Building a band from the ground up after playing an integral role in three platinum-selling albums isn’t easy, but that’s what Tommy Skeoch has done with Resist & Bite. The ex-Tesla guitarist joined forces with former Lynch Mob vocalist Nathan Utz, Brian Powell, David Parks, and Steve Stokes to go back to the bars with a fiery brand of hard rock that deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.
I caught up with Skeoch recently to discuss the origins of the group as well as how he’s been doing since his time in Tesla came to an unfortunate end. If you’re a fan of his and find the prospect of live rock ‘n’ roll in 2023 to be more appealing than what the Grammys are trying to convince you is important, you’ll want to be there when Resist & Bite hits the Evening Star Concert Hall on March 23.
MNOD: It’s been a while since you were part of a band. How did Resist & Bite come together?
Skeoch: After I left Tesla in 2006, I did some records that weren’t really anything to write home about. I just did them and they were kind of forgotten. Then, I sent some songs that I had written to the drummer and he gave them to some other guys, who sent them back to me and actually made them better. We put an entire album’s worth of material together and we’re just an awesome band.
MNOD: You guys got started just before the pandemic began, so I’m curious as to how that impacted things as a new band trying to make a name for itself.
Skeoch: You could envision an scenario in which the pandemic is maybe fucking us as a new band, but we actually made a great record that I don’t think would have happened the same way otherwise. We were able to get into a plush studio for 20 days straight at a good price, so that really helped us along in the course of making the album. ‘Home’ is a song that we recorded totally live in the studio. The rhythm tracks were recorded live. There’s just a great vibe on this album with all of us playing together.
MNOD: What kinds of challenges have you faced being in a band again?
Skeoch: It’s not easy, but I love being in a band. There are a lot of egos and differences of opinion, but we get through it. We’re all trying to get on the same page. We had those issues in Tesla, as well. Now, though, everything flows easily and it’s pretty effortless with Resist & Bite. We love what we do.
MNOD: What motivated you to start a band from the ground up at this point in your career?
Skeoch: I don’t give a fuck about expectations. The songs I’m writing these days seem to come out well and I just love playing music. I wouldn’t say that I’m making a career with Resist & Bite, though, because we’re not making much money. Maybe breaking even. That’s not what it’s about, really. I think there were a lot of things that I took for granted with Tesla that I appreciate more now. I’m always getting these crazy comments from people saying that Tesla isn’t the same without me or that they lack that edge that I brought to the sound. I don’t really listen to any of the stuff they’ve done since I left, but I have heard some of it and I agree that it’s not the same. I love this band even without the money being as much as it used to be, so the fact that we’re in smaller venues doesn’t bother me. Jeff Keith and I had a band called Bar 7 that played clubs, so I love the intimacy and being able to hang out with the fans. It’s a nice feeling.
MNOD: How do you think your guitar playing has evolved since leaving Tesla?
Skeoch: It’s better, actually. I’m a weird kind of cat, because I don’t think I ever spent time practicing when I was in Tesla. It was all about writing songs. Frank (Hannon) is a phenomenal player and I always wanted us to be different from each other. I still bring that same edge and style to Resist & Bite, but I have more understanding of music now. I can’t wait to see what our next record is going to sound like, because we’re heavier than Tesla. I always wanted Tesla to lean heavier than what we were doing, because that’s just the sound that I gravitate to. I’m not saying that Resist & Bite is any sort of out of control heavy shit, but we’re certainly edgier than some of the poppy stuff Tesla was doing. A song like ‘Till Tomorrow’ has a Tesla feel to it, so I think people are always going to look for connections between the two.
MNOD: What kind of guitars are playing these days?
Skeoch: I use a lot of different guitars. I like Strats, Teles, Firebirds, and Les Pauls. I also have an endorsement with AXN Guitars. I’ve also been using Jazz Boxes to get that Guns N’ Roses ‘Patience’ sound that’s almost like ‘What You Give’ or a real down home song with the acoustic vibe. Guitars are like people and they all bring something different to the process.
MNOD: When you left Tesla in 2006, what were the circumstances surrounding your exit?
Skeoch: I was into a lot of drugs. I was doing smack and other shit out there, so there was a lot of unhappiness. I was basically fired. I didn’t want to go, but it needed to happen.
MNOD: What do you attribute your descent into addiction to?
Skeoch: People often wonder if the success of Tesla led me down that path, but I think I was always destined to get out of control. I had done drugs my whole life, but I was never a junkie until I got into a lot of stupid shit. I have two autistic sons and they caused me to look at myself differently, because I see myself in them in certain ways. I’ve always been a little sideways. Now, I’m in a much healthier headspace and I’m doing a lot better. I used to be reclusive, but now I’m forcing myself to get out and be around people more often.
MNOD: When you look back on your time in Tesla, which record do you consider to be your favorite or the one where the band was really firing on all cylinders?
Skeoch: I always say ‘Psychotic Supper.’ I love the sound and that’s the one I gravitate to.
MNOD: Is there anything that you currently like to do to decompress when you need a break from the music?
Skeoch: Not really. I used to do a lot of drugs, but, now, I just like spending time with my family. I also did guitar lessons for a while, but, if you’ve ever tried to teach little kids to play the guitar, you know that they can drive you nuts after a while.
Resist & Bite will be at Evening Star Concert Hall in Niagara Falls, NY on March 24.