The Petty Archives

Heartbreakers' talented keyboardist pulls no strings: He prefers guitars
By Marc D. Allan
The Indianapolis Star - September 10, 1991

Tom Petty and his band will perform at Deer Creek tonight
Band: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Opening band: Chris Whitley.
Where: Deer Creek Music Center.
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight.
Tickets: $19.50-$22.50 at the box office.

"Just let me take this accordion off," says Benmont Tench, the keyboard player for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, moments after answering the telephone in his Kansas City hotel room.

Now there's a sentence you don't hear every day.

"You have to have something to play in the room," he explains, "and if you bring portable keyboards, you either have to either buy batteries or plug it in. Plus, I don't have a clue how to play accordion, so it's fun."

On the road again: Petty tours for new album
By Tony Norman
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Friday, September 13, 1991

In the new Heartbreakers' video "Into the Great Wide Open," Tom Petty, looking like a sinister Ichabod Crane, narrates a familiar rock 'n' roll morality play about a guitar player's sudden ascent to stardom at the expense of love and friendships made along the way.

Because the rocker, whom Petty refers to in the chorus as a "rebel without a clue," loses touch with his source of inspiration, his decline is predictable and not too long in coming:

"His leather jacket had chains that would jingle/They both met movie stars, partied and mingled/Their A&R man said, 'I don't hear a single'/The future was wide open."

Petty and the Heartbreakers must've felt a twinge of recognition while filming that video, for the band's first album together since 1987's "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)."

The conventional wisdom among rock critics, before the multi-platinum success of Petty's '89 solo album "Full Moon Fever," was that Petty and the Heartbreakers had become respectable working-class rockets -- condescending shorthand for being less than Springsteen and Seger and more than Mellencamp -- but that they were unable to produce albums as good as the band's self-titled debut or '79's classic "Damn the Torpedoes."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into The Great Wide Open. MCA.
Review by Susan Leff
The Barnard Bulletin - September 16, 1991

Having established himself firmly in the mainstream last year both as a solo artist with Full Moon Fever and as one of the Traveling Wilburys (in such fine company as Bob Dylan, the late Roy Orbison, et al.), Tom has resurfaced this year with long-time bandmates, the Heartbreakers. Never one to disappoint, Tom returns as the prodigal son to weave stories of his adventures that are two parts whimsy and one part dose-of-reality: "Learning to Fly," the first single off the album, is an autobiographical account of Tom's rise to fame, while "Two Gunslingers" is a parable about world peace.

Tom Petty wins crowd
By Debra Utterback
Beaver County Times - Monday, September 16, 1991

BURGETTSTOWN -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers easily could rely on their past 15 years of classic rock 'n' roll hits to carry a concert.

But that would be necessary only if new material didn't equal the songs from the good ol' days.

Petty showed, for the most part, when he performed Sunday night at the Star Lake Amphitheatre in Burgettstown, that his latest tunes are good matches to the popular songs that first put him on the mainstream charts in the 1970s.

The veteran singer heavily featured releases from his current album, "Into the Great Wide Open," and from 1989's "Full Moon Fever" as he kept 14,590 fans on their toes for most of the evening.

Spread your leaves and break my heart
By Kim Yaged
The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 16, 1991

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | The Palace of Auburn Hills | November 12, 1991
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers dressed up the Palace Thursday night like a set for Alice in Wonderland. A budacious tree trunk from which is a winding staircase descended dominated the stage. One of the tree's limbs extended like an arm, with an appendage at the end looking remarkably like a hand with its middle finger sticking up. Behind the tree hung a movie screen onto which were projected scenic views, landscapes and visuals, while pseudo-crystal chandeliers with electric candles hung above for a finishing touch.

Tom Petty stays with the basic, his music
By Tim Azinger
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - September 16, 1991

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are what rock 'n' roll is all about -- music.

There's no controversy to overshadow the band's reputation or detract from their performance. They simply get on stage and play, as they did at Star Lake Amphitheater last night.

The Heartbreakers are celebrating 15 years together with this tour in support of their latest release "Into The Great Wide Open."

Petty and band a class act
By Lynne Margolis
Washington Observer-Reporter - September 16, 1991

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are one of the classiest acts in rock 'n' roll, which they proved once again Sunday night at Star Lake Amphitheater.

Petty, who has always tried to maintain artistic integrity while turning out a slew of tunes capturing the quintessence of rock, has just enough dramatic flair to make his shows entertaining without being schlocky, just enough ingenuity to get his messages across without preaching, just enough boyish enthusiasm to make his music fun without being silly.

Gainesville: City nixes plea for 'Petty Plaza'
Gainesville Sun - September 17, 1991

Tom Petty has had his picture on the cover of "Rolling Stone," but he won't get his name on Gainesville's downtown plaza.

City commissioners Monday declared Oct. 26 "Tom Petty Day" to commemorate the return of the well-known musician to Gainesville, his hometown. But they declined to rename the downtown plaza "Petty Plaza," as was suggested by Barry Sides, another local musician.

Petty deserves to have his name on the plaza because he and his band, The Heartbreakers, have done much as goodwill ambassadors for the city of Gainesville, Sides told the commission.

A Mellowed-out Tom Petty Strums At The Spectrum
By Tom Moon
The Philadelphia Inquirer - September 18, 1991

Give Tom Petty this much credit: He's not one of those rock stars who pretends he's still 19 years old.

Monday night at the Spectrum, before a near-capacity crowd that accepted everything he did as wonderful, Petty presided over a sonorous strum-along that had all the energy of a sewing circle.