Before he led the Heartbreakers we know and love, Tom Petty fronted Mudcrutch, another Gainesville, Florida, rock and roll act featuring guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench (who’d also go on to Heartbreaker fame). Mudcrutch never got to release a full album before they dissolved in the ’70s, and when Petty formed the Heartbreakers in their wake, Mudcrutch was shelved for nearly 30 years.
Back with their original ’70s lineup, Mudcrutch’s second lap as a reunited group—the first was in 2008—will wrap its run of shows supporting their new album, 2, at the Fonda June 25, the Observatory in Santa Ana on June 28, and Humphrey’s By the Bay in San Diego two days later.
You probably won’t get to hear “American Girl,” but here are a few reasons to catch Mudcrutch while they’re in Southern California.
Tom Petty basically is America, so consider this a way to show your patriotism.
Petty chronicles American life through the gramophone of early rock and roll and the lens of an always-clawing forever outsider. Songs of love, heartbreak, and freedom are woven in a deceptively simplistic and California-tinged sound that pays respect to the Stones, The Byrds, Dylan, and the Boss.
You’ll probably get to sing along to some quality covers.
With two original albums under their belt, Mudcrutch doesn’t need to fill time in their set with quite as many covers as it did during its last trip out in 2008, but even the Heartbreakers, with their brimming catalogue of hits, can’t resist a good live cover. During Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’s last turn at the Fonda in 2013, the band paid homage to The Byrds and Little Feat, and Mudcrutch’s current tour has seen them close out the show with Jerry Lee Lewis’ “High School Confidential.” At the tour’s Northridge kickoff benefiting the Midnight Mission, they also launched into the bar-band staple “Six Days on the Road,” which they included on the first Mudcrutch album (2008).
Skipping out on the show means you’ll miss a guitar God dream team.
The blistering guitarwork of Mike Campbell is supplemented in Mudcrutch by Herb Pedersen, who’s best known for working with and touring alongside Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, John Denver, and The Byrds’ Chris Hillman. Speaking of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn joined Mudcrutch on stage at the NYC Webster Hall show, and given Petty’s many collaborations with rock royalty over his career, the L.A. possibilities are endless.