Rock Never Stops brings Tesla to Winnebago C. Fairgrounds

By Lisa Palmeno

Staff Writer

Get ready for screaming guitars, high-powered vocals and plenty of metal madness when the Rock Never Stops Tour comes to the Winnebago County Fairgrounds on Friday, June 21.

The original members of Tesla are back together, joining Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Skid Row and Jackyl for a full night of hard-driving rock-n-roll. The tour, brought to fans by Jam Presents, began in Missouri in May and continues on until their final date in August in California.

All four bands are known for their popularity in the ’80s, and they’re back to present old favorites as well as new material. Lead vocalist of Tesla, Jeff Keith, told The Rock River Times that he is glad to be coming back to the area. When asked about being the opening act for David Lee Roth when they appeared in Rockford in 1987, Keith said he remembered it “absolutely,” because it was their first tour, and the first time they ever played in an arena. He said they went from playing clubs to being on tour with Roth.

Fans will be glad to know their new album, Replugged Live (Santuary Records), is a double CD set, released in 2001. The album boasts 20 songs, com-

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bining hits and rarely-heard tunes from all of their albums, including “Little Suzi,” a song written by the British band, PhD. Guitarist Ronnie Montrose introduced them to the song, and Tesla popularized it. Replugged Live was put out “for die-hard fans.” Keith added, “They might like to have a live electrical album for Tesla. That’s why we put it out.”

It’s been a long road since the band began in 1984, naming their band after Inventor Nikola Tesla and paying homage to his work in the field of electricity through record titles and songs. Originally, calling the band Tesla was the idea of their A&R rep., Tom Zutaut, who signed them to David Geffen Co.

The band took the idea a step further and came up with Mechanical Resonance (their debut album), which refers to electrical vibrations Tesla was working with and Psychotic Supper, a tribute to the scientist’s strange habit of counting everything at the supper table in multiples of three. More references followed as the band’s research and their popularity grew. Keith says the band saw Nikola Tesla as an underdog who did a lot for rock-n-roll as we know it today.

As for touring with other veteran bands, Keith says, “We’re having a good time with it. We’ve done the two shows. Everyone is getting along. It’s a full day of kick-ass rock-n-roll.”

Keith also said he’s looking forward to playing the Fairgrounds: “I love that outdoor feel, man,” he commented. “Hopefully, it will be nice out. I love the outdoor stuff. I’ll be there rain or shine.”

Gates open at Winnebago County Fairgrounds at 4 p.m. (the parking lot opens at 3 p.m.), and the show starts at 5:30 p.m. in the following order: Tesla, Vince Neil, Jackyl, Skid Row. Tickets are $29.50 general admission, available at the gate or Ticketmaster at (312)559-1212 or

Concessions will be provided by local vendors. The Fairgrounds are located 15 miles west of Rockford, just off Bypass 20. Patrons can follow the signs when they reach the Illinois State Police Headquarters on Business 20. For information, call (815)239-1641.

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