Watch Tesla’s New Video, ‘Taste Like': Exclusive Premiere
“Taste Like,” from Tesla’s latest album Shock, finally gave guitarist Dave Rude an Angus Young moment.
“It’s got this really cool, plucked, pinched fingerpicking kind of vibe, like an Angus Young kind of AC/DC feel, through a whole lot of the song,” Rude tells UCR. “It’s such a fun song to play live too. It’s my AC/DC portion of the show. I get to feel like Angus."
Rude turned in a literally blistering performance in the studio. “I still remember getting blisters on my left hand middle and ring fingers, because those are the fingers that I use to do that little plucking thing on the verse and the intro,” he laughs. “When you’re recording stuff, you do it a bunch of times to get it right, and tweak this part and change that part and then double it again and then double it again on the left side and double that.”
He worked on his parts for “Taste Like” by playing the same riff for hours without a pick. “I’m using the actual skin on the tips of my fingers -- I had two giant blisters for like a week after that day of recording that song,” he recalls. “We recorded a lot of that one in a dressing room, I think two different dressing rooms.”
You can watch the new video, an exclusive premiere, for the song below.
Tesla teamed up with Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, who produced the album and helped to co-write the material. They recorded the bulk of the record while they were on the road with Def Leppard. The v ideo for “Taste Like” was also shot on tour.
Oliver Halfin, the band’s photographer, spent about a week filming the group as it performed the song each day at soundcheck and during the shows. At the end of the week, he had plenty of footage to work with, including scenes showing what goes on when they’re not onstage.
“We’re a wacky bunch of guys,” Rude laughs. “We have a good time out on the road, so Oliver was around for all of the backstage shenanigans and following us around on days off and just whatever kind of crazy stuff we’d get into.”
Rude says recording the album as they were touring was a change of pace, offering a number of spontaneous moments in the process. “We were on tour and had a day off in Seattle," he recalls. "I bought a really nice old acoustic 12-string in a used guitar shop and showed it to Phil the next day backstage. He played it for a minute and he’s like, “Dude, we’ve got to put this on ‘Afterlife.’ I’m, like, cool! An hour later, we set up a microphone and I’m recording that guitar that I bought the day before onto the record in a dressing room in Spokane.”
Collen’s “unbridled enthusiasm” was contagious, Rude says, as the guitarist drew on his years of working with Leppard producer Mutt Lange, approaching the Tesla album like a pop record. “We each individually would write songs and send them to Phil before anyone else had ever heard them,” Rude explains. “I’d be making demos at home, and I’d send them to Phil. He’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, cool, I like this one, write a better chorus.’ Then I’d go back and write a better chorus and send him another one a couple days later.”
Working directly with Collen and just one or two members of the band in the early stages of developing the material helped a lot, Rude says. “He has such a great pop ear," he notes. "And it’s not a pop record, it still obviously sounds like Tesla and it’s a big hard-rock guitar madness sort of extravaganza. But song structure-wise and just the strength of the melodies and the strength of the riffs and the chords and everything working together, you need that to be great from the get-go before you start dressing it up and making it sound amazing with fancy gear.”
After 2014’s Simplicity, the band wasn't sure if it would make another studio album. They liked recording the LP, and it was well-received by fans, but Rude says they had a hard time justifying the need for another one. ”We didn’t make any money from Simplicity," he explains. "We spent money on Simplicity and we spent time and there is zero payoff.”
Collen helped turn the tide, getting the band more engaged in the idea of working on new songs. “He’s got such enthusiasm, and it was just infectious," Rude notes. "All of a sudden, [we] wanted to do it. ... It felt bigger this time. It was like, ‘Okay, yeah, let’s fucking do this. Let’s do one more really concerted big effort to make a great record, and I’m so glad we did."
The new " Taste" video also features the debut of Rude’s new signature Epiphone Flying V guitar. After he went through the initial design process with the guitar makers, it was ready to roll sooner than expected. “I literally pulled it out of the box from the factory," he recalls. "It was in tune, had the right gauge of strings on it and it was like, This is amazing, this is perfect, I don’t want any changes!”
The guitar is available for pre-order now and will start shipping in June.
“It’s got coil taps on the pickups, so you can get that single coil tone,” he explains. “They take a really high-gain distortion amp really well, but still give you clarity so you can hear the notes and you can hear every string in a chord. It’s so nice to finally be able to go up to those high frets, it’s got such unimpeded access. I had never really played a Flying V much before until I got one. It was just so freeing to be able to go up to those high notes so easily."