TESLA‘s Brian Wheat has once again spoken about the departure of original guitarist Tommy Skeoch. The bassist made his comments while talking to Eonmusic about his book “Son Of A Milkman: My Crazy Life With Tesla”, which was released in December.
Skeoch, who was a founding member of the Sacramento five-piece, played on the band’s defining albums, including 1986 debut “Mechanical Resonance” and 1990’s “Five Man Acoustical Jam”, exited the group for the final time in 2006.
Speaking about the departure, Wheat said: “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 said. “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.”
Read the entire interview at Eonmusic.