Just Conversations

This week, just a couple conversations I have had with two veteran groups.  Both are facing challenges, in the case of “Shakra”—the group is facing another personnel change and one that they may not be up for.  This interview shows a little of what groups face as the years go on:

Question: Sorry to hear that John has decided to leave the group—however how is the search going for a new singer?

Answer: To be honest, I’m not very motivated right now. But Thom just started to check out some possible guys, right now  I’m not yet involved in this process. I’m a bit tired of all this, I guess I need a longer break…

Q: Some other good news though — a new release which not only is a “Best Of”, but a couple new songs aswell… Please talk about what you have done with this new release…

A: Well, it is mainly a “Best-Of”. There are 30 classic SHAKRA tracks on 2 CD’s. With all three singers we had in the band so far. And all the songs are in a chronological order, the newer material first and the older stuff afterwards. And then we have 3 brand new songs on the album.  “Live For Today” is a straight rocker. Cool song. Then there is a kind of ballad called “For The Rest Of My Days” and finally a song called “The Beacon”. This one is almost 7 minutes long. It’s a bit progressive for SHAKRA-circumstances, but I really love that one!

Q: Not only three new songs, but you have re-mixed a few more…

A: Two songs on the album are remixed versions: “Chains Of Temptation” and “Take Me Now”. Both from the “Fall”-album. We released that one in 2005. It sounded a little bit special… I was never really happy with the production, so I asked Thom (our lead-guitarist and producer), if he’s in the mood to remix these two tracks. So well, he did it!

Q: It is good to see that you are not giving up! Of course it depends on when you accept a new singer—but have you plans for recording more new material?

A: No, not at the moment. It’s not easy to make some plans if you don’t have a singer anymore…

Q: As a music fan, which artist/band would you say that has influenced you mostly?

A: AC/DC. My first AC/DC album was “Let There Be Rock”. My parents bought me an acoustic guitar with nylon strings. I had a few lessons at the local music school. I had to play this fingerpicking classical stuff. Then I started to play “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Whole Lotta Rosie” and all the other songs from the album!  That was much more fun for me to play! So that album showed me what Rock 'n' Roll means!

Q: Wel l , gents thanks so much in answering these questions—all the best, and looking forward to your new record!

A: Well, we’ll see what happens in the future!


SHAKRA - 33 The Best Of (AFM Records)

This veteran Swiss group are about to close another chapter in their long and storied career. Yet, they are also readying for a brand new, exciting chapter to be added! “33 The Best Of” Shakra is a very ambitious release. Yes, this one is thirty-three tracks on two cd’s and contains three brand new heavenly pieces of Hard Rock! Unfortunately, just last month, John Prakesh announced that he was leaving the band-however Thom, Thomas and Roger and Dominik are pushing forward. But, we shouldn’t worry-as “33…” shows us that “Shakra” are not ready to throw in the towel! All stand out tracks, with thirty of them taken from the group’s nine albums… When you come upon the three brand new tracks, don’t be surprised that their next full-length album will hit that magic spot as well! “33 The Best Of” shows off every great piece of Hard Rock this five piece have created. Their attention to melody, dramatic lyrics and constant high energy is overflowing here. There are some rare pieces on

this release as well… So, this scribes advice? Embrace this release… Treasure it, as “33...” is full of gems from this top drawer Hard Rock five piece! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)


With Tesla, we can feel the optimism the group has, and how they are soldiering on with a determined attitude…

Question: “Simplicity” is the name of your new album… Is there a message there?

Brian Wheat: Yes, the title of the album came from the lyrics of the first track MP3. The song was inspired by all of the technology of today, and TESLA is a simple band so we thought Simplicity was a good title.

Dave Rude: Man, I really think Tesla fans are gonna like it. I think rock fans are gonna like this record because it’ s different than what has been coming up lately from most bands. We really didn’ t pay attention to the radio or anything than any other band were doing.  We are trying to be contemporary and compete with anybody. We just wanted to make a sound we were really happy with, and that’ s difficult to do for an established band these days. There’ s a lot of influences and pressures on you when you make an album and this time we just said “fuck it”... We do what we wanna do!” Hopefully Tesla fans will buy it, and I think we definitely succeeded at that. We spent a lot of time writing the record before we went in the studio, and then we went in the studio and spent a lot of time making songs to getting them to where we were happy with them, but we didn’ t like over producing, it’ s still pretty live for the most part, most of the music was all cut live, and we didn’ t add a lot of stuff to it because it’ s pretty old school.

Q: What we hear are brand new musical journeys from you—when did you actually go to the studio to record this new effort?

BW: End of 2013 we went to Virginia for pre production at Tom Zutaut’s farm. We then recorded the record in Brian Wheat’s studio in our home town of Sacramento.

Q: Did you produce the recordings yourself?

BW: No, Tom Zutaut co-produced it with the band. 

Q: I take it that this is your first for Frontiers, is that right?

BW: No, we’ve also released “Forevermore” and the live album.

Q: “Going back to “Simplicity”, there seems to be a feel of ‘back to your roots’…is this a correct impression?

BW: Absolutely.

Q: In the recording process did you embrace the analogue way more so than the digital method of recording?

BW: We actually embraced the analogue vibe as we always do, but we recorded it with the digital method.

Q: Tesla has been on the road for most of last year, are you planning to tour this year as well… And where so far?

BW: Yes we are, everywhere and anywhere that wants us.

Q: Thanks for this brief conversation, Brian… Good luck on your European tour, and thank-you for this fantastic album…please leave our readers with some final thoughts…

BW: Let’s kick some ass and enjoy the music!

They are back! Tesla are giving us the simple goods! “Simplicity” is all new and it is a no nonsense slice of Hard Rock from this musical force! Yes, guitar dominant still, the Tesla sound is just as hard and just as full of unique signatures as they were from the beginning. Melody? This quintet pulls melody out of the air and lay it all down effortlessly. Listening to “Simplicity” one could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this five piece must be brand new Rock Heroes and not the thirty year veterans that Tesla is. That is the energy level you are about to experience.  Each and every track is a musical statement in of itself, no matter what Jeff is singing about or what musical emotion is being played out. Dave, Troy, Frank, and Brian just keep giving it and the combination is amazing! Each song builds in to the next, combining to give us one heck of a wild ride! Stand-out tracks? Well, all of

them in fact, however a few of my favourites? “Cross My Heart”, MP3”, “Life Is A River” and “Flip Side”. Tesla: simply enjoy!   

Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:

Dream Café:   Barney Bentall: July 11th  & 12th 

Lake City Casino:  Floyd Vedan:  July 4th & 5th    Blue Skies Trio:   July 11th 

Turtle Bay Pub:   The Young ‘Uns:   July 4th  Wild Son:  July 5th    Jeff Piattelli:   July 6th    

The Vibrant Vine:  Kyle Tubbs & Connor:   July 5th (1:30pm)   Devon Coyote:  July 6th (1:30pm) 

Notable Concerts:  

Parks Alive! (Kerry Park):  July 4th: “Flashback”,  “Mundayz”, “Jimmy LeGuilloux”, & “The Marksmen”    July 5th“Radio Lifeline”,  “Rattlesnack Shakes”, “Marty Edwards & The Revival”, & “Roy Has Fire”

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     John Fogerty:  November 27th 

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)


  …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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