Playing before a sold show, Sacramento, Calif.-based hard rock band Tesla will be in concert Friday night at 8 p.m., at Center Stage of the Choctaw Casino in Pocola, Okla.
Tesla is a local favorite among fans, having also sold out Center Stage in January of 2015 while touring in support of their Simplicity album. This time the group is supporting the re-release of the band’s debut album, Mechanical Resonance.
The re-release features all 12 tracks live.
“Like they said in the Sgt. Pepper song, ‘it was 30 years ago today,’” said Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon last week. “We’re celebrating the 30th anniversary and the idea was given to us by Phil Collen from Def Leppard.
“Thirty years ago we toured with Def Leppard and those guys have been like big brothers to us. Phil Collen has been like a big brother, like a coach.”
Tesla was also out on the road with Def Leppard and REO Speedwagon in support of the album before going it alone.
The majority of the recording was accomplished in Salt Lake City, but Hannon said there were some of the 12 tracks taken from other venues.
For the 12-track live order that means kicking it off with “Rock Me To The Top,” through “Comin’ At You Live,”and “2 Late 4 Love,” on the way to wrapping up with “Little Suzi” and “Modern Day Cowboy.”
There is, however, an additional 13th track on the re-release, “Save That Goodness,” which was written and produced by Collen.
“He wrote the song with us in mind. He came to us and said I’ve got this song that sounds a lot like Tesla,” said Hannon. “It’s always been good for us to listen to people and get some ideas. In the beginning Ronnie Montrose helped us. He presented us with Little Suzi’s on the up.
“You’ve got your good artists and you’ve got your great artists. The great ones will always work with other people. Even Johnny Cash was listening to Kris Kristopherson and Willie Nelson.”
Collen also makes multiple appearances in a video for the tune.
Tesla has always done well in the Fort Smith area. Friday’s show at the Choctaw Casino sold out well in advance, as did one at the casino in January of 2015.
Actually, one of Tesla’s first headlining gigs came in Fort Smith’s Harper Stadium. Originally planned as the opener for Great White, Tesla became the featured act when Jack Russell was apparently unable to perform due to laryngitis.
“I remember that night,” Hannon said Tuesday as the group prepared for a show in Detroit, Mich. “That was freaking awesome.”