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Tesla’s third album, Psychotic Supper, the band’s third studio album, released on August 30, 1991, was the follow-up to the live Five Man Acoustical Jam, peaking at #13 on the Billboard 200, featuring an aggressive change in direction from the previous disc, landing an impressive five songs on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, including “What You Give,” which went to #7 and even cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at #86. Other memorable songs include “Edison’s Medicine,” which spotlights how its subject received credit for harnessing electricity over the band’s own namesake, Nikola Tesla, which climbed to #20 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, along with “Call It What You Want” (#19), “Song & Emotion” (#13) and “Stir It Up” (#35). Produced by Michael Barbiero (Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Anthrax) – who also helmed the band’s first two studio efforts — the album was eventually certified platinum in 1993 by the RIAA, and was included in German magazine Rock Hard’s book of “The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.” The band themselves have been quoted as considering Psychotic Supper their best record.
To help mark the album’s 25th anniversary in August, UMe is reissuing the album for the first time as a two-LP standard issue vinyl set on July 22.
Tesla was formed in Sacramento in late 1981 by bassist Brian Wheat and Frank Hannon, with lead vocalist Jeff Keith, drummer Troy Luccketta and guitarist Tommy Skeoch joining them by 1984, settling on the name Tesla two years later. Their debut album, Mechanical Resonance, came out in 1986, with many of the band’s themes and song titles inspired by the electrical engineer who gave them their name. In the early days of their career, the band toured extensively, opening for David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard and Poison.
And while their first two albums, Mechanical Resonance and 1989’s The Great Radio Controversy, both charted on the Billboard 200, 1990’s live Five Man Acoustical Jam, proved a breakthrough, peaking at #12, producing the Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 single “Signs,” a cover of the 1971 song by the Five Man Electrical Band.
On Psychotic Supper, the band largely eschewed the live album’s acoustic bent and let loose with a stripped-down production that enhanced the band’s bluesy take on rock and roll. “Edison’s Medicine” is highlighted by Jeff Keith’s frenetic, yet soulful vocals and some scorching guitar solos by Tommy Skeoch and Frank Hannon. Skeoch also rocks out on theremin, while Hannon straps on a bass for a memorable solo.
25 years after its release, Psychotic Supper still holds up for its impressive musicianship by the band and its mix of hard rock and anthemic ballads.
The complete album track list is as follows:
1. Change in the Weather
2. Edison’s Medicine
3. Don’t De-Rock Me
1. Call It What You Want
2. Song & Emotion
4. Government Personnel
1. Freedom Slaves
2. Had Enough
3. What You Give
1. Stir It Up
2. Can’t Stop
3. Toke About It