from Oakland.
RRNI: Finally, if I was to borrow your iPod or check out the stereo in your car what artists would I find you listening to?
DR: Kings of Leon, Guns'n'Roses, Shinedown, Buckcherry, Black Stone Cherry, U2, The Black Keys, Tom Petty, and Coldplay.
NI Rocks (January 19, 2011). Dave Rude (TESLA). In NI Rocks.
Written by Nigel Jackson. Retrieved from http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/back-stage/interviews/778-ni-rocks-interview-with-dave-rude-from-tesla-dave-rude-band.html