For My Sunday Song #85, it is time to go with a western feel with “Modern Day Cowboy” by Tesla. The song was the band’s second single on their debut album ‘Mechanical Resonance’ released in December of 1986. The single was released in 1987 and peaked at only #35 on the US Mainstream Rock chart which surprises me that this song and these guys didn’t blow up more than they did.
The song became an instant favorite of mine the second I heard it with that monster opening guitar riffs with Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch. Then the song changed up the guitars to acoustic and then back and forth with the electric guitars. The two were simply scary good. The whole cowboy theme song was probably take due to the success of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.
“Modern Day Cowboy” takes you through some of the bad boy cowboys through time starting with Billy the Kidd; then going to the Original Gangsters Al Capone and Bad Boy Jones; and finally moving to present day with our leaders of U.S.A. & the U.S.S.R. and their six guns or in this case nuclear weapons.
With most other bands of the time singing about partying, rock & roll and girls, Tesla always took a more intelligent (almost cerebral) approach with their lyrics. Hell, even the band is named after Nikola Tesla and their album names are in reference to Nikola’s inventions or life’s work. For me, this set them apart from the other bands and let me know you in for a little more substance than other bands.
So, give the song a listen if you haven’t heard it before or heard it in awhile and hopefully you find the greatness that I find. Thanks and have a great Sunday!!
“Modern Day Cowboy”
Stormy night under jet black skies, billy pulls into town
Thunder rolled and the lightning bolts come crashin’ to the ground
Cold as ice, hard as stone, as he walks into the room
With another man who was feeling the same way, all hell’s breakin’ loose[Chorus:]
Bang bang, shoot ’em up, bang bang, blow you away
It’s a showdown in the no man’s land, for the cowboy of the modern day
Come sundown, don’t be hangin’ round, ’cause the cowboy’ll blow you away
Al Capone and the Bad Boy Jones, on the wrong side of the law
Johnny D and his company, always first to the draw,
Gangster lean, feelin’ so mean, I try to take more than their share
‘Cause all they saw was ruling it all, the scent of blood was in the air
So here we are and we’ve come this far, but it’s only getting worse
Foreign lands with their terrorist demands, only cause the good to hurt
The U.S.A., the U.S.S.R., with their six-guns to the side
I see the message written on the wall, too much anger deep inside
It’s a showdown!
Written by Jeff Keith, Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch