Category Archives: Frank Hannon

Frank Hannon & The Greg Golden Band Rocks the Grand Opening of The Boardwalk, Orangevale, Ca, USA

There comes a time when musicians get together that creates such excitement for their fans, that two dates get booked back to back because the first one sold out quickly. Well this is exactly what happened when Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon & band “Kaleidoscope” along with co-headliner The Greg Golden Band was booked for the grand opening on the newly remodeled venue icon The Boardwalk in Orangevale, California, USA. Two nights in a row of kick ass rock from kick ass musicians.

full article at:


FRANK HANNON Talks Guitars, Stars — and TESLA cars

Photo by Fan Forward Entertainment

Frank recently sat down with Gary Graff from to discuss TESLA’s 30th anniversary, their early influences and more..

Naming your band after a 19th and 20th Century engineer and inventor doesn’t sound very rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s worked out just fine for TESLA. The group from Sacramento, Calif., celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, as well as the 30th anniversary of its debut album, ‘Mechanical Resonance‘. Its hard rock was forged in the sound of post-Van Halen California, but TESLA’s breakthrough ironically came via 1990’s ‘Five Man Acoustical Jam‘, a platinum set that launched a hit cover of the Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs.” TESLA broke up for a few years during the late ‘90s, but the group has been going strong again since 2000, with another new album, produced by Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, currently in the works. Guitarist and co-founder Frank Hannon shared his views on all this while at home, just before heading out on a new leg of the Mechanical Resonance 30th anniversary tour…

FGPO: TESLA has reached 30, and beyond. Pretty surreal. Was this a band that was built to last like that?

Hannon: Well, absolutely it was. But it wasn’t our idea, really. We were so young. But we had some great mentors. When I was 15, 16 years old, we were playing the clubs and writing our own songs and trying to get established, but in order to get a gig you had to play some pretty sappy music, so we were playing the Top 40 of the day. And Ronnie Montrose discovered us and he saw our talent and said: “You guys are gonna go far, but you need to get away from playing these cover tunes and write songs with grit, from your heart, that are real.” So he gave us that good advice.

FGPO: That’s a real artist’s point of view though. Did you have trouble getting that kind of buy-in from the industry?

Hannon: Well, flash forward a few years later and we got discovered by Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch, who were managing AC/DC and Def Leppard and Metallica with their company [Q Prime]. We were getting ready to record our first album and sorting through all our songs and writing more songs when Cliff and Peter said: “Guys, remain true to yourself and write songs that are quality. Make an album from start to finish, don’t just write one good song and a bunch of shitty, sappy songs.” They said:

“IF you want to have a career and you want to be around in 40 years, make sure you write songs that are from your heart.”

We were gonna do that anyway, but it really helped to have them feel that way and be in our corner.

FGPO: You talk about Montrose and the rest of the stable at Q Prime, and you grew up in some pretty heady guitar company. What kind of impact did that make on you?

Hannon: Well, gosh, it’s an honor to share the stage with Def Leppard and Scorpions and the people that we’ve done things with. When I was younger, it inspired me to be as competitive and play as good as I can. But now that I’m older, I realize, again, it’s about the songs and being able to write a song and keep it simple.

Read the complete interview here:

Frank Talks to Meltdown on WRIF in Detroit

Frank Hannon and TESLA are starting their 2017 tour this week and it touches down in Detroit at the Fillmore on February 21st. They are working on a new cd produced by someone they’ll be touring with this summer. How wild was the late 80’s tours? He talks about that, his favorite TESLA songs and lots more.

Hop over to and Listen Now!

The Electric Guitar Legacy, Part 2 “THE AMPLIFIER!”

In my last article “THE ELECTRIC GUITAR LEGACY, Part 1” I discussed the endless possibilities of the electric guitar as a musical instrument that can showcase each individual artist’s unique playing style, and how the simplicity of its design has not changed much since its conception in the 1950s. I have now realized that I cannot discuss the electric guitar’s sonic legacy without exposing the utmost importance of its counterpart…the electric guitar AMPLIFIER! It is the amplifier that magnifies the sound and tones produced by the electric guitar’s player. Without its amplifier, the electric guitar would be far less useful and audible than an ordinary acoustic guitar.

Also in the last article, I exlained that the hum-bucker pickup and Tune-O-Matic bridge designs on the Gibson Les Paul model guitars invented way back in 1957 have remained the same unsurpassed inventions that are the industry standard recorded in today’s popular music.

3949cc46-c405-4103-a0d2-8ea98e36a07dIn the same way, the use of a good old fashioned tube designed amplifier also remains the standard practice for recording electric guitars in modern popular music. Over the years, there have been many variations of the electric guitar amplifier, but the basic design invented back in the 1950s era has not been surpassed or improved. This invention came to be known as the “tube” amplifier circuit. Many manufacturers are now trying to digitally model the sounds generated by this old technology, but nothing can truly produce the feeling and expression of a “real” tube amplifier for guitar.

“Carlos Santana’s unique sustain and Eddie Van Halen’s signature tapping techniques were fueled and encouraged by the harmonic overtones of their over-driven tube amplifiers.”
– Frank Hannon

So what is it about the good old 1950s era “tube” amp design that makes it remain the essential counterpart to the electric guitar?

I believe that it is the sound of the harmonic distortion that comes from the overloading of the tube amp circuits, and the flexibility to control this distortion sound with the knobs on the amplifier’s face. Back in the day, pioneering guitarists like Chuck Berry, Link Wray, and B.B. King discovered that by turning all the knobs up full blast on their tube amplifiers, the guitar’s sound got “fuzzy,” and it created all sorts of bizarre overtones and harmonic sounds from their electric guitars. This discovery sparked a new guitar sound, and rock & roll was born.


When the electric guitar is plugged into the amplifier and played, the pickups in the electric guitar produce a small amount of electricity as the strings vibrate. Then that small amount of electricity is increased dramatically inside the amplifier by the use of transformers and several tube circuit stages.

In the first tube stage, there is a smaller preamp tube that pushes the electricity into the second stage, the much larger power amp tubes. When the electricity is pushed by the preamp tube by turning up the knob, it causes the power amp tubes to become overloaded, thus working much harder to drive the speakers. When the tubes work hard together like this, it causes a distortion or saturation effect in the electric signal produced by the guitar, which creates a pleasing sound to the human ear.

Why is it more pleasing to the ears?

Because it is truly an imperfect generation of the guitar’s sound! There is a creative beauty in this imperfection, and it is also affectionately known as “fuzz” or “crunch.” (Note: Before they discovered the tube amp’s ability to distort, some guitarists would slice rips in their speakers cones to create some fuzzy effects.) Electric guitarists could then develop and tailor their playing techniques, using the power of the amplifier and the effects of its tube circuit’s distortion to further create his or her own unique sound. It is truly the use of tubes in the amplifier’s design that provides this flexibility for musical expression. There’s no doubt in my mind that both Carlos Santana’s unique sustain and Eddie Van Halen’s signature tapping techniques were fueled and encouraged by the harmonic overtones of their overdriven tube amplifiers!

Leo-FenderHistorically, it was the original tube amplifiers built by Leo Fender in the early 1950s era that started the wave of electric guitar sounds heard ever since. All the iconic guitar amp companies like Marshall, Vox, Hiwatt, as well as the successful new generation of manufacturers like Mesa Boogie, Blackstar, Bogner…these amps originate from the basic electric circuits Leo Fender patented many years ago that use tubes to achieve the most pleasing tones and loudest volumes. In the early 1960s, innovators like Britain’s Dan Reeves (Hiwatt), and Jim Marshall (Marshall) started dissecting the old 1950s American-made Fender guitar amps and modifying them to go louder. They eventually started putting more knobs on the amplifiers to control the voltages feeding both the Pre and Power tube stages, resulting in “high gain” circuits that began pushing the limits of distortion sounds. Jim Marshall also increased the amount of speakers used in the old amp designs by building stacks of cabinets loaded with four 12-inch speakers.

jimihendrix-live-ampsPopular guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton would take their ideas to Jim Marshall with dreams of more volume and harmonic distortion, never leaving his shop unsatisfied as he improved the designs by creating more volume and tube distortion than ever heard before! This collaboration created the Marshall Amp “stacks” that still adorn the world’s concert stages. In today’s modern music, both the vintage American Fender amplifiers and the British Marshall amplifiers remain the iconic benchmarks for all electric guitar amps built today.

It’s interesting that throughout the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, many amplifier-makers tried to use “solid state” and “digital” circuits to boost the sound of electric guitars, but the designs generally have all fallen by the wayside because both guitar players and music producers alike noticed that solid state guitar amps just didn’t feel or sound as good in their music as the older tube amps. From the twang of Brad Paisley to the chunk of Avenged Sevenfold, I guarantee you that the electric guitar sounds you hear are being created with a tube designed amplifier.

Stay tuned for my next article!

– Frank Hannon / Co-founder and guitarist for the multi-platinum band TESLA



With TESLA, we are now using Blackstar amplifiers, from the great amplifier company started by engineers who worked at Marshall. We feel that the Blackstar “Series One 100” watt tube amplifier is one of the best tube amps made today.

Follow the link below to find your local Blackstar Dealer

For great tube amp service and repair. TubeSonic Amps also build great tube style guitar amplifiers.

Shane Manning, President
3230 Hogarth Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827
Phone:(916)362-8823 (TUBE)

The Electric Guitar Legacy, Part 1

For my first feature, I’ve decided to write a piece about a subject I am obviously very passionate about…the ELECTRIC GUITAR and its legacy as the essential musical instrument in popular music. What is it about the electric guitar that has made it the dominate musical sound of popular culture over the last century? Heck, even the video gamer generation has taken its legacy to another level. If you think about it and break the electric guitar’s design down to its simplest ingredients, we are talking about some wires and wood assembled together to make an object that hasn’t changed much in design since its birth in the late 1950s. However, the electric guitar has proven to be the most versatile and expressive musical instrument ever made.

For me, the most fascinating aspect of the electric guitar is the unlimited musical expression it offers me as an artist, and the sound it produces relies purely on how I decide to approach it at any given time. This can depend on how loud I turn up the amplifier, how aggressively I touch the strings, or simply what mood I’m in! The possibilities of sounds are endless, and the greatest electric guitar players are the ones who figured out how to create their own signature style that the listener can instantly recognize as their own sound by their touch and technique.

dickey-bets-jimmy-pageFor instance, the 1957 Gibson “Les Paul” electric guitar put in the hands of original Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts will sound completely unique and recognizably different from the sound of Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin playing his Les Paul, even though they are the exact same model electric guitar.

The Gibson “Les Paul” and “SG” models remain the same iconic electric guitars that were designed decades ago. Despite being the same simplistic instruments as they were then, as well as the Fender “Stratocaster” and “Telecaster” models, these electric guitar designs are still used on current modern recordings by artists you hear today almost 60 years after their invention. Even though the instruments have the same design specs as their original prototypes, they produce sounds that are ever changing, depending totally on the new players’ hands and the changing trends in popular music styles.


humbuckerIt’s amazing how the 1950s era ultimately proved to be an innovative period for the electric guitar when Gibson produced the “humbucker” pickup, the “tune-a-matic bridge,” and the “stop bar tailpiece.” Meanwhile, Fender was inventing the Tremolo Bar and twangy-sounding single coil pickups. These basic developments have stood the test of time, and both guitar manufactures still utilize these basic solid body designs.

Many changes have been attempted in the electric guitar’s design over the years, but none have proven superior to the inventions of the 1950s. A few years later in the 1960s era, wah wah pedals, fuzz boxes, and high-powered amplifiers were being developed and introduced to guitar players. However, it was still the players’ unique touch that separated the sounds of Jimi Hendrix from Eric Clapton, despite the use of the same gear by both guitarists.



Think about it: it was barely 10 years after the first electric guitar was conceived that Jimi Hendrix blew everyone’s mind at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 with those other worldly sound effects coming from his guitar! It was Jimi’s unique personality and style that set him apart from all the other six-string soldiers. The variety of sounds produced by the electric guitar from every decade since it was conceived is mind-boggling as the styles changed from surf music to heavy metal.

When I discovered the electric guitar as a 10-year-old kid in 1976, it was at a time when the instrument was being pushed to the limit with innovative sounds like Peter Frampton’s use of the talk box gadget and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s unsurpassed pull off guitar solos on “Free Bird.” In my opinion, this era was an awesome time for the electric guitar. Guitarists were focused more on songs than flash, and every guitarist was unique to their own sound that came from their own styles or backgrounds. For example, Carlos Santana sounded nothing like Joe Perry, who sounded nothing like Ted Nugent, who sounded nothing like Mick Jones, yet they all played the same Les Paul model guitars and tube amplifiers. The late Ronnie Montrose, a true Bay Area electric guitar legend, told me that he felt the electric guitar was literally a “portable orchestra” with its versatility and potential to allow each person the freedom to play it in his own way. He was right. That’s the difference between the guitar and a grand piano. Within a mere six strings and a neck with 22 frets, any person can spend time learning, practicing, and creating any desired sound, ranging from sonic explosions to orchestrated music arrangements. Within the midrange musical notes of low E to high E, there lie textures, harmonics, distortion, melodies, and an endless amount of sounds yet to be discovered.

Every decade has produced new players and musical genres with the electric guitar being the lead voice of the music. The 1980s gave us the flashy pyrotechnic skills of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads; the 1990’s gave us the grunge tones of Kurt Cobain and Jerry Cantrell. The turn of the new century brought about young players like Derek Trucks, Joe Bonamossa, and John Mayer, who prefer a more traditional influence of the blues; and now the current times showcase the fuzzy tones of Jack White and progressive speed metal players. Whether the music is derived from the sounds of blues, jazz, classical or the more modern sounds of metal, angst and punk rock, the electric guitar still remains the lead voice of popular music, and it will remain for centuries to come.

next article: “The Electric Guitar Legacy, Part 2 “THE AMPLIFIER!

Fans Interview “Heavy Metal Hippie” Frank Hannon

We recently opened up the Frank Hannon Band facebook feed to you the fans to ask any question you want. What is Frank’s favorite guitar? Who is his biggest influence? How does he approach songwriting?
Check out some of the great questions and answers!

Nehmiah Smith: I already asked a question but man I have to ask who is your favorite guitar player?
Frank: Carlos Santana

Kameron Wolff: Hey frank are you ever going to get back with Mike Araiza and Jeffery Sandoval? I hope so! And i really liked your new album! \m/
Frank: Thanks Kam, I have no plans yet to work with them again, however I have hired Jeff Sandoval to sing on some studio productions on Greg Golden’s album.

Michael Thorpe: Do you play stock Gibson pick ups?
Frank: Yes, usually if it sounds great I leave it stock, but if it squeals I take the chrome covers off.

Nehmiah Smith: Frank who is your favorite band? and who is your favorite newer band? Love the new album by the way!
Frank: My favorite newer bands are: Muse, God Smack , 5 finger and 311

Brian McDonough: Is anyone in the FHB from Moondog Mane?
Frank: No just me..

Jessica Glover: When are you coming near Boise?
Frank: Soon I hope!

“I would LOVE to jam with him, there’s a lot of guys I could easily keep up with…”
– Frank Hannon

Ernie Schiavone: Frank what are your favorite strings?
Frank: D’addario 10-46 nickel

Todd King: Looking forward to MORC and your band Frank getting your music to a large audience and will you play anything off Gypsy Highway?
Frank: Oh ya man! Prob Sweet Southern Sound, Gypsy Highway, Peace of Mind

Lisa Redden: Frank, dig “World Peace” It’s awesome!! I know TESLA did a covers cd, would you do a covers cd with your band?
Frank: Yes we do covers, Milky Way by the church, love is alive by Gary wright but they will not be on CD only the website.

Ricardo Esparza: Frank, what is your current amp and pedal set-up? What strings and gauge do you use?
Frank: With TESLA we use the new black star amps but in my shows I use combo amps, fender twins or Vox ac30 or Marshall jcm900 I use daddario 10-46 strings and MXR pedals.

Hap Oswald: Frank Hannon please tell me that you and RONNIE MONTROSE put down some tracks together somewhere for someday?
Frank: Ronnie made demos for us when I was 16 years old, one had Lil’ Suzie on it!!

Michele Garcia-simeroth: Why do you change your band members every album? Just a question….
Frank: It seems like musicians haven’t been able to stick with it, it’s tough schedule especially when I end up taking off again with TESLA, I’ve tried to help local musicians get recognized but they end up wanting more for themselves, I am very happy with Aaron Leigh and Kelly Smith because so far they seem very solid and loyal to me.

Rob Weaver: Frank, if you could jam with anyone in the world person or band who would that be and why? For me it’s UFO.
Frank: Probably Iron Maiden because I love their galloping rhythms and high energy vocals!

Ernest Skinner: I’ve been trying to get a copy of the song “The Heroes” that was done a few years do I get it?
Frank: Ah yes! Heroes.. I need to re record that song! Can’t find the original.. Has a cool groove rhythm riff.

Rockin Amie When are you coming back to the Mystic Theater? It’s a great venue and a hop, skip and a jump from Sacramento.
Frank: Soon I hope!!!

Michael Zuercher: When you write leads do you think it is important to stay away from your tendencies to promote growth or do you think that your tendencies define you as a guitar player?
Frank: It depends entirely on the song… I will listen to the chords where the solos gonna go over and over before I play, and I will hear a part in my head first and sometime whistle or sing a part without playing the guitar in order to create something worthwhile without noodling!

Bill Conley: With your guitar playing would you ever consider playing with Robert Randolph and the family band in a song or 2.
Frank: I would LOVE to jam with him, there’s a lot of guys I could easily keep up with jamming but because I’m from an 80s band.. They don’t know my abilities as a player… for instance Eric Clapton or John Mayer , Warren Haynes any guys like that I would love to jam with if they’d give me a chance!!

Rudy Carr: Any Texas dates?
Frank: Yes Austin Jam 29

Bryan Shannon: Backup vocals on World Peace are awesome! Guess that’s not a question, but had to be said.
Frank: Thanks! Robbie Furiousi sang

Lisa Halkias Pesch: Will we see any east coast shows in the near future?
Frank: TESLA is off in 2016 I will be hitting a lot more east coast then.

Matt Gallagher: Hey Frank, what is it about the SG / EDS that drew you to them.
Frank: The SG guitar is all mahogany as is a V or Explorer … No maple top.. So the wood vibrates more plus I love the feel of the maestro tremolo bar.

Craig Steven Lewis: Dean Markley Blue Steel or GHS Boomers?
Frank: Daddario XL 110

Kevin Hernandez: Frank, your tone on the new album is amazing. What echo effects do you use?
Frank: A BOSS ME 80 pedal

Cindy Silva: Aaron Leigh & Kelly Smith, you guys are pretty new to the Frank Hannon Band. 1st I’d like to say, that I hope you guys will be around for a while. I love you guys! (How did you hook up with Aaron & Kelly?)
Frank: I met Aaron at Strikes Bowling alley where I played NYE a few years ago. After Joel Kruger left I was looking for bass player and Aaron approached me.

Celeste Hemminger: Frank, every guitarist has a favorite axe. What is yours?
Frank: Gibson SG with a maestro whammy bar.

Kevin Forsythe: Do your band mates in TESLA ever think about doing some of your songs during TESLA’s show?
Frank: No, but I have sang “Heavy Metal Hippie” and “Gypsy Highway” in my acoustic solo at a TESLA show before.

Ivan Sznajdleder: How Hard is to live from the music in these times? I mean in the 80’s it seems to have a good economic position but these times seems to be a little harder isn’t it?
Frank: It’s a lot more work.

Jason Jorgenson: Do you still design your own amps?
Frank: No, I stopped trying to help guys design amps cause they all kept breaking so now I stick w Marshall’s fenders Vox black stars or any amp that has it’s own voice.

Bryan Kitts How are you tuned on the intro of “So Divine”?
Frank: 12 string guitar, tuned down a half step the the top strings are dropped down to create drop tune.

Chris Tufts: Take a picture of your pedal board or tell us what is on it currently
How does not differ from what you use in TESLA?

Frank: I use the same type of pedals for both bands.. OCD overdrive, MXR phase 90 , boss tuner, boss chorus, MXR flanger DLS rotosim uni vibe.

Joaquim Valls: Any possibility to see your band in Spain?
Frank: Yes, I hope to come to Spain 2016

Alex Vigil: Frank was AC/DC and Angus Young an influence on your playing style?
Frank: Yes he is kinda… Angus bluesy rock n roll riffs, but Carlos Santana and Frank Marino were more of SG Influence on me.

Thanks again everyone!

VIDEO RELEASE: “Never Slowin’ Down”


Born and raised in Northern California during the 1960’s and 70’s some of my biggest musical influences came from what was known back then as the “San Francisco Sound”. Great artists like Credence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, It’s a Beautiful Day and the Grateful Dead all had a sound that mix psychedelic rock-n-roll with county music and rootsy folk influences. My new single “Never Slowin’ Down” reminds me of those San Francisco artists that influenced me.

When I was invited to join BAM Magazine at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair this year, I was honored to join thousands of people on the street that started it all back in the 60’s. Celebrating Paul Kantner and the wonderful music of Jefferson Starship was a a blast, but not as rewarding as witnessing the peaceful crowd enjoying the day filled with arts and crafts lining the streets. Musicians, Hippies and tourists alike congregated with acceptance of each other. Some were naked, some were clothed in bright colors of tye dye cotton, it didn’t matter because this was a celebration of the sound and style of an era and place that will forever be in history as the birthplace of peace and love.

Long live San Francisco, BAM Magazine and the culture of freedom in our country. The music of Jefferson Starship was timeless as the band played the songs that spanned their long career. Grace Slick’s brother Darby joined them onstage with his unique double neck guitar and they climaxed with the notion we all know; “we all need Somebody to Love!”

~ Frank Hannon