Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell, Steve Ferrone to Reunite For Tour

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MIke Campbell and Steve Ferrone during the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour, June 16, 2017 (Photo: Greg Brodsky)

The Heartbreakers’ lead guitarist Mike Campbell and drummer Steve Ferrone are reuniting for a spring 2023 tour with Campbell’s longtime side band, the Dirty Knobs. The band have released a pair of albums, 2020’s Wreckless Abandon, and 2022’s External Combustion, and have been actively touring for several years. Their set also draws from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ catalog. Tickets are available here.

On the albums, Campbell handles the bulk of the lead vocals; at times he sounds very much like his decades-long bandmate Tom Petty.

Campbell was a founding member of the Heartbreakers in 1976 and a frequent co-writer of songs with Tom Petty, including such classic rock favorites as “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “You Got Lucky,” and “Refugee.” His songwriting credits also include “The Boys of Summer” (with Don Henley) and “The Heart of the Matter” (with Henley and J.D. Souther). Ferrone joined the Heartbreakers in 1994, replacing original drummer Stan Lynch. Both Campbell and Ferrone were with the band when they completed their 40th anniversary tour in 2017, one week before Petty died.

At a April 2018 benefit the pair reunited (with their bandmate Benmont Tench) at Stephen Stills’ annual benefit concert. The set included Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” with Campbell offering his familiar guitar solo.

The celebrated guitarist, songwriter, and founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, turned 73 on Feb. 1 and has been playing with the Dirty Knobs for well over a decade. Campbell joined Fleetwood Mac on the road for their extensive 2018-2019 tour. Ferrone turned 73 on April 25. They appeared together in February 2023 and performed “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”

The Dirty Knobs’ 2020 album features contributions from fellow Heartbreakers’ founding member Benmont Tench.

Watch the video for the title track from 2020’s Wreckless Abandon, with Campbell’s familiar guitar sound

Of the project, Campbell explains, “The Dirty Knobs first got together 15 years ago. Over the years, the Knobs became an outlet for me to play some of the other songs I was writing and to keep the creative juices flowing in between working on albums and tours with Tom and the Heartbreakers.”

After Petty’s death in 2017, Campbell knew the only way to heal some of the pain was to throw himself wholeheartedly back into his music. “Losing Tom was earth-shattering for me. It was a total shock,” Campbell continues. “It had felt like we would be playing together forever. For a while it was hard to imagine playing in my own band again, let alone one where I’m the frontman. Tom was always my beacon. But everything I’ve been doing since Tom passed is in the spirit of honoring what we did together.”

Related: Our recap of the Heartbreakers’ final concert

Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs 2023 Tour Dates (Tickets are available here and here)
May 13 – Riverside, CA – Fox PAC
May 14 – Santa Barbara, CA – Soho Restaurant & Music Club
May 17 – Monterey, CA – Golden State Theatre
May 19 – Menlo Park, CA – The Guild Theatre
May 20 – Stateline, NV – Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
May 23 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
May 25 – Napa, CA – Uptown Theatre Napa
May 26 – Napa, CA – Bottlerock
May 30 – Salana Beach, CA – The Belly Up
May 31 – Salana Beach, CA – The Belly Up
Jun 04 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
Sep 30 – Ocean City, MD – Oceans Calling Featival
Oct 11 – Huntsville, AL – Outlaw Music Festival
Oct 13 – Brandon, MS – Outlaw Music Festival
Oct 14 – Southaven, MS – Outlaw Music Festival
Oct 15 – Pelham, AL – Outlaw Music Festival

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

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