Most people would probably blurt out that Marconi, provided they know anything at all about radio. Cold facts would be that most people today would answer Sony. With either answer they’d be out and out wrong. The answer is Nikola Tesla. That’s right a man named Tesla was the true creator of that magical device that is so prevalent in our lives from our night stands to our automobiles. Yet, through brutal distortion of the truth, a man named Marconi swindled his way into the history books and people’s minds. Good thing is truth eventually prevales. Though at this point, does it matter any more? The same could be said for the truth behind who really killed JFK. Would it matter now if we found out?
Thus was born the Great Radio Controversy and along with it a future band that would become today’s Fallen Friday.
For as much as I learned in science class, I don’t think I ever remember actually learning about the radio, who invented it, and that there was even a controversy about it. I didn’t learn it until I started listening to a band who called themselves Tesla. I was still in school when I started listening to them. I came in knowing who they were on an album called oddly enough The Great Radio Controversy. It makes me a late comer to knowing who they were as they did have an album prior to that called Mechanical Resonance.
Ah, I remember having just learned to drive and having my first taste of freedom owning a car in a small town. Yeah, Park City was a small town at that point. I worked a job at the Park City Pizza co. Actually I had already been working for them for 3 years prior to becoming a delivery driver for them. Park City Pizza Co. started out in a bar called The Club. There I was 13 years old pushing my way through a bar to be a dish washer and prep cook for the best pizza in the world. 3 years later when I finally was old enough to drive, I moved up on the totem pole and got a delivery spot. Why? Because the money fucking good in the winter time and you didn’t have to spend a ton of time in the restaurant.
I’ve got numerous memories of the time I spent there. Too many to list here. Eventually though, I’m sure they’ll all come out in a book or something. Getting back to the driving. My first car was a Subaru Brat. I was so proud of that car. Looking back at it now though, it was quite frankly one of the ugliest cars ever made. But it ran like a tank and kept going. Great car for driving in snow. That was my primary reason for getting it. Not too mention it was cheap to own, and easy to fix. Big pluses when you’re a high school student and wanting to save money for a budding music career.
Driving around the town of Park City in the middle of winter while bringing hot pizza’s to tourists and the few locals was a great way to listen to an incredible amount of music. Because I was fairly poor I only had a tape player installed in the car. Thus I would buy CD’s and copy them to cassette tapes in order to not scratch my CD’s while careening through the little streets of Park City piled high with snow. It was also a time when I got used to listening to full albums all the way through. So when I made a tape I really had to like a band because I was listening to a whole album before I switched a tape. I didn’t make mix tapes because it was a pain in the ass and what if I suddenly didn’t like the order.
Often times I would get music recommended to me, much like I do now. Only at that point I really had to trust the mouth that told me about it because it wasn’t as easy to get a sample listen to music as it is now. I bought The Great Radio Controversy and put it on. I was hooked from the very moment the opening bass line cranked up. Did you notice it when you surfed in today? I still notice it. It’s a great riff and the music and tone of the guitars just rocks. To me Tesla walked that line of having an awesome street cred of sound and energy to be cool, with the cross over of enough commercial edge to sell. I really don’t know how well they sold. But to me they encompassed the shit I wanted to sound like at the time.
I never got to see Tesla perform live. I don’t know if they ever came through Utah. And the one chance I did get to see them at the Monsters of Rock, I was outside the LA coliseum and only heard them from outside. Kinda tough to be in a big town like LA when you’re a young shit from Utah.
I don’t listen to Tesla very often any more. I do know they released a CD not long ago. I bought it. It’s the same band back together attempting to write new music with a modern flair. So far of all the bands that I doing this, this is the only one that comes close to being good. Unfortunately I think the new stuff still falls short of their heyday. The songwriting is close to what it was, but the sound isn’t nearly as good.
I highly recommend Mechanical Resonance and The Great Radio Controversy. Those two CD’s fucking great. When I put either one of them, I have to listen to it all the way through. That’s a habit that’s hard to break. It’s just ingrained that I have to do that. iPod be damned. I can’t imagine how my musical education would have occured while delivering pizzas if the iPod was around at that point. Get Hang Tough, better yet go both of those albums now!
(** Disclaimer: If Tesla’s label decides to get tough with me I’ll be wiping the audio from the server faster than Subaru Brat sliding sideways of a highway at 60 mph. The text will remain to show my ability hang tough with the bands I grew up with. **)