The Petty Archives

Heartbreakers planning 1990 tour
By Gary Graff
Beaver County Times - February 21, 1990

The Heartbreakers thought their touring days were over for a while. They'd been on the road much of 1989 and were set to record a new album. So it came as a shock when leader Tom Petty announced a short tour for 1990.

"We thought we were done," says guitarist Mike Campbell. "It was a real surprise that Tom decided to go back out. Usually he's the first one who wants to go home."

Circumstance was to blame. Record producer Jeff Lynne, the former Electric Light Orchestra leader who worked with Petty in the Traveling Wilburys and on Petty's solo album, "Full Moon Fever," was busy finishing his own album. That meant he couldn't start work with the Heartbreakers on their first album as a group since 1987.

So Petty decided to hit the halls again. "I'm somewhat of a workaholic lately, constantly doing stuff," he says. "Maybe it's just more confidence."

And there's reason for that. Since its release last spring, "Full Moon Fever" has been one of the most successful albums of Petty's 15-year recording career. It's sold more than two million copies and still holds a spot in the Billboard Top 10. Singles like "I Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'," "Running Down a Dream" and the latest, "Love Is a Long Road," have been radio regulars, helping to re-established Petty's place in the rock 'n' will pantheon after some slow time in the mid-'80s.

The year was capped by three Grammy nominations -- two for "Full Moon Fever" and one for the Traveling Wilburys' "Volume One." "We're real surprised about that," says Campbell, 40, who co-produced "Full Moon Fever." "The whole year's been a surprise, but the Grammy nomination is something we never dreamed about. I can't imagine winning one, though I guess there's always a chance."

If it happens, the Heartbreakers will likely place any trophy with other mementos of past achievements, The groups' focus, according to Petty and Campbell, is on the future -- and spending much of it working together.

Through the '80s, the Heartbreakers' cohesiveness was stretched by outside influences and the members' own ambitions. "From day one," Campbell admits, "It's always been a concern if this band is going to stay together or not." Things were particularly shaky during 1984, when the "Southern Accents" album was recorded.

The group weathered that situation -- "I can actually think of other times we were closet to breaking up," Campbell says -- but Petty's decision to make "Full Moon Fever" solo ruffled a few feathers.

"I could have done this album with the band," Petty, 36, says. "It was circumstances that made it a solo album. I just kinda wound up in the middle of it, really. I had written some new songs in the studio, just to try them out. They sounded so good that I said 'I think I'll keep on doing this.' Once things were under way, I didn't want to stop."