Interview: Tesla Guitarist Dave Rude Talks Gibson Guitars, Marshall Amps and Touring with the Scorpions

by John Katic
Posted Jun 7, 2012 at 5:14pm

When Tesla first set the rock world on fire with their debut album, 1986's Mechanical Resonance, Dave Rude was 8 years old.

As fate would have it, in 2006, founding Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon came across The Dave Rude Band on MySpace and asked Rude to join his band as a rhythm guitarist. That eventually led to Rude joining Tesla, where Rude has been ever since.

We recently spoke to Rude about his technique, influences and gear.

Your style of guitar playing suggests influences well beyond your age. Who are some of the players who influenced you in your formative years?

I'm heavily influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Joe Perry, Steve Vai and The Edge, all the classic guys. My favorite players have a very unique identity and sound all their own. which has always been really important to me and something I strive for. I prefer originality to technical prowess, even if it's a little sloppy or unorthodox. That's where the magic lies.

You are almost never seen without a Les Paul or another Gibson around your neck. Do you have a favorite?

Gibsons and Epiphones are the best guitars around. I've always been a Les Paul player, and I've gotten into Explorers recently too. Epiphone just sent me a new Explorer Pro in a really cool finish I've never seen before called TV Silver, which I am loving.

Also the Gibson Slash AFD Signature Les Paul is out of control. Part of what makes that guitar so great is the Seymour Duncan Slash Signature Alnico II pickups. which are just amazing. They're so clear, you can hear each note in a full chord through a distorted amp, but still hot enough to give you some serious bite and drive. I love them so much that Seymour Duncan is sending me out some to throw in my other guitars too.


What do you use as far as amps and effects?

I play Marshall amps: a JCM 900, DSL 2000 and an older Slash signature from 1997, which is an exact replica of the old Jubilee head from the '80s. The vintage 4x12 cabs with 30-watt Celestions are my favorite -- killer saturation because you really drive the speakers to the breaking point and make them sing.

Can you give us a little background on your "other" band, The Dave Rude Band?

I started that band in 2005, and we made a demo that I put up on MySpace when that was happening. Six months later, Frank Hannon randomly found our profile and sent me an email, which is how I ended up joining Tesla. We've released two EPs which are available at and on iTunes. I'll be releasing a new album later this summer with some really cool songs that I'm super excited about, too. It's a hard rock thing, and I sing and play guitar.

Tesla will be supporting the Scorpions on their farewell tour. Are you looking forward to soaking up as much of them before they call it a day?

Absolutely!! They're still amazing after all these years. We played a few shows with them in 2010 and they were just on fire. Klaus still sings his a-- off and, of course, Mathias and Rudolf are tearing it up. I can't wait. Plus we're doing Red Rocks, which has always been a dream of mine.

2011 saw Tesla release Twisted Wires & Acoustic Sessions, which has lots of interesting material and different renditions of Tesla classics. What sort of gear did you use acoustically during the recording of that record?

I played my trusty No. 1 Les Paul and an acoustic nylon string that Frank has.

When can we expect to hear a follow up to 2008's studio album Forever More?

We've all separately been working on songs for a new Tesla record here and there, so I'm sure we'll get together and lay them down sometime soon. So far there's some cool stuff I think people will dig a lot. Really rockin'. But right now we're focusing on all the touring we'll be doing this summer, both with the Scorpions and headlining on our own after that. We're all looking forward to getting back out on the road this summer!

Tesla will be supporting the Scorpions starting in early June before starting a string of US headline dates. Follow them via their Facebook page and official website.

Add a Comment

Similar Guitar News

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Discusses His New Gibson Billy Gibbons SG Model — Video (10/20/2015)
Gibson and Billy Gibbons have teamed up to create the new Gibson BGSG—as in “Billy Gibbons SG.” The platform for the BGSG is a classic 1961 SG, but there are radical differences. The most obvious is the guitar’s top, which is raised on its upper...
Top Five Gibson Les Paul Facts You Probably Didn't Know — Video (9/30/2015)
In this new video—which was posted to YouTube September 26), Mark from Guitar Nerds, a U.K.-based website for guitar fans (and nerds, we reckon), counts down the top five Gibson Les Paul facts that you probably didn't know. This new video comes...
The 10 Weirdest Gibson Guitar Models Ever Created — Video (9/11/2015)
We tend to think of the Gibson brand as pretty traditional. But amid all the Les Pauls, SGs and ES models the company has turned out over the years, it’s easy to forget that the guitarmaker has also created numerous oddities. A while back, our f...
Scorpions Premiere Trailer from New Documentary, 'Forever and a Day' — Exclusive Video (10/6/2015)
On October 14, Scorpions will continue to celebrate their 50th year in rock with a special one-night national screening event of their first-ever theatrical release, a new documentary called Forever and a Day. The film, which is presented by Spe...
Scorpions Perform "No One Like You" with 12-Year-Old Guitar Prodigy — Video (9/14/2015)
Scorpions made one 12-year-old guitarist very happy during the group’s performance in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday, September 12. As you can see in the video below, young Brandon Niederauer got a chance to play with the German hard rock group...
Scorpions Celebrate 50th Anniversary with New Album, 'Return to Forever' (6/23/2015)
In celebration of their 50th anniversary as a band, Scorpions have announced their 19th studio album, Return to Forever. The album is set for a September 11 release via Sony/Legacy. You can check out the track list below. The first single, “W...
Marty McFly’s 'Back to the Future' Gibson ES-345 Was Actually from the Future — Video (10/21/2015)
In the hit 1985 film Back to the Future, 1980s teen Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, fills in on guitar at the high school dance. As we all know by now, he blows the minds of the Fifties-era kids and musicians in attendance by incorporati...
John Lennon's Long-Lost Gibson J-160E Guitar Sells for Record $2.4 Million at Auction (11/9/2015)
John Lennon's long-lost acoustic Gibson J-160E, which he used while recording of the Beatles' Please Please Me and With the Beatles, sold for a record-shattering $2.41 million Saturday during a live Julien's auction. The guitar, which was lost ...
John Lennon Gibson Jumbo Auction: Yoko Ono Demands Half - For All the Right Reasons (10/14/2015)
John and Yoko—John McCaw, that is, a 69-year-old San Diego contractor who's had possession since 1969 of one of the most sought-after Beatles guitars John Lennon ever owned—will split the proceeds of what could be a million-dollar windfall when ...
Jimmy Page Shows His Double-Neck Gibson and Fender Tele with B-Bender — Video (6/16/2015)
Here’s a little something from 30 summers ago. On July 18, 1985, The Guitar Show visited Les Paul’s home in Mahwah, New Jersey, to tape Les and Jimmy Page for an episode. It was five days after Led Zeppelin’s reunion performance for Live Aid in...
How John Lennon's Long-Lost $2.4 Million Gibson J-160E Guitar Was Found (11/10/2015)
As was widely reported yesterday, John Lennon's long-lost acoustic Gibson J-160E acoustic-electric guitar, which he used while recording the Beatles' Please Please Me and With the Beatles albums, sold for a record-shattering $2.41 million Saturd...
Gibson Custom Launches Limited Edition Peter Frampton "Phenix" 1954 Les Paul Custom — Video (10/23/2015)
Gibson Custom has announced a collaboration with Peter Frampton for a limited release of the Peter Frampton “Phenix” 1954 “Triple-Pickup” Les Paul Custom. A detailed and extensive replica of Frampton’s storied guitar, the limited run celebrate...
firekid Performs "Magic Mountain" at Gibson Guitars Showroom — Exclusive Video (11/5/2015)
Today, presents the exclusive premiere of firekid's recent live acoustic performance of "Magic Mountain" at the Gibson Showroom. The track is from the Nashville-based singer/guitarist’s self-titled debut album—firekid—which wa...
Dear Guitar Hero: Todd Rundgren Talks Eric Clapton's Psychedelic Gibson SG, Changing Influences and More (6/16/2015)
He’s a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who’s had his own hits and worked with such artists as Cheap Trick, Sean Cassidy and Meat Loaf, but what Guitar World readers really want to know is… A lot of what I’ve heard of your new albu...
Cream-Era Eric Clapton Explains How His Gibson 'The Fool' SG Works — Video (9/17/2015)
Did you know "the electronic guitar is often dismissed as nothing but a jangling noise machine incapable of subtlety or delicacy"? Neither did I—until I saw this 1968 video of Eric Clapton sitting peacefully on stage prior to a Cream show as bas...
Billy Gibbons Shows Custom Gibson and John Bolin Guitars from His Collection — Video (8/14/2015)
This video is a few years old, but if you missed it, it provides a great opportunity to see some of Billy Gibbons’ guitars up-close with narration from Billy himself. In it, Gibbons and his tech Elwood take DunlopTV’s Bryan Kehoe backstage to sh...