Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell

Infobox musical artist
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Instrument = Guitar, Harmonica, Bass, Piano, Accordion, Mandolin
Name = Mike Campbell

Born = birthdate and age|1950|2|1
origin = Odessa, Texas
Genre = Rock
Associated_acts = Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Blue Stingrays, The Dirty Knobs, Mudcrutch
Years_active = 1974-Present
Notable_instruments = Duesenberg DMC Mike Campbell Model
Rickenbacker 625/12
Rickenbacker 360/12
Fender Broadcaster

Michael (Mike) Wayne Campbell (born February 1 1950 in Panama City, FL in the U.S.) is a guitarist and record producer, best known for his work with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Noted mostly for his longtime work as Tom Petty's lead guitarist, Campbell is also a successful producer and songwriter on his own. One of the quieter legends of rock, he is an excellent guitarist and perfect companion songwriter to Tom Petty's 'meat and potatoes' Rock & Roll style.

Early Years

Campbell graduated Ribault High School in Jacksonville, Florida in 1968 and quickly moved to pursue a career in music. At 16, he bought his first guitar, a cheap Harmony model, from a pawnshop. His first electric guitar was a $60 Goya. Like Tom, Mike drew his strongest influences from The Byrds and Bob Dylan, with additional inspiration coming from the following guitarists: Scotty Moore, Luther Perkins, George Harrison, Carl Wilson, Jerry Garcia, Roger McGuinn, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Jimmy Page, Mick Taylor, and Neil Young "and on and on," Mike noted. The first song he learned to play was "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," a song which appeared on Bob Dylan's eponymous debut album.

He formed a band named Dead or Alive which quickly disbanded. He first met Tom Petty through Mudcrutch drummer Randall Marsh when they were auditioning him and he suggested his friend Mike to play rhythm guitar.

Mudcrutch moved to L.A. and signed a record deal with Shelter Records, recording an album in 1974 that ended up being shelved. Campbell then joined Tom Petty to found the original Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1975 along with Tench, Ron Blair (bass guitar) and Stan Lynch (drums).

The Heartbreakers

Like the other players in the Heartbreakers, Mike avoids the virtuoso approach to playing, preferring to have his work serve the needs of each song. He belongs to an elite group of musicians. "Guitar World" magazine noted "there are only a handful of guitarists who can claim to have never wasted a note. Mike Campbell is certainly one of them". He is a highly melodic player, often using two or three-strings-at-a-time leads instead of the more conventional one-at-a-time approach. "People have told me that my playing sounds like bagpipes," he muses. "I'm not exactly sure what that means." His estimation of his own style is typically modest: "I don't think people can really top Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton as far as lead guitar goes. I like my playing to bring out the songs." Like Tench, he is heavily involved in constructing the arrangements for the Heartbreakers' tunes. And also like Tench, he prefers rawness to polish in the studio and onstage.

Campbell co-produced the Heartbreakers albums "Southern Accents", "", "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)", "Into the Great Wide Open", "She's the One", "Echo", and "The Last DJ", as well as Tom Petty solo albums "Full Moon Fever", "Wildflowers", and "Highway Companion".

Other projects

Outside the Heartbreakers, Campbell has co-written an array of songs including "The Boys of Summer" and "Heart of the Matter" (both with Don Henley). Other songwriting credits include songs for The Blue Stingrays, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Lone Justice, Roger McGuinn, Stevie Nicks, John Prine, Restless Sleeper, Patti Scialfa, Brian Setzer, J.D. Souther, The Williams Brothers and Robin Zander. He also produced four songs on Roy Orbison's "Mystery Girl" album and played guitar on The Wallflowers' "Sixth Avenue Heartache." [cite web|url=http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2457 |title=Sixth Avenue Heartache by The Wallflowers Songfacts |publisher=Songfacts.com |date= |accessdate=2008-09-06]


Mike Campbell now still tours and works on albums with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and is involved with his side-band, The Dirty Knobs. "It's rougher-edged [than Petty's material] ," Campbell says of his Knobs. "It's slightly over-driven, less polished, lots of Sixties influence—The Kinks, Zeppelin, the Animals. It's something I probably should have done a long time ago, but I didn't 'cause I was wrapped up in the Heartbreakers." Some Dirty Knobs material has been recorded and they have more songs at the ready, but they're not shopping for a deal and are content to work occasional club gigs in Los Angeles.

A Mike Campbell solo album won't be released any time soon. He shrugs off the idea: "I wouldn't want to do an all-instrumental album because I like the songs and I like to hear singers. In the Heartbreakers I've got a great writer and a great singer to work with on my songs. Where else would I be able to find anyone who could match Tom Petty?"

"All of us in the band are very single minded about music. It's all we know how to do, and we're pretty much helpless in any other realm of life. If someone took all the bucks away, we'd just starve! (laughs) We'd be totally useless to civilization! Really, I'm a musician and that's what I do. I don't know what else I could or would do," Mike said in a 1999 interview with fans on tompetty.com.

Petty continues to be impressed by Mike's playing ability, and he will catch himself looking over at Mike while he's soloing, thinking, "God, how does he do this? When he does [a solo] , it kind of races through my head, 'Boy I like that!'" (WXRT Chicago "Sound Opinions" radio interview, April 15, 2003)

Campbell has been married to Marcie Campbell since 1975. They have had two daughters, Brie and Kelsey (the latter of which provided vocals to the "Full Moon Fever" track "Zombie Zoo") and one son, Darian.

In 2004 he recorded the guitar solo for the song Los Angeles is Burning from Bad Religion's Empire Strikes First album.

In 2007, he joined a reformed Mudcrutch along with Petty, Tench, Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh.


External links

* [http://www.thedirtyknobs.com The Dirty Knobs] - Mike Campbell's side-band.
* [http://www.duesenbergusa.com/dmc.html DMC TV Mike Campbell] - Campbell's custom Duesenberg guitar.

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