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December 21, 2008
Sacramento Single: Tesla's "Pvt Ledbetter"


The members of Tesla have come a long way since their late '80s, early '90s hey day. Then, the Sacramento hard rock band, touring the world on the success of albums such as "Five Man Acoustical Jam" was forced to squeeze recording sessions in between shows.

It was an exciting time, sure, says Tesla bassist Brian Wheat - but tiring, too.

The band's latest album, "Forever More," on the other hand, was recorded in Wheat's Midtown home studio. The five-month process, Wheat says, was considerably more relaxed than all those tour pit stops.

"We were in our own beds every night - this is a much more civilized way to make a record," Wheat says.

Produced by longtime Tesla friend Terry Thomas, the album reflects the band's decades-long work ethos:

"You get the idea, you work it out and then you just go in the studio and do it," Wheat says.

It's a simple enough foundation for the band's working man's rock blues sound but, Wheat says, Tesla has definitely evolved since its early days.

"We've been making records for 22 years and have traveled the world and gone through marriages and divorces and kids and other life experiences," he says.

"Those life experiences translate into your music, of course. We're the same band but now we're seasoned like an old baseball."

Listen to "Pvt Ledbetter" from "Forever More" at


Song: "Pvt Ledbetter"

Style: Emotional, rockin' power ballad

Behind the song: "Jeff (Keith) and Frank (Hannon) wrote this one - it's a fictitious letter to a private in the army, telling him 'we're pulling for you, we support you,'" Wheat says.

"But then, he doesn't get a reply and people start to worry about whether he is alive."

Eventually, it's learned that the soldier died and, ultimately, the song "is about thanking him for that sacrifice he made," Wheat says. "It's very patriotic."

Listen to "Pvt Ledbetter" here:

On the Web:

See them: Tesla performs Jan. 30 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium (15th and L Streets, Sacramento).

Tickets ($29.50) are now available through, at the Convention Center Box Office (1301 L St, Sacramento) or by calling (916) 808-5181.

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