The third studio record from Sacramento-based Tesla, may not have offered a chart-topping ballad like 1989s “Great Radio Controversy” (“Love Song” was a staple of just about every high school mix tape for years on) or gotten the MTV love that Five Man Acoustical Jam warranted a year later, but song for song, “Psychotic Supper” is the band’s best record.
Packaged by their label at the time as yet another hair metal band, Tesla was more of a Blues-loving hard rock band than their glammed up, three-chord peers. You got a sense any hair spray was applied begrudgingly.
Released in 1991, “Psychotic Supper” was not as polished as the first two records giving it a closer feeling to how the band sounds live (which was almost necessary, coming on the heels of the just-released acoustic live record “Five Man Acoustical Jam”), it was a little rawer and easily transcends the small, artistically-questionable hair metal ghetto the band was forced into at the time. The songs here are much longer than standard hard rock/metal fans at the time were used to (with the exception of maybe Queensryche fans), with most clocking in at over five minutes. “What You Give,” the best track on the album, is a whopping seven-minutes long, but honestly most of the 13-songs here stand up remarkable well so many years later.
UME and Geffen have re-released the album in time to mark its 25th anniversary, spreading it out over two LPs. Despite selling over a million copies, Tesla is still seen as “hair metal era” band. Hopefully this re-release will help dispel that notion.