The Petty Archives

Drummer Stan Lynch leaves Tom Petty's band
By Bill DeYoung
Ocala Star-Banner - October 22, 1994

GAINESVILLE - After 19 years in the drummer's chair, Stan Lynch has left Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers -- the platinum-selling rock band that had its origins in Gainesville -- to work as an independent writer and producer.

"It feels strange," said Lynch, 39, "but I think it'll be a real good change for everybody." His last concert appearance with Petty was Oct. 2 in San Francisco.

The split with his longtime mates was amicable, Lynch said, and had been brewing for some time.

"Over time, people have such different desires, musically, and mine are becoming more apparent to me," Lynch said. "I've moved away from them as a person as well as a musician. I've moved apart from them."

Born in the midwest, Lynch moved to Gainesville as a child, and began drumming in his teens. He often performed in the same clubs as Petty, a Gainesville native, and the two joined forces in California in 1975, where they'd come separately to pursue careers in music.

Although the band was formed in Los Angeles, the original Heartbreakers had been friends in Gainesville -- Petty, Lynch, bassist Ron Blair, organist Benmont Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell. Blair left the group in 1982 and was replaced by Howie Epstein from Milwaukee.

Propelled by Lynch's strong, inventive drumwork, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers became one of the most popular touring bands in the world. Four of their nine albums sold more than one million copies.

Lynch moved to St. Augustine three years ago, although he continued to play on Heartbreakers albums and tours, and to work recording sessions in Los Angeles with other artists.

He has co-written and produced songs with ex-Eagle Don Henley, including "Driving With Your Eyes Closed" and "The Last Worthless Evening," and produced Henley's contribution to an upcoming Leonard Cohen tribute project.

"Learn to Be Still," a song Lynch and Henley wrote this year, is on the Eagles' imminent reunion album.

Lynch is also co-composer of the Maverick's latest single, "I Should Have Been True," and co-producer of Ken Earl Houseman's "Wham Bam Man" album.

Petty and the Heartbreakers -- with a new, as-yet-unnamed drummer -- will perform on "Saturday Night Live" in November, and a cross-country tour begins in February.

Petty's office issued a brief statement Thursday confirming Lynch's departure, but Petty declined to comment.

"I really wish them well," Lynch said. "They night even do better without me, who knows?

Emotionally, I know they'll do a lot better without me because they're free. Just like I'm free."