Listen to Tesla’s New Song, ‘Save That Goodness': Exclusive Premiere
More than 30 years after sharing the stage with Def Leppard in the late ‘80s, Tesla hit the road again last summer with the British hard rock group, a move that provided the spark for a new collaboration.
Ultimate Classic Rock presents the exclusive premiere of “Save That Goodness,” a brand new song by Tesla that was written by Leppard guitarist Phil Collen. The studio track appears as a bonus cut on the band’s upcoming Mechanical Resonance Live! album, which will be released on Aug. 26. You can listen to the song above.
“I first met the Tesla boys when [we] jammed with the band onstage at the infamous Paradiso Theater in Amsterdam 30 years ago,” Collen tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “From then on we’ve been connected in one way or another.”
According to Collen, Tesla bassist Brian Wheat heard “Save That Goodness” and told the veteran guitarist, “We should record this song and you should produce it.”
“We listened to it and immediately loved it,” Tesla singer Jeff Keith tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “He completely wrote it, but when we went in to record it, he let us put our own Tesla stamp on it, which was very nice. It’s not a cover song, but you know, [similarly], we’ve played lots of cover songs that work well for us, that we just kind of put our little Tesla stamp on it.”
“From that moment, we’ve been writing, recording and getting totally inspired about making new Tesla music,” Collen adds, calling “Save That Goodness” “an explosive precursor to the dynamic new Tesla studio album due out in 2017.”
Tesla are back on the road this summer with Def Leppard, but they plan to use that time to complete their next album. A half-dozen songs are already in various forms of progress; they hope to add six more over the next couple of months. Throughout summer, they’re recording those songs with a plan to wind up the tour in October with a completed album.
“We’ve got recording stuff that we take out on the road, and a lot of times during the day, in between soundchecks and other things, we’ll be recording stuff, piece by piece,” Keith says. “Phil’s already come out to [the] studio in Sacramento where we cut our last couple of records, so we’ll just go in and work on some pieces of this song and pieces of that song and we try to come back. Then you go, ‘Oh, I really like this part of the song, I’d like to go back in and have another shot at the verses or choruses,’ or whatever it may be. … The last two or three records, we’ve done with ourselves or other people, we’ve had fun with it, but they might not be as sonically good as Phil’s going to try to help us capture on this new record.”
Keith says that he and the band are “very thankful and very grateful that Phil has this incredible interest in us and the way he feels about the band.” Calling Collen “a music machine,” he notes that the collaborative process has been very much a give-and-take kind of thing. “[Phil will] write a lot of the lyrics and then sometimes, on certain songs, he’ll have the music and a lyrical concept, and then I’ll take it and I’ll write the lyrics for it,” he says. “We’re collaborating on everything: melody, lyrics and music. Phil’s playing a really big part in it and there are still a few songs that he’s completely written himself that we felt, it’s Tesla.”
The experience of working with Collen is the latest chapter in a series of events that brings things full circle for Tesla and Def Leppard.
“They took us under their wing back in ‘87 and ‘88,” Keith recalls. “They took us pretty much around the world and were really good to us. They really showed us how to treat opening bands, so that when we had the opportunity, we could pass it on full circle. And then to come back and go out on tour again last year and now this year.”
Mechanical Resonance Live! looks back fondly at those early years with a full track by track live recording of their 1986 debut album.
“It’s your first record — you’ve had your whole life to write it,” Keith says, reflecting on the original studio album. “We didn’t know exactly who we were. … We were fresh out of Sacramento — we didn’t do the usual ‘go to L.A.’ A lot of bands, that was the thing … to move to L.A. and live there and try to get signed and stuff and make records. We decided we were close enough here in Sacramento and Northern California to go down and play a showcase, come back up to Sacramento and go back to the drawing board. The next thing you know, we’re signed and making a record.”
Keith says the new live album came about as a result of digging some of those old songs from the debut out of mothballs and putting them back into the set list last year.
“We’ve got a shorter set [opening for Def Leppard],” he says. “We got to play a couple of songs a night, and every couple of nights, we’d change it up and play a couple of songs off of the first record that we haven’t played probably since the last time we were on tour with Def Leppard in ‘87 and ‘88. We had a lot of fun playing it, and the next thing you know, it’s the idea that, well hey, it’s sounding so good, let’s make a record of it, completely live. We recorded a couple of songs at a time throughout the tour last year [until we] got the whole record in the can.
“We’re up there having fun, and the people are having fun and we’re always having fun together and playing music and just having a good old time,” Keith concludes. “It was a lot of fun playing some of these songs. I miss playing them, man! We might even start rotating more of them into the set because we enjoyed doing it so much.”
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