Spotlight: ArcAttack's Tesla Coil Music - They Are Iron Man!

No song could be better suited for such a display of insanity than Ozzy's Iron Man.  If you ever wanted to watch a guy play the guitar while simultaneously being electrocuted by huge arcs of flashing lightning beams, then you're in the right place.

arcattack tesla coil

ArcAttack is a group of eight madmen and one robot pushing the boundaries of music and science.  You've got your founder and frontman Joe who dons the retro-futuristic chainmail / Faraday cage, John the beat maker and graphic designer, and more.  They have a whole crew doing a ton of different tasks, each of which is equally important for this show to hit the road and be a success without any serious accidents.

Composers, holographers, roboticists, electricians, engineers, photographers... you name it and one of them has mastered it.

We previously talked about Nikolai Tesla and the use of his inventions in music.  But these guys have taken up about a million notches in terms of playing "weird instruments".  Programming the Mario Bros. theme song to be played is one thing.  Jumping out on stage with a MIDI guitar and risking vaporizing yourself is the next level.  You have to have a lot of trust in your partners to be the one standing in the midst of the light show, and be relaxed enough to actually play the precise movements required for guitar.

Tesla Coil Music

What people were doing in the past was programming songs and mapping the sounds so that the Tesla Coils would play the specific frequencies of the song... and then sitting back with distance as their safeguard.  Joe & Team recognized that the distance had to be eliminated.  It was okay for the audience to stand back, but the person generating the music had to stand right in the mix, like some mad scientist from an H.P. Lovecraft story.

arcattack music group

ArcAttack said screw it and grabbed a MIDI guitar to play the melodies out of the coils and then be the ground for the huge electrical arcs.  Take extra note of the robot in the back left of the stage jamming out the drums.  Check out the video below:

The nuttiest part is when you realize that's a robot playing the drums on the left!  Of course he's programmed to hit the drums in a certain pattern, but I'm wondering if it's only for visuals or if he's generating the drum sounds themselves as well.

This is by far the most Metal thing I've ever seen, even more than biting the head off of a bat.  I'm sure Ozzy is beating himself up for not thinking of it.  I wonder if those bolts end up doing damage to your guitar, or if being that close and standing in the magnetic fields generated causes any long term damage to your body or mind.  I hope not.  I definitely wouldn't be using my best metal guitar for that.  It'd be pretty sweet if the body and head stock have burn marks on them from the arcs.

If you get a chance to catch ArcAttack on tour, do it!  You'll survive, I promise.