The Petty Archives

Familiar Hooks Sound Fresh
By Rick Reger
Chicago Tribune - July 30, 1999

Although TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS' career extends back into the mid-'70s, Petty came into his own artistically and commercially during the '80s, and he's remained a popular and critical favorite ever since. Predictably, Petty's most recent record, "Echo," doesn't tinker much with the fusion of Dylan, the Byrds and classic hard rock that's become his trademark, but it's also no mere rehash of past glories. While the LP doesn't rank with Petty's more inspired efforts, his knack for in-the-tradition hooks that sound both familiar and surprisingly fresh remains finely honed. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform Saturday at the New World Music Theatre, I-80 and Harlem Avenue, Tinley Park. 708-614-1616.

The Bloom Is Still On Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
By Greg Kot
Chicago Tribune - August 2, 1999

Today's star becomes tomorrow's Huey Lewis and the News, and middle age eventually wilts all of our rock 'n' roll heroes. To which Tom Petty might say, "You don't know how it feels to be me."

In fact, Petty sang that exact line Saturday at the New World Music Theatre. He was in typically defiant form, his rail-thin frame leaning at a 45-degree angle to the microphone, blond hair falling across his face, a finger jutting at some unseen accuser, his left foot pounding the stage. It's a fashion-resistant stance that has served him for 23 years, and it's as resilient as the characters in his songs.

Heartbreakers stick to what they like: rousing classic rock
By Bill Ellis
The Commercial Appeal - August 6, 1999

On Tom Petty's newest album, "Echo," songs like Swingin' and Rhino Skin are tenacious anthems of the human spirit, the kind of composition at which Petty  happens to excel. His band for more than two decades, the Heartbreakers, is living  proof.

Crafted from a classic rock mold, the Heartbreakers - guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench and bassist Howie Epstein (longtime drummer Stan Lynch left in the mid-'90s) - have stood the test of time, guiding as much as backing their Gainesville, Fla., leader with a sense of rock and roll purpose that never succumbed to disco, grunge or any other trend you care to name since the group's inception (with first bassist Ron Blair) in 1975.

"We all love this band," says Campbell, 49, by phone after a Minneapolis sound check. "We do other things but we always come back to the group. It always feels like, yeah, this is the best thing going on. Most bands don't last more than two years, and after this long it becomes subliminal . . . it's instinct at this point."

Echoes of the Past, Present
By Mike Boehm
The Los Angeles Times - August 16, 1999

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers strike a balance between old glories and fresh inspiration.
In middle age, "damn the torpedoes" typically turns to "darn the torpedoes." Certain compromises become necessary--especially if the midlifer is a touring superstar baby boom rocker trying to balance the hot fires of fresh creativity with the nostalgic glow that a good part of his audience expects from a concert.

Playing Friday in the first show of a two-night stand at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers made some compromises that were livable, if not entirely thrilling.

"Echo," released last spring, is the most personal, penetrating and perhaps finest album of Petty's career. That's something to celebrate in a band that debuted in 1976 and stands as the last of rock's arena-level old guard, a breed we expect to recycle old glories, not thrive with fresh inspiration.

No Petty Consolation
By Sam McDonald
Hampton Roads Daily Press - August 20, 1999

Springsteen Not Coming, But Heartbreakers Are
One of our era's great rock songwriters has reunited with his beloved band and is back on the road touring the nation. And he's coming to Virginia Beach Amphitheater Oct. 2. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

OK. We're talking Tom Petty, not Bruce Springsteen.

But since Springsteen's closest scheduled tour stop is Washington, D.C., you could think of Petty as our consolation prize. And as such, he's nothing to sneeze at.

Petty may not be worshiped with the same intensity as The Boss. But Petty is one of the most successful, durable and credible rockers of the past two decades. And as a live act, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers positively sizzle.

Heart to heart with a 'Breaker: Benmont Tench shares his love for the music
By Marty Hughley
The Oregonian - Friday, August 27, 1999

America is dazzled by rock stars, but the real magic comes from rock bands.

Sure, there's a lot of crossover between the two camps -- many rock stars are members of bands or leaders of them, and most of the rest hire bands for tours and sessions. But the folks who get on the magazine covers, take the podium at the MTV Awards and show up in the gossip columns almost always are the singers. As bassist Bill Wyman once put it, the United States was the only place in the world where his band routinely was billed as "Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones."

Tom Petty is a rock star. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a rock band. And a great deal of the particular magic that will materialize in the Rose Garden arena Wednesday night comes from a special balance between star and band.

Everybody is a star: In Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, each band member gets a chance to shine
By Chris Macias
The Sacramento Bee - August 29, 1999

Tom Petty is a rock star, his nasal voice synonymous with hit records and memorable music videos. But Petty didn't make it into the limelight alone. The Heartbreakers, which features guitarist Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench on a variety of keyboards, and bassist Howie Epstein, is at the core of Petty's Americana-rock sound.

The group, which is rounded out on tour by longtime associates Scott Thurston on guitar and drummer Steve Ferrone (the replacement for original Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch), is having a whirlwind year. The band is touring for the first time in four years, with a show that comes to Arco Arena Monday night, and receiving heapings of accolades for its latest album, "Echo."

The band's signature songs ("American Girl," "Free Falling") harken to the sounds of 1960s rock groups such as the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, and could fill an afternoon play list on a classic-rock radio station. Tunes from the group's latest album, such as the up-tempo "Free Girl Now" and the melancholy rocker "Swingin'," may become a new set of staples.

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Petty to rock The Gorge
Ellensburg Daily Record - September 3, 1999

GEORGE - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will round out the summer concert season at The Gorge Amphitheater during performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Showcasing his latest release Echo, Petty is set to take the stage at 7 p.m. each night.

Echo opens up a new chapter for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, whose music spans three decades.

The release features 15 tracks, including several current hits like "Free Girl Now" and "Room at the Top."

Accompanying Petty are the Heartbreakers -- lead guitarist Mike Campbell, pianist Benmont Tench and bassist Howie Epstein. Lucinda Williams is also expected to perform each day.

While Petty takes the stage for two days of rock 'n' roll, the Steve Miller Band kicks off the weekend of musical entertainment tonight. Miller is expected to stage the stage at 7 p.m.

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Music: 'Echo' from the Past
By Steve Morse
The Spokesman-Review - Friday, September 3, 1999

CONCERT PREVIEW: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
With: The Blind Boys of Alabama
When: Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.
Location: The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash.
Tickets: Tickets are $32.25 and $52.25, available through Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (509) 735-0500.

In latest album, Tom Petty returns to bolder rock sound.
First, ticket prices. They're still skyrocketing for big-name rock acts. The Rolling Stones shattered all illusions with the $300 and $650 ticket peaks for their spring tour. And this summer's Bob Dylan/Paul Simon bill and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have $100-plus prices -- mere chicken feed next to the Stones, but still deflating to fans who believe in rock as a populist, Everyman genre.

How refreshing, then, to hear Tom Petty cling to virtual working-class hero status by keeping his tickets about $50 for a summer tour with his band, the Heartbreakers.

"I don't want to wind up just playing to the elite," says Petty. "I see some people that don't mind that, but I don't think my fans would appreciate it too much.