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Tom Petty to Kick Off Mudcrutch Reunion Tour in Malibu

April 14, 2008 4:31 PM ET

Back in the Seventies, Tom Petty's first band Mudcrutch played everywhere — from unlicensed backyard festivals to topless bars — but they never performed at a charity benefit. On Saturday night, the reunited Mudcrutch played their first show in over three decades in the 500-seat Malibu Performing Arts Center, kicking off a thirteen-date California club tour and helping to raise funds for the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles.

"This is a trip, isn't it?" Petty asked the well-heeled audience. "I'm just trying to get really good and grounded here." The band played for an hour and a half, performing all fourteen songs on their forthcoming debut album, plus a clutch of covers from their early repertoire: Elvis Presley's "Rip It Up," Bill Monroe's "Love, Please Come Home," the Rolling Stones' "Off the Hook" and Jerry Lee Lewis' "High School Confidential." (They also threw in a Mudcrutch power-pop original from the early '70s, "I Can't Fight It," although it took three false starts before they nailed it.)

Mike Campbell and Tom Leadon had a rapport on guitar that belied their long separation, making the traditional "June Apple" sound like an electrifying blend of bluegrass and Television. Benmont Tench was a virtuoso on piano and organ as per usual, and even took lead vocals on "This Is a Good Street." Petty looked ecstatic to be playing bass again, and managed to whip the crowd into a rock and roll fervor: on the way out, the crowd carefully stepped over the broken glass of champagne flutes.

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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