I’m a huge Tesla fan and have been following guitarist Dave Rude’s solo project the Dave Rude Band for quite a few years too. In fact one of the first interviews that I posted on Rock Radio NI was with Dave back in January 2011. The Dave Rude Band released their new album “The Key” via Rat Pak Records at the start of June so it seemed like a good opportunity to do a follow up interview.


The interview was recorded via Skype and was originally broadcast on the Friday NI Rocks Show on Rock Radio NI on 21st June 2013.

An earlier interview with Dave from January 2011 is on the website - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/778-ni-rocks-interview-with-dave-rude-from-tesla-dave-rude-band.html

NI ROCKS – Hey Dave, how’s things in California? Better weather than we’re getting I’m sure

DAVE – Yeah it’s pretty nice here. Where about in Ireland are you from? Dublin?

NI ROCKS – No, we’re just outside Belfast in the North. You played here with Tesla a couple of years ago.

DAVE – I do remember that. I had a really great time in Ireland and my only regret was that we were only there for three days. It was so cool though. We played somewhere, it was like the Pig & Whistle or something. One of those weird UK names.

NI ROCKS – The Spring & Airbrake it was in Belfast.

DAVE – That’s right, the Spring & Airbrake! I did take a long walk before the show and the city was so cool.

NI ROCKS – Yeah, with things getting better here we’ve more bands coming over which is always good to see.

DAVE – Yeah it seems that way. There are lots of bands doing Irish dates.

NI ROCKS – Yeah, Buckcherry have just announced they’re coming in November and we’re big fans of them.

DAVE – Ah, I love Buckcherry.

NI ROCKS – And The Last Vegas from Chicago are supporting them, another band I really like.

DAVE- Yeah, The Last Vegas have opened for Tesla a few times in Chicago. They’re good.


NI ROCKS – Dave, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. I believe you were doing some teaching before starting this interview. Do you still do a lot of teaching?

DAVE – Yeah, I’ve been giving guitar lessons for over 12 years. Way before Tesla. It’s something I’ve continued to do when we’re not on the road. I like to do it and its fun, and this year I’ve started to do it via Skype. I can do it from my apartment and I’ve students all across the country. We do a live Skype video lesson and it’s great. Almost like being in the same room. There’s a tiny tiny delay so you can’t totally play in unison, but most of the time you’re playing one at a time so it works out fantastically well.

NI ROCKS – I’m not sure if you remember but we did an interview by e-mail a couple of years ago so I was really wanting to use this chance to talk about what has been happening since then. One of the main things of course had been the recent release of your album “The Key”. Can you tell us a little about the recording of the album, who was involved, who produced it etc?

DAVE – Yeah it was produced by Marc Kapetan and we recorded in his studios called American Made Studios in Fresno. That’s about three hours away from where I live so we’d drive down and kinda spend a weekend at a time there doing two or three songs and try and finish them. We’d get most of them completely done, though sometimes I’d have to go back to do overdubs later. It started almost as doing demos to see how the new songs sounded but the studio was really nice. Marc is a friend of mine. He was actually my guitar tech in Tesla when we went over to Europe, but that was just kinda a fun vacation for him; he’s a lawyer and producer!

Anyway, Marc produced it and the songs came out really well and we thought why not record all the songs we’re stoked on right now and make it a full album. It took almost a year because we would fit recording sessions around Tesla touring schedules and stuff and eventually we ended up with a full album. And it’s the same guys that were on the other two DRB releases – Marco Guzman on bass and Josh Schmidt on drums. And it’s that same kind of vibe.

The one track on there that is a little different is a song called “On My Own Again” which is a ballad that I’d written in Nashville.  I was going out to Nashville and was writing with country writers and trying to pitch the songs to big country artists. I’ve been doing that for a few years and wrote that song out there with a guy called Doc Holladay and we demoed it out there to pitch to country artists and had a country guy sing it. But I did my own vocal version of it too and when I got home and listened to it I thought this would be perfect for the DRB record, even though it’s a little more country; but it works as a rock ballad too, so I put it on the album. The other good thing about that is that Troy Lucketta from Tesla plays drums on that track because he lives in Nashville and he played on the demo, so it’s kinda neat to have Troy on a DRB record.

NI ROCKS – What has been the biggest challenge in the process of getting “The Key” released? It seems to have been quite a while since the album was first talked about and tracks were previewed on the website.

DAVE – Yeah exactly. Part of that was the piece meal way it was recorded. It wasn’t done in a month, it was done over a year or close to it until it was fully recorded and mixed. When we did the first sessions it was kinda do these songs just to have them, it wasn’t really to make an album. What we did then was as they were done we released them as singles to get a local buzz going when we played around San Francisco. We’d make the show a release party for a single – burn a bunch of copies just to help promote the show really. That’s why some of the songs were online a while back. They’ve since been remixed and remastered and sound a lot better.

The band actually isn’t really together anymore. We’d toured a bunch and done a lot, but by the time that the record was finished we’d pretty much stopped doing anything. I got busy with Tesla and song writing and stuff and it’d pretty much run its course as a full time project. It just kinda got put on the back-burner until I hooked up with Rat Pak Records to put out a new thing that I’ve been working on. That’s a whole different project entirely and they were excited about it. I mentioned that I had this virtually complete album recorded already and sent it over to them. They liked it and suggested why not release it first so that people would know who you are when you release the next one. The records already in the can so may as well get it out there. I’m really happy I hooked up with Rat Pak Records because they’re a great label and it’s nice to finally have other people beside the band and our moms behind us. As you know the other two records were totally self released.

NI ROCKS – There’s a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” on the album which works really well. How did that find its way onto the album?

DAVE – Thanks very much. That’s one of my favourites too. It’s just a song that everyone loves. It’s one of those ones when you hear it on the radio or wherever everyone always says “oh, I love that song”. It’s a classic. So much so that you don’t even think about it. One day we just started to jam it at rehearsal and it just had a cool vibe. We’d play it just the way it is on the record. We didn’t change any chords or melodies or anything, but because we’re a rock band and we’re only a trio, playing it had such a different vibe to it while keeping the core elements of the song and it just sounded so unique. It was fun and sounded really good from the first time that we did it. We really got into doing it and people liked hearing it live. We’d always stretch it out. There’s a big guitar solo on there that was totally improve. Same thing with the band, Josh and Marco would be doing all sorts of crazy rhythmic improvisation. Both on the studio version and live. It was a lot of fun for us.

NI ROCKS – You mentioned that you had a new project in the works. Are there no plans then to tour with the Dave Rude Band or has that come to an end?

DAVE – You know I don’t have anything booked. I wouldn’t rule it out but it’s not something I’m actively booking right now.  Tesla are in the middle of our summer season, we’re starting to work writing a new album and I’m trying to write something a little different for Rat Pak records. I’m also doing a lot of the pop song writing so I’m pretty busy. I love being out on the road but it’d be too much being out on the road with Tesla then coming home and going out on the road with my own band. Which I did for 5 years and it was great but after a while it just starts to wear. Plus I’ve a new baby.

NI ROCKS – Are you going to do any videos for the new album?

DAVE – You know, we talked about. Maybe doing something. I would like to because even though we are not doing any dates or anything I still love this album and there are songs that I hope people would hear. Doing some sort of video would help get the word out and I’d definitely be into that so we’re talking about doing something. The album only came out a couple of weeks ago so maybe a month or two down the line to keep interest going we could do something.

We did the video for “Falling Down” around 2009 – 2010 and that was fun but it was a really big production to do. There must be some way to do something cool without the huge rigmarole of a video shoot. People listen to music on YouTube half the time and that would help.


NI ROCKS – Can you tell us anything about the other project that you’re working on or do you want to keep that to your self at the minute?

DAVE – Right now I’m writing an instrumental record, which was what I was thinking of doing when we first hooked up. It’s kind of a weird thing to do but I’d always listened to that stuff growing up. I was a big fan of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani . I know there are a lot of guys put those records out, it’s a really small niche market but I think there’s kind of a void in that market. Except for Vai and Satriani who are still putting out great music, both of who have got new ablums that are fantastic, a lot of the newer dudes are really impressive players but to me there’s not really any melody, there’s not a song, it’s more like just showing off cool techniques so you don’t walk away humming anything. Whereas, like I said, even to this day, Joe Satriani records, every song has got a hook. Even if you didn’t play guitar, it’s like “that’s a nice little melody”. I wanna do something like that. My own style and probably a little more heavy rock and a little more bluesy influenced. Mix some classic rock style with something flashy instrumental, but it really about writing great melodies and songs.  That’s what I’ve been really excited about and I’ve been trying to work on that as much as I can around everything else that is going on. At this point that’s my plan – to put out an instrumental record. And if that ends up getting shelved then I’ll do something else because there’s a lot of avenues around here in the Bay area and I’m lucky  to have Rat Pak Records behind me.

NI ROCKS -    Frank Hannon of course brought you into Tesla after recruiting you to work on a solo project. Were you involved at all in his recent “Six String Soldiers” album?

DAVE – Not directly, only indirectly in that I was the guy that kinda stayed in touch with Mike Araiza the other guitar player on that record who is a phenomenal musician and nicest guy you could ever meet.

NI ROCKS – It’s a fantastic album

DAVE – It really is great. I’m stoked about it. I definitely wouldn’t take any credit for it other than that. Mike came to our attention because we judged at a guitar contest in Albuquerque years ago and he won it and the prize was that you got to come on stage with Tesla and jam a couple of songs at the show that night in front of 2000 people. He was stoked and I was just really impressed and so was Frank. I was new in the band so I was staying in touch with everyone I met at that point. So we stayed in touch on MySpace and Facebook and stuff, and everytime I came through town I’d put him on the list. Through that he ended up re-connecting with Frank a few years later and had him start trying to produce his album and that turned into writing together which then turned into being in the band. So I’m just happy that it worked out as he’s such a great guitar player and Jeff Sandoval is such a great vocalist. I’m stoked about that record. They did a really great job.

NI ROCKS – All the guys in Tesla seem busy doing solo projects. You wonder how you’ve actually got time to get together and be Tesla.

DAVE – I know, you’re right. Somebody asked are you guys breaking up because I’m doing this solo project and I’m like “No!”. It’s not like that at all. We planned it so that we had five months off during the Fall and Winter season and that was intentional. We booked that like a year in advance to have a few months off. So everybody just took that time to put out solo records and it’s great because it gets everyone excited. Brian put out his new Soulmotor album, Frank’s thing and Jeff put out a country record and Troy has always got a thousand projects that he’s working on. It’s funny but we do somehow end up having time for Tesla and it kinda re-energises you to get back into Tesla. Now we’re all really excited about new material and we’ve already recorded one song called “Taste My Pain” which we’ve been playing live last week. I can’t wait to really get into full blown Tesla writing mode.

NI ROCKS – Which brings me on to my next question quite well. In 2011 you released “Twisted Wires and the Acoustic Sessions” and “Live in Europe” was in 2010. It’s almost 5 years since a studio album of new material. I take it there is a new album in planning?

DAVE – Yes, definitely. We started to do that and started talking about releasing a single to get some buzz going for the summer dates and for fun to get something new. Without the whole production of doing the album because that can be it’s own challenge, as much fun as it is! With time and everything I don’t know that we can do a full album at the minute but can get together for a few days between shows and write a song and record it. Brian has a big state of the art studio, and so does Frank, so we could do that and just release it so that there’s a single out there. People aren’t buying records that much anyway. It’ll just be something fun for the fans and fun for us. We did that but in doing so we’ve all got really excited about writing. We wrote like two sort of half songs the other day at soundcheck at the last show in Dallas. Walked away with two chorded melody ideas from just getting our amps ready for the show. We’re all working on stuff at home and on the bus and squeezing in time on the road. When the summer dates die down in August or September we’ll probably start reconvening official writing mode. We all got sort of excited just by accident just doing this one single with no strings attached that we want to do an album and we’re getting the gears moving to make that happen.

NI ROCKS – I’d probably get lynched by the local fans if I didn’t ask if you knew about any plans for a UK and Ireland tour by Tesla anytime in the near future!

DAVE – I really really hope so. I don’t know if you got to go over to the show that Tesla played in April (the Hard Rock Hell AOR Festival in Rotherham) but I wasn’t able to do it. It was like five days after my baby was born so I had a guy fill in for me. We haven’t been to Europe since 2009, when we played Belfast and Dublin, which was the O2 with Whitesnake and Leppard and Journey. It was so cool. I really enjoyed my short time in Ireland and I love going to Europe. The plan was originally to go this summer after that April gig but I don’t know what happened. I will say that the fact that we’ll probably have a new album out early 2014 increases the chances because there’s more reason to go places and promoters want you to come because there’s an album to push rather than just playing the old songs.

NI ROCKS – A couple of quick questions just to finish with.

Can you remember the first album you bought and first concert you went to?

DAVE – Can’t remember the first album I bought but I remember the first album that was given to me when I was about five was “Purple Rain” by Prince. I got that for Christmas. Before that I had a dubbed copy of “Thriller” that my dad had. But the first album that was mine was “Purple Rain”. First show I definitely wouldn’t forget. I was twelve and I saw Poison on the “Flesh and Blood” tour with Warrant opening, touring “Cherry Pie”. Poison were good but Warrant were on fire they blew them away! It was really cool to see it. It was such a thrill to see these guys who had been on my bedroom walls come to real life.

NI ROCKS – What bands are you listening to most at the minute?

DAVE – I’ve been listening more to pop and country, nothing that would be interesting to the people reading this. I’m a rocker through and through, love it. That has never changed, probably never will, but I definitely think there is a lack of new bands that do anything, at least to me, that’s interesting. It seems to be different over there because every time I buy an issue of Classic Rock or something there’s all these new cool bands that I read about and the descriptions sound amazing. But over here we don’t get that because everyone wants to be on the radio and they all just sound like Nickelback. I like Nickelback but I don’t need 50 other bands that sound like them, but not as good. That’s really what we’ve got over here. There aren’t that many new rock bands. So many people ask me that and I’ll say Foo Fighters and Shinedown, but they’ve been around for like 10 to 20 years!

NI ROCKS – We’re actually very lucky. We have a very good rock scene in Northern Ireland I have to say. And in the next edition of Classic Rock magazine which is probably coming to you next week there’s Trucker Diablo who are a local and The Screaming Eagles. And there’s Million Dollar Reload is another. Check out those guys. Real rock n roll bands.

DAVE – There was a band I read about in Classic Rock a few months ago called The Virgin Marys, have you heard of those guys?

NI ROCKS – Yeah, I’ve seem them a couple of times.

DAVE – Are they good? Are they Swedes?

NI ROCKS – They’re very good. They’re from England.

DAVE – That’s right!! Honestly that seems to be where rock is - the UK and Europe, especially Sweden. Scandinavia seems to have a lot of rock bands. You guys are doing a lot more interesting stuff with Rock n Roll than anybody out here.

NI ROCKS – Personal musical highlight from the last few years?

DAVE – That would be tough to say. Honestly the one that I keep saying is Download Festival 2009 last time we were in Europe. And it was my birthday!  That was the coolest gift you could imagine. I’d been reading about Castle Donnington and watching videos from Donnington since I was a little kid. So to actually play on the main stage was such an honour and a thrill. We played early but we were there all night. Me and my guitar tech just went and saw everybody. We saw so many cool bands and it was just the greatest day.

NI ROCKS  - Thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions. Good luck with the new album.

DAVE – Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Great talking to you.

Check out the Dave Rude Band at https://www.facebook.com/DRudeBand

Check out the Rat Pack Record on line store to purchase the new Album “The Key” – they ship worldwide - http://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/daverude.cfm


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