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KSHE 95 Real Rock Radio welcomes Tesla with Bad Marriage, Signal 13
TESLA were formed in Sacramento, CA, in 1985, out of an earlier, locally popular group called City Kidd, which dated back to 1982. The band wrote original music and knew their name didn’t fit the sound. At management’s suggestion, the band named itself after the eccentric inventor Nikola TESLA, who pioneered the radio but was given only belated credit for doing so.
After playing several showcases in Los Angeles, TESLA quickly scored a deal with Geffen and released their debut album, Mechanical Resonance, in 1986; it produced the hard rock hits and crowd favorite, “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Little Suzi.” Mechanical Resonance reached the Top 40 on the album charts, and eventually went platinum.
It was the follow-up, 1989’s, which truly broke the band. The first single, “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” was a hit with hard rock audiences, setting the stage for the second single, a comforting ballad called “Love Song” which substituted a dash of hippie utopianism for the usual power ballad histrionics.
“Love Song” hit the pop Top Ten and made the band stars, pushing The Great Radio Controversy into the Top 20 and double-platinum sales figures; the follow-up single, “The Way It Is,” was also a hit.
TESLA’s music is often referred to as heavy metal but is better described as blues metal. The band’s lyrics also strayed from the themes popular in heavy metal, particularly in the 1980’s at the beginning of their career. A further distinction from their contemporaries was their blue-collar, T-shirt-and-jeans image which was in strong contrast to glam bands of the time, which were characterized by big hair, leather pants, and flashy makeup.
During the early years of their career, TESLA toured with David Lee Roth, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith.