Turning Back the Clock
By: Mike Greenhaus
Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh—two of the original members of Mudcrutch alongside Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and later Benmont Trench—the band’s reunion has been nothing short of a dream. And while the other three members have notched countless sold-out amphitheaters and arenas under their belts, not to mention this past Super Bowl halftime show, as The Heartbreakers, it’s clear Mudcrutch has been revitalizing. We caught up with Campbell, Leadon and Marsh to hear how it was going half way through their first tour in over 30 years.
What was it like hearing the idea of the Mudcrutch reunion not from Tom Petty but from Peter Bogdanovich?
Tom Leadon: Peter had come to Brentwood, TN where I teach music to interview me [for the documentary Runnin’ Down a Dream]. He asked me if I had any Mudcrutch pictures, so I took him into my room and he was saying, "Aww, we’ve seen all these already. You know, Tom mentioned to me the other day that he was thinking of having a Mudcrutch reunion." I have to say that his words shot through me like a bolt of lightening. … I’ve been practicing everyday for years because I’m a musician but I always had faith that some day I could do something and get my music out there. I told Peter to tell Tom I was up for it. It was about another seven or eight months before I heard from Tom. I’m still just living a dream here. I feel better than if I won the lottery.
Randall Marsh: I was dumbfounded. I just presumed they’d been working on the movie and maybe had a few beers and Peter misconstrued some nostalgic idea. So I didn’t take it that seriously.
Leadon: When he called me, I was driving home from the supermarket and he said, "Hey, this is your old pal Tom Petty," and I was like, "No… really?" I thought it was one of my friends jerking my chain. He said it again and I said again, "No… really?" I couldn’t hear him very well so I pulled my truck over to the side of the road and we talked for about an hour and it was just great.
I didn’t know that we’d do a whole record, I don’t think any of us did. Tom said he had an equipment warehouse and he’d set up some tape recording equipment and I thought, "Well, maybe we’ll make some demos and maybe something down the line will come out of it." I was still really excited. I thought we’d get together for two or three days and just have fun, play a little music and then go home. As I got subsequent calls from Tom over the next few months, I found out that he was blocking out two weeks of time, that he had one of the best engineers in the business, and I’m thinking this is starting to sound really good. I was asking him about airline expenses and he said, "Ah, there’ll probably be a record deal somewhere down the line." And I’m thinking to myself, record deal! And we hadn’t even played a note.
Did you ever expect, after this long—three decades—that this might happen?
Mike Campbell: It was out of the blue. I was pleasantly surprised when he called me and asked me what I thought. I thought, "That’d be really fun to do." I was also surprised that with The Heartbreakers and all the other activities we’ve got going on—we’d just done the Super Bowl and we were setting up a summer tour—and I was impressed that Tom was so keen to do it, that he wanted to find time to squeeze this in. Obviously Tom didn’t have to do this project; this is something he really wanted to do.
Written by Mike Greenhaus* **Childhood Addictions:* Tuna and Chocolate Milk *Fun Phish Fact:* It took me 45 shows to hear "Fee" *Genetic Jamband Bobble:* My bouncy walk resembles my disheveled dance step *Genuine Jamband Geekster:* I’ve seen a concert in all five of New York’s boroughs (even Staten Island!). Visit www.relix.com for more information.
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