TESLA – Psychotic Supper [Bad Reputation 2-CD remaster / 11 bonus tracks]
French reissue label Bad Reputation has been doing a great job releasing ‘Collector Series / Remastered with Bonus‘, with the main attraction being, on most releases, the addition of a bonus disc, making these reissues the ‘definitive expanded versions’. In a Rock Candy Records fashion, these are official remasters in arrangement with the original recording companies.
In the case of TESLA‘s “Psychotic Supper” (for many, their finest moment), we have the main album remastered plus an extra CD with hard to find songs.
When the Sacramento-based band delivered its third album, which was released in August 1991, it came out under the title “Psychotic Supper”, a banner that Hannon says is very appropriate for the state of the band at that point. But it was also an appropriate callback to their namesake.
“We were psycho, man,” Hannon recalls. “We were going crazy. We were in New York, we were living in Manhattan, going out to the clubs, meeting new people, hanging out with punk rockers, smoking crack, running around down in the village, you know, just being crazy.
And then tying it into Tesla, Nikola Tesla had his own psychosis regarding eating food and he didn’t like certain things on his plate, he had to arrange his dinnerware and his silverware in certain ways in order to eat.”
So I thought it was kind of a fun, clever little title that kind of reminded me of like something that Aerosmith would do. Aerosmith was one of my favorite bands, and you know, ‘Toys in the Attic’, ‘Rats in the Cellar,’ the titles that they used, I thought Psychotic Supper had that vibe.”
After two successful albums and the huge success of Five Man Acoustical Jam, Hannon says that they hit the studio with a lot of confidence and egos blazing.
“We were a little older and we had progressed in our attitude,” he recalls. “We were more confident — we were definitely overly confident and definitely at that point, we had reached the point of saying f— you to everybody.
“Psychotic Supper” was definitely our f— you album, to the industry and to the people that were controlling us. Like I said, that ultimately bit us in the ass, because we self-destructed and then when we tried to make a comeback, it’s taken us until now to finally f—ing be able to do it.”
For Tesla, part of that rebellion found them digging through a good amount of material that they had wanted to include on The Great Radio Controversy that had been rejected.
“A lot of the songs were outtakes and stuff that didn’t end up on our second record,” Hannon says. “We were rebellious and we said, ‘We’re doing those f—ing songs — we don’t care what anybody thinks.
Like, a song like ‘Change in the Weather,’ the first track, we had that song down. I mean, we loved that song. They didn’t let us put it on The Great Radio Controversy, so we knew we were putting that song on the record — we were fighting for it.”
Tesla, once referred to as the “thinking man’s Van Halen,” definitely used their musical canvas again on “Psychotic Supper” to put some thoughts out there, with songs that delved into a number of topics, including what had been happening with Operation Desert Storm.
‘What You Give’ and ‘Freedom Slaves’ and songs like that had more depth to them and reality than just your regular party anthems.
‘Edison’s Medicine’ driven by the twin guitar attack of Hannon and guitarist Tommy Skeoch, is one of a number of full-throttle rockers that you’ll find on “Psychotic Supper” that represented the group’s attempt “to expose a lot of the fraud and stuff that was going on.”
‘Call It What You Want’ is one of the most striking songs with the moody and melodic intro morphing into an exciting, upbeat theme with dynamic vocals and sonically pleasing guitar accents.
‘Don’t De-rock Me’ is a blazing tune that talks about what people want to hear. ‘No time for f@cking around with mediocrity, takes everything I’ve got just trying to be me.’ It’s surely not a classic, but it’s balls out rock.
Slowing it down is ‘Song & Emotion’, written for ‘Steamin’ Steve Clark — R.I.P. — guitarist for Def Leppard. A soulful, heartfelt tribute in the beginning, which blows up into a hard rock song.
‘Freedom Slaves’ is rockin’ with excellent musicianship, while ‘Government Personnel’ is a pure acoustic, near-spoof that lasts barely a minute but is still very entertaining.
The highly suggestive ‘Toke About It’ uses Van Halen-like showmanship rock to close out the album in the vein of early Tesla.
The bonus disc of this Bad Reputation remaster is great. We have all the B-sides from the several singles the album generated, such as ‘Children’s Heritage’, ‘Run Run Run’, and their cover of the classic ‘Ain’t Superstitious’, some of these also featured as Japanese bonus tracks.
Additionally there’s the rare mix of ‘Song And Emotion [Rockline Version]’ and some juicy live cuts.
For many fans and critics, Tesla reach their peak with “Psychotic Supper”. The musicianship throughout is unbelievable, and the writing is first class.
It’s by far, their most diverse album, exploring different tempos, new themes, and unleashing each band member’s creative potential.
A MUST HAVE, definitive version of this great album.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – Change In The Weather
02 – Edison’s Medicine
03 – Don’t De-Rock Me
04 – Call It What You Want
05 – Song & Emotion
06 – Time
07 – Government Personnel
08 – Freedom Slaves
09 – Had Enough
10 – What You Give
11 – Stir It Up
12 – Can’t Stop
13 – Toke About It
14 – Rock The Nation [B-Side / Japan Bonus Track]
01 – Children’s Heritage [B-Side]
02 – Cotton Fields [B-Side]
03 – Ain’t Superstitious [B-Side / Japan Bonus Track]
04 – Run Run Run [B-Side / Japan Bonus Track]
05 – Cumin’ Atcha Live
06 – Modern Day Cowboy [Live]
07 – Love Me [Live]
08 – Cover Queen [Live]
09 – Little Suzi [Acoustic Live]
10 – Song And Emotion [Rockline Version]
Jeff Keith – vocals
Tommy Skeoch – guitars
Frank Hannon – guitars, piano, organ
Brian Wheat – bass
Troy Luccketta – drums