Dave Rude: "Playing the Fillmore...That’s always been a dream of mine."interview by Jonathan Newsome of Rock.Nothing But.
As I reflect on vocalists and the voices that have moved me over the years; I think of Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, Axl Rose, Layne Staley and Jeff Keith. If ever a voice fit the band any better than Jeff Keith does to TESLA, I’d love to hear them. With their first 2 albums being very successful, the band then recorded a live acoustic album called Five Man Acoustical Jam. The album included the massive hit cover song Signs. That album, put it’s mark on music like very few other albums before it. The tours were very successful and TESLA was on top of the world. The idea of being “unplugged” was then born. MTV capitalized on it and the rest is history. Since then, TESLA has released several albums, broken up, replaced members and have even been given the key to the City of Sacramento.
Rock.Nothing But.: Today, I’m very happy to welcome Dave Rude, guitarist for TESLA. First off, thank you so much for joining us and I’d like to welcome you to the Rock. Nothing But…Family. We’ll get right into the questions. You guys released the CD TWISTED WIRES & the acoustic sessions last year. I’m assuming it was in anticipation of the 20 year anniversary tour of the Five Man Acoustical Jam that really brought acoustic music into the spotlight. What all is included on this disc?
Dave Rude: There’s a brand new song called 'Second Street' and a song that was written long ago and never released called 'Better Off Without You'. There are also other acoustic re-interpretations of classic TESLA songs.
RNB: There is an amazing cover on this record. I Love You was originally performed by the Climax Blues Band, but it sounds as if it were written for TESLA when you hear it. How well does the fanbase react to that song?
DR: That one is really fun to do live. People really like it and we always see everyone singing along to that one, which is cool. I wasn’t really familiar with it until we did it. I had heard it but I didn’t know it very well, but it’s pretty cool to see everyone singing along to it. I guess I was the weird one, because everyone else in the crowd seems to know that one pretty good.
We mentioned the 20 year anniversary tour. This leg of the tour begins on Valentine’s Day in New Haven, Connecticut. Tell us what the fans can expect on this tour.
DR: We’ve been doing a long show, mostly acoustic of classic TESLA hits. We’ve used the opportunity to pull out some rarer TESLA songs as well. Definitely songs from TWISTED WIRES, but also acoustic versions of songs from Forever More. Which we didn’t get to play when we toured with that record electrically. Also, album tracks from the early albums and we re-arrange them acoustically. That’s really fun, some songs we play as they are on the record but acoustically. Then others we totally re-arrange, like Hang Tough from the Twisted Wires record. You can hear it’s really just a different vibe. Same thing for a song called 'I Wanna Live' from Forever More, that was a single from that album, we do an acoustic version that just grooves a little different. It’s just cool. It’s fun to mess around, because we’ve been playing the same way for so long, it’s nice to do them differently.
RNB: With the initial success of the original tour and this one being the anniversary, do you think we could see a DVD from this tour?
DR: We’ve talked about it. I hope we do, but it depends on logistics I guess. The idea has definitely been thrown around, so hopefully that will happen.
RNB: You guys have a very cool cruise coming up this month. Fill us in on some details.
DR: It’s a nice way to end this run. We are doing a few weeks on the East Coast and end up in Fort Lauderdale for the Monsters Of Rock Cruise. It’s pretty cool, it’s just a bunch of rock bands on a boat for three or four days basically all day and all night. At night there is a big headlining show, which we are playing in the bigger Theater stage. The cruise stops in the Bahamas. Actually the cool thing about this one is we are headlining 2 nights of the 3 night cruise. We are doing an electric set one night and an acoustic set the next night. That should be pretty cool.
RNB: You were a part of the Real To Reel albums. What was it like recording those songs with such an amazing voice like Jeff Keith’s laying down the vocals?
DR: They were cool. It was a real live vibe in the studio. We wanted to record all those songs the way they were originally recorded, which was live to tape. All recordings were done on analog tape. Pretty much recorded live as a band and we added the overdubs afterwards. It’s always great to hear Jeff sing, because he’s such an amazing vocalist and he sounded great on those records.
RNB: You play guitar in the band and it’s a pretty cool story about how you were auditioned for the band. Would you mind sharing how that all went down?
DR: It’s funny, I actually didn’t audition. It just sort of happened. I have my own band, the Dave Rude Band. I sing and play guitar. Frank Hannon found our mySpace profile several years ago just by accident. I’d never met him or anything and didn’t know they were looking for a guitar player, turns out they were. So Frank sent a message and asked me if I’d like to jam with him the next week in his solo gig and I said sure. He asked me to go out with him on his solo tour for a couple weeks. He basically taught me all the TESLA songs and by the summer I was out on tour with them. Pretty wild.
RNB: You mentioned your own band, the Dave Rude Band. What’s it like?
DR: It’s a hard rock band. We’ve opened for Buckcherry, Sick Puppies, Nashville Pussy. If you dig Hard Rock, you’ll dig it. A lot of guitars, it’s a power trio. We have 2 cd’s on iTunes, Cd Baby and all that. Then we have a new album almost finished that will be released this year. It’s melodic, it’s cool. It’s awesome stuff.
RNB: You’ve been with the band since 2006. What are some of the highlights for you personally since joining?
DR: Oh man, it’s all been a big highlight. It’s been really cool. Playing the Fillmore in my hometown here in San Francisco. That’s pretty cool. That’s always been a dream of mine. A lot of the stuff in Europe, they have these big huge summer festivals. We’ve been over there a bunch of times. We played the Download Festival in England on my birthday in 2009. That was really fucking cool. That was such a great birthday present. Usually, the big festivals are great. Just hanging out with people that you listened to growing up. The different bands we play with, people that have become my friends now and I had their pictures hanging on my wall growing up. It’s pretty cool.
RNB: I always end on a random question, so here goes: If an actor were to portray you in a movie, who would you want to play you and why?
DR: Sir Ian McKellen. I don’t know why I’d like a 70 year old British man play me in a movie, but I think it would be pretty interesting to see him in tight pants and jewelry and shit. That’s who I want to fucking play me. Sir Ian McKellen from the Lord of the Rings. I guess that’s why they call me weird.
RNB: Is there any other information you’d like to get out there or maybe just a simple message to the fans?
DR: Thank you for your support. I look forward to rocking out with you for a very long time to come.
RNB: Thanks so much for joining us today. We wish you and the band absolutely nothing but the best in the future and we hope to see you on the road soon.
Rock. Nothing But. (February 6, 2012). Dave Rude (TESLA). In Rock. Nothing But..
Written by Jonathan Newsome. Retrieved from http://rock-nb.com/interviews/dave-rude-of-tesla/