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The firing of Stan Lynch

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I don’t know. Those kind of things are hard to judge from a distance. I don’t know if Stan was a little s***, or any more of a little s*** than everyone else in the band. He certainly seems to have been the most extrovert, the most rock and roll in the classical, hotel-room-thrasing sense. I don’t know if the likes of those are around anymore today, but they were essential to the whole myth of the genre. Those kind of guys are extremely hard to work with, I imagine, and therefore get themselves in trouble more often and in effect get kicked out more than other, more introvert musicians. But that just goes to show that rock and roll, in its beginning, wasn’t a JOB, something you have to do to earn money. It was wild, it was raw energy, and, to a certain degree, rebellion; or at least the outburst of an urge for freedom.

Probably everyone wishes that Tom and Stan and Mike and Stan could have overcome their respective disputes. But their approaches to music were too different, their preferences in style had become too different, and Stan could be an alpha male kind of guy, which Tom also was. But there could only be one leader, only one boss.

So I’m just speculating now from the top of my head: Maybe Stan wanted a little more say in musical decisions. Maybe his idea of a band was, well, that of an actual band, and not of a boss with his employees. Benmont seems to be very similar in that regard, but not so much of a hothead or maybe just a little more diplomatic… or maybe Tom simply valued Ben‘s contributions more than he did Stan’s.

So, maybe Stan didn’t really want to get kicked out of the band. Maybe he cried for attention in a somewhat unorthodox/helpless manner. He tried to stir things up to say, hey, I got something to contribute, too. Watch me. Listen to me. But nobody did. So things got worse, out of a failure to communicate properly. Plus the music Tom was writing moved away from the beginnings of the band. Which could also have something to do with moving away from Stan, but this is wild pseudo-psychological speculation.

I think if they had wanted they could have patched up their relationships, Tom and Stand and Mike and Stan. But they didn’t see eye to eye. Not musically and not personally. A clash of characters.

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^ Yeah, it's almost like you read my post. :D Seriously though, very nicely put. Good dimension to that input, and you dress some of my thoughts in nicer words that I could've myself too!

1 hour ago, TwoGunslingers said:

So I’m just speculating now from the top of my head: Maybe Stan wanted a little more say in musical decisions. Maybe his idea of a band was, well, that of an actual band, and not of a boss with his employees. Benmont seems to be very similar in that regard, but not so much of a hothead or maybe just a little more diplomatic… or maybe Tom simply valued Ben‘s contributions more than he did Stan’s.

That, especially, is following through on one of the thouhgts I barely managed to hint at in my previous post. I think there is a lot to be said for this particular line of speculation. Apart from the hierarchy issues, abd personal differences, I think Stan started to have "ideas" on the music, quite early on, that he wanted Tom to reflect upon. But for most parts, and probably in an escalating manner, this desire was not met.

It's also interesting that you mention Benmont, here. I definately agree that Ben too, seem to be a man - session pro that he has become, over the cause of his career - that truly and deeply valued the band aspect, when it could be had, within the realms of Mudcrutch and TPATH. More of a diplomat, true. Perhaps also more of a philospher lover of music, one who would never risk the beauty and potential of the music over strictly personal or professional/adminstrative - comparatively, in his eyes - petty issues (pun?!). Either way - again speculations - to me, I always had the sense, when TPATH enetered what I see as what may be called "the hired hands" phase of the the latter era recording sessions, Ben seems to have been the one - perhaps due to the somewhat trans-dimensional, character and quality of his instrument(s), but  perhaps due to his very gentle, funny, social and diplomatic aura as well - who carried the band torch with pride, despite the cut and paste qualities of the reality that had become. In other words, Ben, to me, I think, although it's hard to put these things into words, is largely what kept the "&" fairly smooth and credible in Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers name, the one that more than most kept the vibe of there being a Heartbreakers at all beyond I Won't Back Down. 

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Who knows... Maybe Mike and Stan have patched things up in the last few months. Or even before that sad ***** October day last year. Was Stan present at Tom's funeral?

Only a few years ago, Stan was still pissed off because Tom and Mike didn't go to Howie's funeral in 2003. In Zanes' book, he says that he can't forgive them for that... But who knows what happened between Stan and Tom / Stan and Mike since the release of the book. I can't imagine that they didn't share their opinions on everything that was said in the book... Or maybe that's exactly what happened, I don't know. I seem to remember that Stan and Benmont are still good friends, so, the subject of the book must have come up at one point... I guess we'll never know.

 

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28 minutes ago, Shelter said:

 I always had the sense, when TPATH enetered what I see as what may be called "the hired hands" phase of the the latter era recording sessions, Ben seems to have been the one - perhaps due to the somewhat trans-dimensional, character and quality of his instrument(s), but  perhaps due to his very gentle, funny, social and diplomatic aura as well - who carried the band torch with pride, despite the cut and paste qualities of the reality that had become.

Being older and wiser must have helped. And also the fact that everyone seems to get along with Ron Blair, Scott Thurston and Steve Ferrone. It is even possible to not get along with Ron or Scott?

Let's not forget that at one point in the '80s, Benmont was (as Tom himself once said) "wild as an indian", addicted to alcohol and who knows what else. Benmont always struck me as one of the most opinionated Heartbreakers. I don't think Benmont was the most diplomatic Heartbreaker ever. I think Mike played that role. I also think that the Heartbreakers were pretty miserable in the '80s.

So, I guess that this "hired hands" phase that you mention must have been, in Tom's mind, the phase where he finally had the band he'd always dreamed of. Like Tom said, after Stan's departure (or after Ron's return, I can't remember), there was almost no conflict in the band ever again. I'm pretty sure that in Tom's opinion, the last lineup of the Heartbreakers was the best ever. Sure, Howie's voice was missed but Scott's backing vocals were amazing. And with Steve being a perfect "drum machine", the "drummer problem" was not a problem anymore. I guess that 2002-2017 must have been the happiest era for the band.

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1 hour ago, Gregory18 said:

Being older and wiser must have helped.

Right! Good point!

As for there being "almost never any conflict" again, harmony is a great thing, of course. Whether it being harmony within a band or within a group of professional individuals, hired by an artist for their skills and for the convenience that stems from mutual history and understanding.

Again, this may not be an important difference to people, but it is to me. And I think there was a slow ongoing shift taking place in the case of TPATH. Not that Tom was never not the leader and driving force of the band, and not that these guys are just any hands, but still...

In Tom's mind? Yeah, who knows if to him, they were a band with band dynamics, all the way. In his heart, I doubt it.

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14 hours ago, chimera said:

nd then there was the time that Mike wanted to bring Marcie on the bus and he came up against the whole "No Wives" rule and so she had to drive herself between gigs.  That's the crazy part, to me: she had to drive herself and Mike went on the bus.

It was a weird dynamic in that band, sometimes.

 Probably most bands. Sad that Mike couldn't afford to do that, from my computer screen I think of these guys as being quite rich many times over. Now, I'm sure they are since this situation happened in '87 but one would think the lead guitarist/main co-writer and tasteful riff and solo player extraordinaire would be doing better back then.

Thanks for the details on that, what a mess. Insulting the guy's wife, lucky he didn't get punched.

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5 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Maybe Stan wanted a little more say in musical decisions. Maybe his idea of a band was, well, that of an actual band, and not of a boss with his employees. Benmont seems to be very similar in that regard, but not so much of a hothead or maybe just a little more diplomatic… or maybe Tom simply valued Ben‘s contributions more than he did Stan’s.

Sounds like a mix of all of this. I figure it's rough on drummers, gotta be on the beat or behind the beat, not too busy to distract from the voice/song while still having something unique to offer; seems like for years it worked with Stan but progressively got worse personally. 

Drummer messes up and everyone knows and it's demanding physically.

 

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6 hours ago, Shelter said:

 This was a band that became a solo project with back-up, that became a band, that went back to a soloproject and so on... Tom distancing himself a little from his "hands" for each of these steps (and I'm not just talking about Tom's solo albums here, mind you), changing, if ever so little, the dynamics.

 That's an apt description. Like most things with the band it's complex, funny there's so much complexity under the surface for a group renowned for their simplicity.

It's understandable that Tom was the leader and the main songwriter and I think he recognized that especially after FMF and recording ITGWO with Jeff Lynne how important it was to give Stan, Mike and Benmont key spots in the set to show off and do what they want. Perhaps it was just too much for him to even consider letting Benmont and Stan into the songwriting process though a few tracks written by them would've made for interesting songs but who knows how that may have mucked with their already wonky band dynamics. 

I think you or whomever pointed out how things had shifted with FMF and Wildflowers was right and perhaps there was more emphasis on their positions in relation to the & in their name. 

Still, from what little I've heard of, it seems Tom was both generous and attempted to be as good a leader as possible with this band and had loyalty to all of 'em. Aside from a few shifts, it's pretty much the same core from the beginning.

cheers

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6 hours ago, Shelter said:

I don't personally see how Stan's trademark style would have added much to most of Tom's material on Wildflowers onwards

I know this is all wildly hypothetical but I think Stan was capable enough to know when to reign it in during a song. Maybe you're right and there would've been nothing but misery and boredom in Stan's future with the band; in the You Tell Me behind-the-scenes clip Benmont called their playing, him Stan and bass as "chamber music". Maybe that level of skill only emerged when Stan was inspired, if he didn't care for Tom's songwriting than maybe he couldn't play. 

Ahh, this is way too hypothetical. I figure part of being in a band is being professional that while you may not care about a song you still give it your best, I've a hard time picturing Stan not doing that. 

Anyway, like Chimera said to paraphrase, weird dynamics in that band for sure.

But I think Stan would've liked some of the music Tom was writing and still been professional enough for those he didn't. 

7 hours ago, Shelter said:

Jeff showed Tom the backdrop machine that keeps time, and he fell in love with it. If some late 80s or 00s songs are quite imaginable with a true-to-Stan studio treatment, it's totally theoretical, since Tom was beyond that type of quality by then.

Well, it seems like a correct, spot-on assessment for sure.

I wonder if Stan had kept on with the band, would he eventually been able to bring more of his sensibility outside the strict timekeeping role? I think he would've perhaps had he been as you say or we speculate, that he could be as presumably diplomatic as Benmont. 

 

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6 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

So things got worse, out of a failure to communicate properly. Plus the music Tom was writing moved away from the beginnings of the band. Which could also have something to do with moving away from Stan, but this is wild pseudo-psychological speculation.

 I think somewhere Stan said he thought they'd be more like the Animals (?) as a band, while it gradually shifted over time to something else, more of a mix of Tom's ballad type conceptions and a heavier groove. 

 

6 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

So things got worse, out of a failure to communicate properly.

I've had my own share of communication failures over the years; rough times.

Looking back at Stan and perhaps reading between the lines, it seemed like a part of him regretted not being in the band, which is understandable. But like you say:

6 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Tom and Stand and Mike and Stan. But they didn’t see eye to eye. Not musically and not personally. A clash of characters.

 Probably how it went, particularly after the incident in '87. I recently rewatched the Rock Hall performance with the last time the original band played together and it sounded like they hadn't stopped despite some rough spots.

Add this to the pile of unreleased and possibly interesting music, what if those rehearsals with Stan for the rock hall were recorded?

 

cheers

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7 hours ago, Shelter said:

what some of the last few tours, with their crisp grit in the guitar, their heavy groove and all, would have sounded like if the drums were allowed to run wild a bit more, to speak with the strange voices of this band long ago.

Well written romantic summation of the band, Shelter!

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4 hours ago, Gregory18 said:

Was Stan present at Tom's funeral?

I've no idea, I figure funerals for the famous are tricky things in their way, though I'm sure Stan mourned in his own way whether he was there or not. Tom changed his entire life!

4 hours ago, Gregory18 said:

I seem to remember that Stan and Benmont are still good friends, so, the subject of the book must have come up at one point... I guess we'll never know.

I think it's one of the video clips from behind the scenes of Damn the Torpedoes where Benmont points out Stan playing behind the beat. There's probably levels to their songwriting that is quite different for them being in the band, hearing other parts and musical touches many miss. I think he misses playing with Stan, likes Steve fine and all but would've preferred Stan if it were up to him. Reading between the lines and wildly speculating though!

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4 hours ago, Gregory18 said:

Sure, Howie's voice was missed but Scott's backing vocals were amazing. And with Steve being a perfect "drum machine", the "drummer problem" was not a problem anymore. I guess that 2002-2017 must have been the happiest era for the band.

Aside from Howie's death and whatever private things we're unaware of yeah, it certainly seems that way. Musically there was a rebirth too, maybe not in the public eye or with big hits but from the band's perspective of Mudcrutch/Mojo/Hypnotic Eye & Mudcrutch 2. Some great to good songs on there, some mediocre as well but there was a fresh energy with the band in the studio.

But conflict free? Happiest time? Sure seems that way and who can blame 'em? Just getting together and playing music free of drama and pointless bickering? Sounds wonderful. I think you're right too, it's a factor of them all being older, more mature, wiser.

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5 hours ago, Shelter said:

Apart from the hierarchy issues, abd personal differences, I think Stan started to have "ideas" on the music, quite early on, that he wanted Tom to reflect upon. But for most parts, and probably in an escalating manner, this desire was not met.

They did cut Luna together; that must've been quite a rush for both of them. Perhaps Tom believed if he ceded too much control of the songwriting the whole enterprise was doomed; maybe struggle enough to get one person's songs recorded (and accepted by the band, who knows how many they rejected) without bringing in more than Mike who was largely a co-writer on some tracks. Plus the limited number of space on each album for new music.

I think ideally, getting one or two potential songs by the other members would've made for more interesting records or b-sides and could've been done without upsetting the dynamics of the band. Factor in the drugs, women, fame and it's amazing they not just survived but thrived.

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5 hours ago, Shelter said:

Ben seems to have been the one - perhaps due to the somewhat trans-dimensional, character and quality of his instrument(s), but  perhaps due to his very gentle, funny, social and diplomatic aura as well - who carried the band torch with pride, despite the cut and paste qualities of the reality that had become. In other words, Ben, to me, I think, although it's hard to put these things into words, is largely what kept the "&" fairly smooth and credible in Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers name,

 From interviews here and there it seems this is spot-on!

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3 hours ago, Shelter said:

they were a band with band dynamics, all the way. In his heart, I doubt it.

How many bands are though? It's possible bands exist that are truly democratic but my impression is that there's usually a leader and if the band is lucky, he respects his fellow bandmates, shares money with them, lets them be creative while keeping the whole thing running as smoothly as possible while having fun as well. 

I haven't read a lot of band biographies or behind-the-scenes books but it seems like in any effective human enterprise, someone becomes the leader, taking on the responsibilities and reaping the most benefits of a challenging role. The healthy ones keep to a positive balance, sharing largesse and doing their best to smooth over conflicts. 

Perhaps someone who knows more of other band dynamics, from the perspective of either fan or insider, will share their take, from my perspective it seems to a degree Tom was able to be keep things to a band dynamic as much as possible while dealing with both the positives and negatives of having his name first. But I could be wrong.

Financially, based on Mike not being able to afford having his family travel with him, does make it seem like there's a bit of a gap there, though, which doesn't look well, but...tricky enough to speculate on people I've never met let alone venture into their personal finances which aren't my business at all!

I figure though, that perhaps over time things improved for them all financially though Tom as principle songwriter made the most. Yeesh! Back to band dynamics and away from the fiscal.

cheers

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From the pettyarchives.

https://www.thepettyarchives.com/archives/miscellany/interviews/2000-stanlynch-musicplayer

 

In light of your experience of being in a band for so long, what advice would you give to band leaders to help the chemistry; what do you think is the best possible way to bring out everybody's creativity in a band situation?
The truth of the matter is the best bands, including the Beatles and the Stones... have a core of creative fire to them that needs to be nurtured before the other people need to be nurtured. If a band leader had any energy left over to encourage others, they could, and it's good to include people. But sometimes it's tough; it's not a democracy. Great rock'n'roll is not usually made by democracy - that's the truth. It's usually somebody that has the seed of an idea that he's gonna protect.

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This was from 2005, sounds like he's happy and content:

https://www.thepettyarchives.com/archives/newspapers/2000s/2005-04-10-staugustinerecord

Drumsticks have been replaced with pens, as Lynch's creative outlet is now writing. He gave away all of his drum sets.

But he enjoys teaching children the instrument at his high school friend's music store in Gainesville a few times a week.

Lynch began playing the drums at 11 as a way to make a statement despite his shyness.

"It's empowering. In your own way you are the leader of the band," he said of drumming. "When (The Heartbreakers) played in big arenas, I could get a city of people to react to the pulse of the drums."

Lynch enjoys breathing in the ocean air from his St. Johns County beachhouse when he's not at the Gainesville music store or writing songs at his Melrose studio.

It bothers him St. Augustine grew up in his absence while he conquered the music world. He despises the large developments that are swallowing the county's land, he said. Still, he won't turn his back on the city that holds his childhood memories.

"It's like a woman you love. She never looks bad to you," he said. "I spent 25 years trying to get back here so I would one day be able to live like I did when I was a kid."

St. Augustine's trustworthy people who find happiness in life's simplicities also help Lynch write his songs.

"There's guys that have so much pride and so much kindness and that inspires you," he said.

Reclining in a worn, wood chair with his feet resting on the railing of his back porch overlooking the ocean, Lynch feels he's found paradise in St. Augustine and doesn't plan to leave it, again.

"The idea of growing old in St. Johns County is very appealing to me," he said. "This is my home."

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17 hours ago, Shelter said:

^ Yeah, it's almost like you read my post. :D 

Well, I hadn't... ;) I've read it by now and agree on everything. Nice distinction between studio and live situations.

17 hours ago, Shelter said:

Ben seems to have been the one - perhaps due to the somewhat trans-dimensional, character and quality of his instrument(s), but  perhaps due to his very gentle, funny, social and diplomatic aura as well - who carried the band torch with pride, despite the cut and paste qualities of the reality that had become. In other words, Ben, to me, I think, although it's hard to put these things into words, is largely what kept the "&" fairly smooth and credible in Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers name, the one that more than most kept the vibe of there being a Heartbreakers at all beyond I Won't Back Down. 

I think what secured Ben his seat at the piano over all those years was 1) his unbelievable chops and - probably more importantly - 2) his encyclopedic knowledge of the music Petty loved. Because he was obviously also not the one to shut up, as Gregory18 pointed out:

17 hours ago, Gregory18 said:

Benmont always struck me as one of the most opinionated Heartbreakers. I don't think Benmont was the most diplomatic Heartbreaker ever. I think Mike played that role.

He surely was, along with Stan, the most opinionated Heartbreaker. Still, there are people who are very opinionated but make their point based on knowledge and know how to discuss. Maybe Ben is like that, and maybe Stan is more of a hothed who simply states, "It's either my way or it sucks!". :lol: I don't know. But there must have been a difference somehow!

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42 minutes ago, TwoGunslingers said:

I think what secured Ben his seat at the piano over all those years was 1) his unbelievable chops and - probably more importantly - 2) his encyclopedic knowledge of the music Petty loved. Because he was obviously also not the one to shut up, as Gregory18 pointed out:

He surely was, along with Stan, the most opinionated Heartbreaker. Still, there are people who are very opinionated but make their point based on knowledge and know how to discuss. Maybe Ben is like that, and maybe Stan is more of a hothed who simply states, "It's either my way or it sucks!". :lol: I don't know. But there must have been a difference somehow!

Yes, speaking of nice distinctions, this is good stuff.

Diplomatic may not be a good word for Ben. Well spotted nuance there, by Gregory. Certainly. Perhaps he just seems diplomatic compared to Stan. How about a gentleman and a scholar? (And an indian, sure.) No doubt Ben was always opionionated. If anything, that is key to what I preceive as him carrying the band aspect and ensign. But like you imply, he was comparatively smooth and well spoken, very clever, as it were. More over, perhaps he kept too close to the formula, for Tom. Ben the inalienable. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Shelter said:

Yes, speaking of nice distinctions, this is good stuff.

Thanks! :)

 

1 hour ago, Shelter said:

Diplomatic may not be a good word for Ben. Well spotted nuance there, by Gregory. Certainly. Perhaps he just seems diplomatic compared to Stan. How about a gentleman and a scholar?

That's exactly it, I guess.

 

1 hour ago, Shelter said:

 (And an indian, sure.)

I don't feel comfortable with this term, pc-wise.

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1 hour ago, TwoGunslingers said:

I don't feel comfortable with this term, pc-wise.

Yeah, I know... life is a minefield, these days! It may comfort you to know that I was merely - and with the warmest and most well meant of intentions, at that - refering to that old quote of Tom's, cited by Gregory above. I may have forgotten the qutation marks, so for your's and everyone else's comfort, here they are: " " 

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6 hours ago, Shelter said:

Yeah, I know... life is a minefield, these days! It may comfort you to know that I was merely - and with the warmest and most well meant of intentions, at that - refering to that old quote of Tom's, cited by Gregory above. I may have forgotten the qutation marks, so for your's and everyone else's comfort, here they are: " " 

😁

Thanks. My post was by no means intended as criticism, though. I'm only well aware that it's a delicate subject.

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10 hours ago, Shelter said:

Yeah, I know... life is a minefield, these days! It may comfort you to know that I was merely - and with the warmest and most well meant of intentions, at that - refering to that old quote of Tom's, cited by Gregory above. I may have forgotten the qutation marks, so for your's and everyone else's comfort, here they are: " " 

Oh, I see what I did but I just quoted Tom. I remembered the quote from (I think) Bogdanovich's film.

Believe it or not, it didn't even occur to me that the word could be offensive. I just don't get it. "Cowboys and indians", you know...

I'm european by the way (belgian)... we don't do political correctness here. It's bad for your health and for your head. Political correctness is bringing the world to ruins. Political correctness, in my opinion, is the antithesis of truth.

Sorry, I don't mean to start a debate. But I sure didn't mean to offend anybody. Peace! 😉

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