Tesla hit their pinnacle of success in the 80s with several albums which featured guitarist Tommy Skeoch. While they have continued touring and releasing albums until the present day, they parted company on, not one, but several occasions. After a period of silence, Tommy Skeoch has made a powerful return to the music scene with his new project Resist & Bite. I was recently able to chat to him regarding the new band and we also touched on his musical journey to date.
Antihero Magazine: I see you’ve finally been able to tour again. How’s that been for you?
Tommy Skeoch: Touring?
Antihero Magazine: Yeah. After two years of nothing.
Tommy Skeoch: It’s been amazing. For the longest time, since the last time I left Tesla, I was just doing a lot of recording and doing some local shows and just having fun with friends, playing live at bar and grill type things and stuff like that. But since Resist & Bite has got together, I’ve been able to do some actual real rock shows and it’s just been amazing. It’s an amazing band. I’m having a lot of fun, man.
Antihero Magazine: What sort of setlist have you been doing? Has it been the whole album, or have you been mixing it up a little bit with other things?
Tommy Skeoch: Yes. We’ve only done three shows so far. Two of them were kind of opening-type things so we didn’t get a chance to play a lot of stuff. But the one headlining, the very first one we did, we did almost the whole record. We do a few Tesla songs, and we do a cover even, we did an ACDC cover, “Riff Raff”, which was fun.
Now though, this next show, the very next show we’re doing next weekend with Eddie Trunk hosting it, the release party thing, we’re doing the entire record on that. That’s going to be just amazing. So, the whole record for that show, a few Tesla songs, we might throw that Riff Raff song in there, and a few other little things.
Antihero Magazine: No Bar 7 songs in there then?
Tommy Skeoch: No. But people have suggested that. You know, the thing is, in the band… And I haven’t even talked to them about this. I don’t know how much the Resist & Bite guys even know about Bar 7. I mean, I think maybe Dave does. I think they know about it, but we have never actually discussed it. We’re rehearsing this weekend and I think I will bring it up to them because some people have wanted to hear some songs and there are some good songs there. So yeah, sure. I’m open to it, you know.
Antihero Magazine: What about the origins of the band? Did you have the songs written first and then find the band? Or did you get the guys together first and then get the songs?
Tommy Skeoch: Yeah, so I’m always writing so I always have songs. I’m always writing and stuff. But basically, our drummer, Dave, kind of put everyone together, and I had already had a bunch of songs. Just like I said, I’m always writing. So, I sent him some recent stuff I had done and he turned the other guitar player, Steve, onto it and Steve added a chorus and really made it a lot better, which really impressed me. That song turned out to be Myth. “The Myth I’m Livin’”, the first song that we put out. So basically, yeah, I had a lot of songs, but then after I knew that we were going to be a band, man, I just, all I’ve been doing is writing. And I’ve just got a billion songs. So, we’re not short in that department for sure.
Antihero Magazine: It seems to be a harder sound than what you’ve done previously with Tesla. It seems to be a harder-edged sound to Resist & Bite.
Tommy Skeoch: I think so. I think a little bit. I mean, I wrote a lot of songs in Tesla too, so I think there’s kind of that vibe in there. You can probably hear it if you listen to the record a little bit. But I think it is a little bit heavier, a little bit more aggressive than Tesla. Yes.
Antihero Magazine: Has it been difficult to re-establish your name and a new band name in the music business? Because it’s a fickle industry.
Tommy Skeoch: It is. It’s very difficult. I mean, even when me and Jeff did Bar 7 and it was me and Jeff from Tesla, people just, unless it’s the band they know you from, they don’t really care. They just don’t. It’s a huge feat to get it out there and get it known. But I’ll tell you what, in this… Bar 7 was kind of the same way. But this band, especially, it’s such a good band. And I don’t usually just toot my horn, but I think it’s a great band and I’m really enjoying it. And the fans are really responding to it, too. So, I don’t think it’s been that hard in just the way that the band is fucking badass, man. People seem to be just loving it.
Antihero Magazine: And it’s a great album as well. Do you have management? Do you have a record label behind you? Or are you doing it all on your own?
Tommy Skeoch: We’ve been doing it all on our own with help from a friend of ours that has been helping us financially. It turned out that he is starting a label. So basically, that’s turned into him being the label and he calls it LR records. We have that, and he’s kind of a manager and we’re kind of managing ourselves at this time, which is quite difficult because you know, you got five cooks in the kitchen and now our buddy Steve from the record label. So, it’s tough. We need to get a manager and we need to get a booking agent and all that. We’re pretty much homegrown. We still do a lot of things ourselves. And you can do that these days in this industry because it’s become an online type of thing. It’s very kind of easy to do that nowadays.
Antihero Magazine: Many people obviously associate you with your former band, Tesla. How do you view that time? Putting aside all personal issues, how do you view those albums that you created with Tesla?
Tommy Skeoch: I think they’re fantastic. I think they’re wonderful. I mean, it was a really great ride. I mean, it was great up until about, I guess until the last record I did with them. After that, it just seemed like they started… I left, but they started just kind of regurgitating a lot of the same songs, either live or just different forms of a lot of the same songs. Not that they didn’t make records or whatever, but I think the records I did with them stand the test of time. And I think they’re the best records. I think they’ve actually suffered a little bit since I’ve been gone. I think you can hear it in their songwriting and in the sound of the records. Not that I’m all great. I think you take any one element out of a band, and I think it affects it. But I didn’t realize how much of a big part of the sound I was adding until after I left and friends would send me a song and I’d go, “Wow, man. They really… It’s not the same energy at all”.
Antihero Magazine: How was it for you… I mean, obviously, with the success of your first album, Mechanical Resonance, you had success so quickly at a young age. Do you think that was part of the problem that you had dealing with it, coming to terms with it?
Tommy Skeoch: No. No, I don’t think so. As far as my issues and stuff, I have always been number one: I mean, I’ll say this. I have two autistic children and I see myself in them so much now, and I believe I’ve had some issues just my whole life, of course, with stuff. So, I don’t attribute the quick success of Tesla having to do with me becoming a drug addict or any of that kind of stuff. It was going to happen one way or the other. But I do think that some of that drug addiction stuff and some of the problems I had stemmed from where Tesla was going, though, towards the end of my time with it. I wasn’t happy with it, and I was doing a lot of drugs because of it.
Antihero Magazine: Are you still in touch with any of those guys from Tesla?
Tommy Skeoch: Not really. Jeff would call me every now and then, and I spoke to Troy a couple of times. I saw Troy, he came over and had dinner one night when they were around where I live here in Florida. But there’s something going on where one of the guys… Ever since I left the band, I mean, every interview I did for the first year or two, all every interviewer I’d get on with goes, “Oh, well that Brian guy had a lot of not nice things to say about you”. And this was right after I left. When I left, I totally was like, “Peace, you guys. You want me to go? I’ll go”. I didn’t give them any shit about it. I was willing to do it and I was glad… I don’t know. I wouldn’t say glad to do it, but it was that type of thing. Then all these interviews I heard him talking shit about me or that he was, and then I started doing things accordingly. Never saying anything in interviews or anything, but in songs, I would reference things. Now, he’s going around saying I say all these things that I’ve never said, and it’s just a shit show really. It’s silly stuff too, and the thing is, I don’t believe anyone, maybe three people care. You know? I don’t know. It’s pretty silly.
Antihero Magazine: As we’ve said, you created some great music with those guys. It’s just sad and unfortunate that it’s come to this.
Tommy Skeoch: Yeah, it is. I do take responsibility for my part in it, for sure. I was not doing well, and I think they would’ve been better off if they just kept me, even with my drug problem. I think that they would have fared better musically, but I understand why things went down. I was a little crazy. I was getting a little bit out there, and it wasn’t fun. I was sick. It is sad, but it’s just, that’s life man. Things happen.
Antihero Magazine: How are you doing these days, anyway? Physically, mentally. Are you good?
Tommy Skeoch: Doing good as far as the drug addiction thing. I don’t do any hard drugs anymore at all. I take medicines, of course, but no narcotics. I smoke a little weed every now and then I’ll have a drink every now and then, but that’s it. I’m doing well as far as that goes. I’m getting older, so I deal with a lot of pain and physical issues, and I still have, like I said, seeing myself in my children, and I think I’m autistic, so of course, I’m mental already. So, we take medicine for that.
Antihero Magazine: What’s the future hold then for Resist & Bite? Would the album have a worldwide release? Will you be touring other countries?
Tommy Skeoch: Yeah. We are trying to do all that. I mean, right now, the records come out and it’s like with the condition with COVID and everything out there, it’s been difficult for everybody. I mean, right now, ideally, we’d be out on a tour supporting some other acts where people could get to know us. Right?
Antihero Magazine: Yeah.
Tommy Skeoch: But that’s been extremely difficult in this climate with COVID. So we’re trying to get that going and as soon as we can get an opening spot somewhere, we’re going to jump on it. But until then, we’re just doing one-off shows, stuff like that.
Antihero Magazine: What do you do in your free time? Obviously, you mentioned that you’ve got two kids, which must take up a lot of your time. Do you have any sort of hobbies and interests outside music?
Tommy Skeoch: I do. But I spend a lot of my time at home writing music, and playing music, and always just playing guitar. I do that more than I ever have, even when I was younger. I just, I don’t know, man. I’m all about that these days, just practicing and trying to be better on guitar, writing, and trying to just write that great song of whatever genre of writing I’m doing.
The one thing I do like to do though, with some spare time, is I really enjoy history a lot. I’m a big fan of the 1860s era, the Civil War here in America. I go up to the Eastern theatre of the battles here in America that they had back then. I’m kind of a Civil War buff, so I do enjoy that history and going to battlefields and reading up. I like to read a lot about that stuff, and history, and other things.
Antihero Magazine: Have you been doing a lot of publicity for this record? Do you find that there’s a lot of people interested, want to talk to you?
Tommy Skeoch: Yes. Yes. I was just telling our drummer, Dave. He goes, “Hey, can you do an interview tomorrow”? I go, “Man, I’m getting pelted with interviews every day”. And it’s a good thing. I may complain about it, but it’s great that that’s happening, that people are interested, and yeah, we’re doing press every day now.
Antihero Magazine: Long-term plans, obviously get the album out and promote it all around the world, I assume, and play live? Yeah?
Tommy Skeoch: Yeah. That’s it, man. You bet. Even like I say, writing songs on my own, but after we’re rehearsing this weekend for the next show coming up, and me and the guitar player are getting together to kind of sort out the next batch of songs I got. So, we’re already thinking about another record and it’s on to the break of dawn, man.
Antihero Magazine: So, you’re on a creative roll of songs. They’re just flowing out of you.
Tommy Skeoch: Yeah.
Antihero Magazine: Good.
Tommy Skeoch: Definitely. Definitely. I mean, I write a lot, so not everyone’s just the greatest thing. But man, I got to say a lot of them I really think are good and I think I’ve just been… I don’t know, man. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s just, I really think the stuff I’m doing right now is great. I’m really enjoying it and I love it. Yeah.
Antihero Magazine: Just a final one. I’m sure you’ve done many interviews, not just to promote this album, but back when you were with Tesla. Who would you like to interview if the roles were reversed?
Tommy Skeoch: Who would I like to interview?
Antihero Magazine: Yeah. If you had the opportunity.
Tommy Skeoch: Oh, wow. I’d never thought about that. I don’t know. I’m not really an interviewer. Who would I like to talk to? You know what? I don’t know. Dave Grohl. I think he’s interesting. He’s such a prolific musician and he’s done so much between Nirvana, and then Foo Fighters, and just all the stuff he does. His energy is just great. Great songwriter. Maybe him. He’s interesting and talented and I really admire him a lot.
Antihero Magazine: Okay. Tommy, that’s great. Thank you for chatting to me. I first saw you with Tesla when you supported Def Leppard back in 1987. So, hopefully, you’ll get back to the UK again.
Tommy Skeoch: Man, I’d love to come back there, man. You guys are great, and I love it. Yeah. Thank you very much.
Antihero Magazine: Thanks for chatting to me today. It’s been a pleasure.
Tommy Skeoch: That’s great. I’m an anti-hero, so that’s awesome. I like that.
Antihero Magazine: Very appropriate then. Thank you very much.
Tommy Skeoch: Thank you. Thank you.