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Mike Campbell on the Heartbreakers: ‘We’ll Play Again Someday’

Guitarist considering Wildflowers tribute show with guest singers, but don’t expect an arena tour anytime soon

Mike Campbell, Tom PettyTom Petty and The Heartbreakers in concert, The Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, USA - 01 Jul 2017

The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell says that "We'll play again someday," but not with someone replacing Tom Petty live.

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In the immediate aftermath of Tom Petty’s sudden death last October, guitarist Mike Campbell believed that the Heartbreakers would never perform together again. “I just couldn’t think about doing that,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I thought it would just be too sad since we’d be missing our other brother.” But now that nearly a year has passed, he’s had a change of heart. “Of course we’ll play again someday,” he says. “We love each other too much not to do that.”

How exactly it’ll happen remains a question. Campbell will spend much of the next year, at the very least, on tour with Fleetwood Mac. During downtime, he’ll play gigs with his longtime side project the Dirty Knobs. But once his schedule opens up, he’s open to the idea of getting back with the Heartbreakers in some capacity, possibly after the long-awaited Wildflowers box set finally comes out. “It would be a great tribute to Tom to just do that album,” says Campbell. “We’d probably have four or five different guest singers with us. We don’t know who they might be though or when this might happen.”

One thing that’ll never happen, however, is an arena tour with the band playing Petty tunes with a new singer. “We’ll never go out with Paul Rodgers [who performed with Queen for five years] or someone else,” says Campbell. “Nobody can fill those shoes. I can’t fill them and I don’t know anybody else that I would want to fill them.”

Campbell says he’s more intrigued more at the Heartbreakers cutting new material with another singer/songwriter. “In the stretch of my imagination, if there’s somebody that we really respect that would want to do an album with a band, we could maybe do that,” says Campbell. “And if we made an album together and that felt really good and we wanted to go on the road as a whole, doing different songs, maybe there’d be a place for that in the future. But that’s just pie-in-the-sky talk. But it definitely would have to be all new material. It wouldn’t be going out and doing Heartbreakers songs without Tom. That would just be like…ugh.”

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