TESLA bassist Brian Wheat, who is promoting his recently released autobiography, "Son Of A Milkman: My Crazy Life With Tesla", spoke to Metal Express Radio about his relationship with the band's former guitarist Tommy Skeoch.
"With all fairness, there were times where he could be a lot of fun," Brian said (hear audio below). "There were also a lot of times where he was a complete asshole. It just got too much, man. And not just me — with everyone. I mean, I didn't throw him out of the band — he was voted out unanimously. He likes to say afterwards that I did this and I did that, and he takes these shots at me when he takes his interviews. He called me an elephant and said I couldn't play the bass, and shit like that. And it's just, like, you know what? Fuck you, man. There's the old saying: fuck off and live.
"He can write his own book and say whatever he wants about whoever he wants to," Wheat continued. "Honestly, I don't talk to him. I haven't talked to him since he was asked to leave. I think the only one who talks to him is maybe Jeff [Keith, vocals]. But I don't talk to him.
"[SiriusXM personality] Eddie Trunk asked me the other day, 'Do you think that you will ever become friends with him again?' And I'm, like, 'No, I don't think so.' … I thought [I was friends with him back in the day], and evidently, I wasn't. So I don't need to sign up for that one again… I wish him all the best. And I heard one of his [new] songs the other day, and I thought it was really good. So I'm happy for him."
Skeoch left TESLA in 2006 to receive treatment for substance-abuse issues.
Last September, TESLA guitarist Frank Hannon told Detroit's WRIF radio station that he didn't think the band would ever work with Skeoch again.
"I have to tell you, I love Tommy Skeoch," he said. "I just did an online masterclass — the Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp — and I broke down 'Modern Day Cowboy' and how Tommy and myself collaborated and worked on that music together.
"When we were kids, Tommy Skeoch and myself, I was 16 and he was about 19 or 20," he continued. "I used to really look up to him — I was a huge fan of his style, and still am, a great fan of his guitar playing. We were like best buds. And then we would collaborate and write songs like 'Modern Day Cowboy' or any of those TESLA songs, we'd write 'em together. But as time went on, man, the egos and the problems — myself included — throughout the years, the competition, it really drove a wedge between us. And the drugs and alcohol just really destroyed our relationship, I've just gotta be honest. We weren't supposed to talk about this stuff, but now I figure it's been long enough.
"I don't see that TESLA will ever go back, because we love [Tommy's replacement] Dave Rude, and Dave has really been a great addition to the band. And it would be disrespectful to him to go backwards to a toxic thing, a relationship that really got very toxic.
"Unfortunately, I don't think that TESLA will work with Tommy again — ever," Frank reiterated. "But I will say that myself, personally, I have always loved Tommy and I just wish him the best. I'm so glad that he's still alive, and I know he's got a new band out [RESIST & BITE] that put a song out called 'The Myth I'm Livin''. It was kick-ass; it had Tommy's guitar. Look, I'm getting goosebumps right now. Every time I hear Tommy Skeoch play, it brings a smile to my face, 'cause he's freakin' awesome. As a musician, I have nothing but love and respect for the guy. But I don't think TESLA will ever work with him again. But I do wish him the best."
In a May 2020 interview with "The Classic Metal Show", Skeoch was asked if he thinks people are now more aware of the "edge" that he brought to TESLA while he was a member of the Sacramento-based act, on and off, for two decades. "Absolutely. Oh, yeah," he responded. "To me, it's been apparent from the get-go, but even early on, on my Facebook pages, just everyone, all they ever say is, 'We still love TESLA, but it's just a different band. There's no balls there now.' And these are not my words, man. I wasn't gonna say anything, 'cause it's just not appropriate. But, yeah, I think it's a different band, and maybe not for the best. That's my opinion. Everyone has an opinion. If they wanna listen to some more loungey, more kind of pop, lighter music, they're doing that now. And if people like that, then go for it. I like to rock hard."
In a 2011 interview with Noisecreep, Jeff stated about Skeoch: "Look, everyone in TESLA has been through their own substance-abuse issues. But Tommy got in too deep again. So the band told him that the only way we would be able to make this work is if he was clean and sober. I felt like we couldn't ask him to do that if we weren't going to commit to it too. So I was the first one to say that I wouldn't drink, or do anything else, on the tour. The next thing you know, the other guys did the same thing. Troy [Luccketta, drums] has been clean and sober for over 20 years, so it wasn't even an issue for him... Tommy couldn't stay off the stuff he was doing. It broke my heart to see it, but we knew we had to replace him."
"Son Of A Milkman: My Crazy Life With Tesla" arrived on December 15 via Post Hill Press. In this 304-page hardcover book, Wheat lifts the lid on living the rock 'n' roll life while struggling with anxiety, depression and other issues seldom discussed by musicians.
"Son Of A Milkman" features a foreword by DEF LEPPARD vocalist Joe Elliott, and was co-written with award-winning journalist and author Chris Epting, whose titles include "Adrenalized" (co-written with DEF LEPPARD's Phil Collen) and "Change Of Seasons" (co-written with John Oates).
Wheat co-founded TESLA, which became one of the biggest bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brian owns a recording studio by the name of J Street Recorders in Sacramento, California. PAPA ROACH, TESLA, PAT TRAVERS, DEFTONES, KODIAK JACK, FLASHFIRES and many others have recorded there.
TESLA spent most of 2019 touring in support of its latest album, "Shock", which was released in March of that year via UMe. The follow-up to 2014's "Simplicity" was produced by DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen.
Joining Skeoch in RESIST & BITE are ex-LYNCH MOB lead vocalist Nathan Utz, guitarist Steve Stokes, drummer David Parks and bassist Brian Powell.