INTERVIEW: TESLA-Brian Wheat talks Headline U.S. Summer tour, Set list deep cuts and almost 40 years with his “BROTHERS” in the band

interviews May 06, 2022

We're excited tonight to have returned guest to the Metal Mayhem ROC platform. He's an adopted Western and Central New Yorker lives in Auburn, New York, and his band Tesla is starting out their 36th year of touring kicks off in Waterloo, New York, a sold-out show at the casino Del Lago. Let's welcome back back to Metal Mayhem ROC Brian Wheat.


Hey Brian, how are you doing?

Hey, man, how are you? How's it going?

We're excited up here in the Western New York area. We have the Tesla show on May 5th. We wanted to get up to speed on all the happenings surrounding TESLA 2022. New tour, new music, Fresh videos.

I'm good. Building a new recording studio and Auburn as, as we speak. I moved here about a year and a half, I got rid of everything in California and I had a place in Texas as well. And now my main home is here in Auburn. I'm enjoying the area a lot. It's beautiful up here.

Yeah. You know, the region’s weather gets a bad rap, but from mid may through Thanksgiving, it's beautiful. How much time do you spend up in Auburn? Is that your main residence?

Well, right now it is because I'm trying to figure out. I don't know if I'll be able to do the winters, I did this winter, wasn't too bad. And I say that to people and they say, oh, you haven't been here for 40 years, you know, so I get itI do have another place in Italy. I go to, you know, for vacations and stuff and I try to get. At least a couple months out of the year, but with COVID and the travel research, and I was able to go two years. I've just went. I'll probably do some time there.

Like I said, in the open, we have a sold-out show at Waterloo's casino, Del Lago brand new track called Cold Blue Steel came out last fall with the video. What's going on with the Tesla camp?

Oh, well, we're just going to play some shows this year. We've got a new track lined up, coming out, I think in the middle of June. So, we'll have a brand-new track for the summer, or just finished that as we speak. And we got about 45 shows this summer and we're going to go out, you know, go out and see people and play again because you know, with COVID we were off for almost two years.

You guys did some touring August 2021 supporting LYNYRD SKYNRYD. I remember hearing everyone got sick which led to the tour being cancelled.

We might've done 10 shows last year. So, you know, we were still trying to with, with COVID and we, us getting sick and people's touring schedules, getting. Scheduled and canceled and rescheduled again. I think this year it's looking pretty good that; you know, we're going to open. Be able to play all the shows and you know, make some people smile, play songs that they love.

Speaking of that 31 years ago, psychotic supper album came out great album, some consider it the bands, a strongest release. Is there any attention towards maybe celebrating that and extension going and doing some deep concert or anything?

You know, who knows. We're at a point in our career that every year we can do something because we've been together since 1985, right. So, every year we could do something I don't know. I mean, we've never really done that. I've seen some people do it. And honestly, I don't know if it, if I'm a fan, do I want to come in here? Just psychotic supper or, you know, three quarters of the show psychotic, separate. Or do I want to hear all the songs that I've heard my whole life? So, you know, I don't know. We've never really tried to do that. We tried once with the anniversary of five-man acoustic jam. It didn't really work to be quite honest.

Come June, we'll be playing this other new song, which is called Signed to Rock, but nothing, nothing like freedom slave or anything to, you know, that's the whole thing, you know, you only got what an hour, 45 to two hours. And we have what? 12 albums to choose from? you know what I mean?

let's take. Waterloo, for example, I think it's 2,600 seats, right? Sold out very quickly. Most of those people, probably 90% of them to 95% of them want to hear the hits. That's what they know. Right. Maybe, you know, 10% of them want to hear all the deep cuts. I like to cater to the masses, right. And there is a couple of deep cuts in there every night, you know,

Brian, it's your right. You want to appeal to the masses? And honestly, those are the songs that are selling out things.

You know, it's absolutely. I mean, you know, they're not putting freedom slave on the radio ad They're putting signs and cowboy and love song and Susie and you know, way it is and they're going, yeah, that's what we want to hear. You know, what you get, I will tell you this about my favorite all time Tesla's song is Song and Emotion. That's a great song. Yeah. And, and, you know, we don't even play that every night. We throw that in. I mean, we did Freedom Slaves. 10 years ago, and we actually started to learn it on this last run. We were going to throw it in every now and again, and time also the we're going to segue the two of them.

Why is Song and Emotion your favorite?

It encompasses everything about Tesla. I think it's the one song that I would point to. If someone said, what's your band sound like if someone never heard tests, I would say, listen to songs, that'll give you a really good representation of what the band is. Right. Cause it has all kinds of different textures and stuff. And that song, I don't know. I just think it's probably the most complete song we ever did.

Is The Tesla harmony good with the band?

We haven't killed each other. It's too late for that. Man, we're family, we're all family Troy and me and Jeff. look Do we piss each other off? Absolutely. But we're family, you know, and it's what we do. And you know, we're out here still trying to make people smile and, and, you know, there's a level that we have to make. As far as playing and when we can't maintain that level anymore, then we'll call it a day. But right now, we're still able to, to play at that level and sing at that level. I don't want to be in a band where people go, oh, you know, Jeff doesn't sound good. He can't sing when that happens. I mean, the guy is 65 years old, you know? I mean, then then we'll stop. But right now, you know, things are good and we're still able to perform and, and, and play and people still keep coming. And we still, we still enjoy. So, we'll keep doing it.

The last time I saw a Tesla in Rochester, you played the Armory.

I remember that. That was a great show! I had two days off in Rochester and I, rented a bicycle and I went there down by the river. I went on those bike trails and that was before I ever thought moving here, it was on the, around the Forevermore album, 2008, 2009, I think somewhere in that range.

I like Rochester. It's a pretty town. And I like all those old mansions, you know, like the Eastman mansion and all that stuff. That whole area over there in Rochester. Really nice. I really enjoyed Rochester.

Well, take a peek at this tour. Like we mentioned earlier, the tour starts up here in New York, makes its way down the east coast and goes all the way around the country.

Yeah. It goes in spots, you know, it kind of jumps around and it, you know, it, it, it's got a few breaks and it's comfortable. It's comfortable for us to do. And, you know, it's pretty much through the summer. I think we go through the middle of September. So, it's from now till the middle of September. And it's got a few breaks and it'll be good. Well, we're looking forward to it

As you’re listening out there around the country, because we are global, get out there, check out the Tesla tour and support.

Support our band support. Young bands. Get out there by some merch go buy some vinyl. I love it. All right.

You can hear more of our lengthy discussion with Brian as he shares, in detail, his reconnection with original TESLA guitarist Tommy Skeoch. Follow the podcast or listen to this episode.



Become a part of a community of fellow metal heads who get updated on special episodes, interviews and and exclusive metal news.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.