Mike Campbell ‘Not Ready Emotionally’ for Heartbreakers Reunion
Three years after Tom Petty's death, Mike Campbell isn't quite ready to revive the Heartbreakers.
“I would consider it at some point in the future, only because I had a couple conversations with Tom where he put forth the idea of a Wildflowers theater tour,” the guitarist told Rolling Stone. “I’m not ready emotionally to have the Heartbreakers in a room and go ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ and look around and Tom’s not there. I’m sorry. I need to grieve a little more to get to that point in time, but I’m not against the idea. I do miss the guys, but Tom left a huge hole in the band."
While fans would have undoubtedly flocked to a Wildflowers tour, they were still granted some unheard material from that distinctive era of Petty's career. Last month saw the release of the Wildflowers & All the Rest box set, which featured numerous home recordings and previously unreleased tracks.
In the meantime, Campbell has shifted gears. He formed his own band, the Dirty Knobs, in 2001 as a background project to keep his musical chops up to speed in between Heartbreaker tours.
“It was a good workshop for me to try out new songs in front of a crowd and see which ones stuck and which ones they didn’t like,” he said. “It was also just also a chance to have some fun without playing hits and the old Heartbreakers catalog, even though I love those songs. But it was nice to get a break from that and play the way I used to play when I started out, playing just for the fun of it.”
It wasn't until now that Campbell could turn a little more attention to the group. Their debut album, which includes fellow Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on piano, arrives tomorrow.
And while the collaboration with Tench was special, Campbell still doesn't see a full-blown reunion happening anytime soon.
“It would have to be almost a voice from beyond, almost like, ‘Guys, do this for me,'” he said. “If I got that message, I would present it to the other guys. But it hasn’t been that long. We’re still grieving very deeply. It’s a big loss.”
For now, Campbell is content to follow a new path in life-- one that includes the Heartbreaker spirit in his new music. "People will never forget him,” Campbell told The Guardian. “And I want to carry that torch in my music. I still have more dreams to dream.”