by Carlos Ramirez for NOISECREEP
“It’s been 21-years since we released the ‘Five Man Acoustical Jam’ record, so we wanted to do something cool to celebrate that,” says TESLA’s Jeff Keith. The vocalist is on the phone with Noisecreep discussing ‘Twisted Wires (The Acoustic Sessions),’ the band’s new 12-song album featuring a mix of reinterpreted classic tunes and previously unreleased material.
“That album [‘Five Man…’] has been our best-selling album, so we knew that our fans love the stripped-down side of our sound. This new record features six songs that we recorded with our former guitarist Tommy Skeoch back in 2005 acoustically. The only thing on the new album that had previously been released is our cover of ‘I Love You’ from the Climax Blues Band. That was actually the first song we recorded together after we got back together in 2000. The rest of the tracks on ‘Twisted Wires’ features the current version of TESLA,” says Keith.
Back when TESLA released ‘Five Man Acoustical Jam’ in 1990, the whole “unplugged” thing was still a relatively new thing on MTV and every hard rock band was jumping on the bandwagon. But there was something about Keith’s soulful vocals and the group’s songwriting that lent itself perfectly to the style. “We were touring with Mötley Crüe and had two nights off in a row, so we decided to book some solo shows where we tried out some new material and play acoustic stuff. The first show was in Boston at a club called The Channel and I remember the Black Crowes came on stage and jammed with us.
“I think the next show was in New York City and that went great too. So by the time we played Philadelphia, we decided to bring a 24-track mobile truck to capture the performance. Since MTV was still playing videos back then, we also filmed the show. Our cover of ‘Signs’ [originally done by Five Man Electrical Band] became a huge hit and the rest is history,” laughs Keith.
Noisecreep asked the singer which song he was particularly excited about on the ‘Twisted Wires’ record. “We do ‘Hang Tough’ [from 1988’s ‘The Great Radio Controversy’] in a totally different and killer arrangement. It’s kind of like what we did with ‘Modern Day Cowboy’ back on the first acoustic album. We totally changed up the style of it and came up with something cool. We had a lot of fun doing that. I can’t wait for people to hear this record!”
Original article available at: http://www.noisecreep.com/2011/07/12/TESLA-jeff-keith-acoustic-interview/