Brian Wheat is best known as the bass guitar player for the multi-platinum rock band, Tesla. In addition, he is a gifted song writer, producer, recording studio owner, manager, and talented photographer and artist. He was born in 1963 in Sacramento, California, the youngest of six children. Wheat's passion for music started young. Even as a preschooler, he knew he wanted to be a rockstar, thanks to his older siblings' record collections. It was the 1966 Beatles album Revolver that lit the musical spark within him." It changed my life," says Wheat. As fate would have it, another childhood experience would further propel Wheat on his path to rockstardom, much by accident. At age 12 Wheat broke his leg in a tobogganing accident, and his mother bought him a guitar to keep him occupied while his leg healed. Charmed by the instrument, but overwhelmed by its 6 strings, he soon traded up. With $40 obtained by selling his beloved Schwinn bicycle, he bought a bass guitar. This simple transaction would solidify a life-long passion for bass-playing that would come to define his musical career for decades to come.
In the early 1980s, he and his friend Frank Hannon began jamming together in the garage. First going by the name Earthshaker, and then City Kidd, Tesla finally emerged with the addition of lead vocalist Jeff Keith, drummer Troy Luccketta, and guitarist Tommy Skeoch. Their unrelenting drive and unmistakable talent were quickly recognized, and by 1985 Tesla had secured a recording contract with Geffen Records. From garage band beginnings to multi-platinum success, Wheat has never lost touch with his passion for creating music, even after 32 years of touring.
It was on one break from heavy touring that Wheat discovered another deep passion: photography. About 10 years ago, Wheat and his close friend, world-famous rock photographer Ross Halfin, were on a vacation together. Halfin handed Wheat a point and shoot Leica - a simple yet iconic piece of equipment integral to the practices of a host of gifted photographers throughout history - and Brian began documenting the world around him. With encouragement from Halfin, one of the sharpest eyes in the business, Wheat began intentionally seeking out new locales and unique settings in which to photograph. For him, photography has become an essential creative outlet and a peaceful, quiet way to ground himself in between intense and exciting periods of touring with Tesla. His artistic practice has continued to evolve naturally, and his current work, known as Enhanced Photography, incorporates photography with painting. Through experimentation with adding pigments and texture to his photographs, Wheat has developed a unique style, resulting in stunning images saturated with color and feeling.