Former TESLA guitarist Tommy Skeoch, who left the band in 2006 to receive treatment for substance-abuse issues, reconnected with TESLA bassist Brian Wheat for the first time in more than a decade and a half aboard this year’s Monsters Of Rock cruise. The five-day/five-night full ship charter cruise, which departed out of Miami, Florida on February 9, features performances by Skeoch‘s new band RESIST & BITE while Wheat is onboard showing his art.
Earlier today (Thursday, February 10), Skeoch and Wheat sat down for a joint interview with SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” during which they discussed their shared history and the circumstances that led to the breakdown of their relationship. Skeoch said (as transcribed by Phoosi.com): “Everyone thinks we hate each other and all this stuff, and it’s just not true. I think when I left, there was maybe some weird stuff going on and maybe things were said, but he’s my brother; I’ve known him forever, and we just did a lot of stuff — a lot of great stuff — together, and there’s always that. I don’t throw that away.”
Added Brian: “Me and him went through a lot of this together — we learned how to play together; we wrote great songs together; we shared girls when we were young and single… I may have called him a bastard, and he may have called me a bastard; that’s what brothers do. And I wouldn’t let anyone call him a bastard, and he probably wouldn’t let [anyone call] me [a bastard]. But this is something that me and him did. But in spite of it all, we have this body of work that we did together, and there’s a mutual respect and love that’s there. And I’m glad I saw him yesterday [when RESIST & BITE performed]; I was really freaked out about it. ‘Cause you just see the things that are said [in the press].”
Tommy said: “There’s no doubt that I talked my share of shit about Brian; there was times I was hating him. But again, we had a long history, a lot of great music. And seeing him last night was… My wife even said, ‘It’s good for your soul.’ And I said, ‘I think my soul was all right, but I’ll admit it was kind of cool.'”
Brian agreed: “It was. And honestly, I saw him and he smiled… It was nice to see you smile.”
Skeoch, who was a founding member of TESLA, played on the Sacramento five-piece defining albums, including 1986 debut “Mechanical Resonance” and 1990’s “Five Man Acoustical Jam”.
In a 2021 interview with Eonmusic, Wheat stated about Skeoch‘s departure: “Well, I don’t really like talking about it, to be honest with you, because, quite frankly, he was given many chances, and he chose his path; no one chose it for him.”
He continued: “Because I am the outspoken one, you know, the one who will just go, ‘Hey, there’s a fuckin’ elephant in the room, here,’ I caught a lot of his shit. And that’s just it. Someone asked me the other day if I ever thought I’d be friends with him again, and I said, ‘No.’ And then I thought that maybe that was a bit harsh, but really, when I think about it, I don’t think I ever was his friend.”
The bassist went on to say that he believed that Tommy didn’t really had a close relationship with anyone in TESLA, with the possible exception of vocalist Jeff Keith. “I don’t know if anyone in that band was his friend — maybe Jeff Keith,” he said. “So, it’s not like we went on vacation together or anything. We worked together, and at a certain point, it got hard to work together — for everybody, not just myself.”
Skeoch, who was fired due to substance abuse issues in 1994, rejoined when TESLA reformed more than two decades ago following a brief hiatus. “The sad thing about it is, ironically, when he was in the band from 2000 on, he stayed with me all the time, and I thought we were good friends,” Wheat told Eonmusic. “And then he took some shots at me right after he got out of the band again, and at that point, I was just, like, ‘Fuck you, dude. I didn’t do this to you, man. I tried to help you. And although I was the one that had to bring it up, you were continuing fucking up.”
The bassist went on to say that although others in the band struggled with their own demons, none of them let it affect their gig. “[Tommy] alludes to the fact that Jeff was doing the same things and Jeff didn’t get treated like that, and, to a degree, maybe he’s right, but Jeff never wasn’t able to perform, or Jeff didn’t miss gigs because he couldn’t get ahold of it, or he wasn’t out trying to score, or do whatever. I mean, I’m sorry man, but the same thing would happen if it was me.”
Finally, he concluded: “That’s just the reality of it, and I keep it real. Don’t deflect, you know, ‘Everyone else did this and that’ — own your shit. To this day, I don’t really think he’s owned it.”
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.”
This happened today on #trunknation. Tommy Skeoch (Official) and Brian Wheat reconnect after 15 years! SiriusXM VOLUME 106 tonight 10P ET or anytime SiriusXM app. Monsters of Rock Cruise
Posted by Eddie Trunk on Thursday, February 10, 2022