Mike Campbell in 2024: Album, Tour Featuring the Heartbreakers’ Steve Ferrone

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Mike Campbell, in the “Dare to Dream” video

Mike Campbell, the lead guitarist and frequent co-songwriter, for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, has released a 2024 album with his group, the Dirty Knobs. Vagabonds, Virgins & Misfits arrived on June 14 via BMG, with the band beginning a summer tour one week later. The album—with guest appearances by fellow Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench and drummer Steve Ferrone, as well as Lucinda Williams, Graham Nash, and Chris Stapleton—is available in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here. Watch the videos for “Dare to Dream” and “Angel of Mercy” below.

This is the third album for Campbell and the Dirty Knobs, and first since 2022’s External Combustion. The album is again co-produced by Campbell with Petty-studio veteran George Drakoulias. The Dirty Knobs’ concert setlists typically include several Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers songs, many of which Campbell co-wrote.

The first track released, “Dare to Dream,” features Nash, who had been a guest on “The Breakdown,” Campbell’s interview show on Sirius XM’s Tom Petty Radio. “I got up the courage,” Campbell recalls, “to ask him, ‘Would you be interested in singing on one of my songs?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll make your song better.’ And he did! It sounds like the Hollies.”

“‘Dare to Dream’ is about hope and redemption in a wicked world. I don’t write a lot of happy songs. But a lot of Tom’s songs in the Heartbreakers – even though the characters and stories were dark, there was hope in the end, that it’s gonna work out. ‘Dare to Dream’ is a simple idea: It’s gonna be okay if you hang on to hope.”

The video for the song was shot at The Church Studio in Tulsa, Okla., the site of Mudcrutch’s (the precursor to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) first recording sessions for Leon Russell’s Shelter Records 50 years ago.

Listen to “Hell or High Water,” featuring Lucinda Williams, and “My Old Friends,” an ode to the bottle

Ferrone, Campbell’s rhythm brother in the Heartbreakers for more than 20 years, was an original member of the Dirty Knobs when Campbell started the band as a trio with Heartbreaker bassist Ron Blair. “Angel of Mercy” was a song “we used to play in clubs,” the guitarist says, “and I tried to get it on the first two records but never got the track right. This album was finished, but then Drakoulias said, ‘We really oughta do this song.’ Matt was gone, so Steve helped us out.”

The 2024 album from Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs

The new album features Dirty Knobs’ guitarist Chris Holt, bassist Lance Morrison and drummer Matt Laug. Laug took off after Vagabonds, Virgins & Misfits was all but finished to become the drummer in AC/DC. “He couldn’t turn down his dream gig of all time,” Campbell says. “It would be like me going back and joining the Beatles. I said, ‘Matt, before you do that, cut this record with us. I know it will go real fast.'”

Ferrone has been playing shows with the band in recent months and will be there, Campbell says, when he and the Dirty Knobs take Vagabonds, Virgins & Misfits on the road. “When Steve came in to do that song, he said, ‘Can I have my seat back?’ ‘Yeah, man, you’re in the band.’ Fans love it when they see Steve up there. It means a lot to see some of that old connection.”

Related: Watch Campbell and the band open their 2022 tour

Listen to more new tracks below the concert listings.

Mike Campbell & the Dirty Knobs 2024 Tour (Tickets are available here and here)
Jun 21 – Skokie, IL – Skokie Music Festival
Jun 22 – Nashville, IN – Brown County Music Center
Jun 24 – Kansas City, MO – Kauffman Center for the Perf. Arts
Jun 26 – Bloomington, IL – Bloomington Center for the Perf. Arts
Jun 27 – Lexington, KY – Lexington Opera House
Jun 29 – Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
Jul 01 – Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre
Jul 03 – Des Moines, IA – Hoyt Sherman Place
Jul 05 – Saint Paul, MN – Fitzgerald Theater
Jul 06 – Sioux City, IA – Saturday in the Park
Jul 09 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
Jul 11 – Newark, OH – The Midland Theatre
Jul 13 – Midland, MI – Midland Center for the Arts
Jul 14 – Detroit, MI – Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel
Jul 16 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

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