TESLA guitarist Frank Hannon recently spoke to Let’s Rock about the band’s latest single, “Cold Blue Steel”. A music video for the song was released in August, directed by Brandon Gullion and produced by Hannon.
Regarding the inspiration for the track, Frank said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s an example of [late LYNYRD SKYNYRD singer] Ronnie Van Zant being our influence in a way of telling a story. When you’re listening to “Saturday Night Special’, you can picture the story.
“So Jeff [Keith, TESLA singer] was really fired up about that song. One day he was coming over to my house a couple of months ago and we were gonna work on some music and he was listening to that track. And that’s where it started.”
Hannon went on to say that the lyrics to “Cold Blue Steel” have been partially misinterpreted by some fans.
“We’ve been getting a lot of flak from people that only hear the couple of verses in the song, thinking it’s about gun control,” he said. “And in a way it is, but, really, it’s so much deeper than that, the lyrics. We try to definitely not take sides and be political but we wanna sing about a situation. Something like what we did with ‘Modern Day Cowboy’ in the ’80s; we sang about foreign lands and terrorist demands and ‘bang bang, shoot ’em up’ and how that attitude was still happening in the world at that time, being a gunfighter, cowboy situation, but we’re not pointing fingers. And that’s the same way with this song, but some people only hear parts of it and have been giving us some shit about it. But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s asking a question, ‘What’s to blame? Let’s get real.’ And the song is really about people that you give ’em an inch, they take a mile — whether it’s a politician, whether it’s a crook, whether it’s a police officer. And we support our police.”
He added: “There’s evil intentions in all parts of life, and that’s what the song is really about — just observing and asking the question, ‘What’s to blame?’ It’s not talking about ‘take away guns’ or any of that shit. But it started off just being a fun poke at Ronnie Van Zant. That last lyric in the song, ‘Just like Ronnie said, ‘Let’s dump ’em to the bottom of the sea,’ that’s where the song started for fun. And then we took it and tried to make it a little bit more serious.”
Asked if the arrival of “Cold Blue Steel” means that there is a new TESLA album in the works, Hannon replied: “Yeah, it’ll end up on an album, but we’re gonna just do one song at a time. Instead of trying to cram for a test… Making an album is almost like a test — you’ve got a deadline on it and there’s all this pressure and you’ve gotta try to finish it by a certain date. And then what you end up doing is cramming the songs. So we’re not gonna do that. We’re just gonna write a song when we feel it and have fun with it. And then when we have a group of ’em, we’ll put it out together as a collection on an album.”
In August, TESLA postponed several shows due to members of the touring party — including Hannon — contracting COVID-19. Hannon later issued a statement saying that he had “not been able to move all week” and revealed that he woke up with a 102-degree fever and could “hardly breathe” on the day that TESLA was scheduled to leave for tour.
TESLA played the first two shows of its summer 2021 tour — August 5 in Grants Pass, Oregon and August 6 in Grand Ronde, Oregon — without Frank. Filling in for him was Howie Simon (JEFF SCOTT SOTO, GRAHAM BONNET, STRYPER), who previously stood in for Hannon in September 2018.