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Tom Petty drummer Steve Ferrone talks groove

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Steve Ferrone has sat in the drummer's seat for Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers since 1994. But the British-born sticksman is still seen by many as 'the new guy.' It's a label he's grown accustomed to over the years. "I'm always the second man asked to the dance," he says, laughing. "But I'm not complaining because I've been to a lot of nice dances."

And that dance card has been full ever since Ferrone replaced the late Robbie McIntosh (not to be confused with the guitarist of the same name) in the Average White Band in 1974, right as the group was releasing their breakthrough smash Pick Up The Pieces. Over the past four decades, Ferrone's impeccable taste, timing and groove have paid off handsomely: he's been 'the new guy' for Eric Clapton, Duran Duran, Peter Frampton and The B-52s, among others, and has played on countless sessions for everyone from Johnny Cash to Michael Jackson.

Even so, when it comes to touring bands, does he mind being thought of as 'the new guy,' or even 'the replacement'?

"Not at all," he says, again chuckling good-naturedly. "I've replaced Stan Lynch in Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. I've replaced Phil Collins with Eric Clapton. I've replaced Roger Taylor with Duran Duran. There's a few choice ones right there. No, see, these drummers have played on amazing records, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for their work. To be asked to go in and sit down and play the parts that they established, I'm flattered and honored. Also, I guess it means that, on some level, I'm that good - or at least in somebody's mind I am."

Having now clocked in 16 years as a member of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, currently touring behind their latest release Mojo, it's doubtful that Ferrone will be abdicating his drummer's throne to anybody else in the near future. "It's a wonderful group of people in this band," Ferrone says. "Tom and Mike Campbell are such brilliant writers. No, I'm quite happy to be a Heartbreaker." He thinks for a second. "That always sounds funny, doesn't it? I'm a 'Heartbreaker.' Of all the bands with great names, this one's right up there."

In the following interview with MusicRadar, Steve Ferrone talks about playing with Tom Petty And The Heatbreakers, along with some of the other illustrious names on his CV. He also discusses his approach to playing, and it's one which involves, oddly enough, the art of the dance.

What is general philosophy about drumming? Do you have one?

"What I like to do is feel the song - I see it and figure out what I like to call the 'light and shade.' When I was a child, I was a tap dancer, and I remember a big part of our instruction revolved the light and shade of certain routines. I see drumming the same way I see dancing. It's all dynamics.

"Because of my tap dancing, I can visualize a piece of music and feel it physically. Basically, I can sit down with a band and pretty much play a song without ever having heard it before. I'm not saying I play it perfectly the first time. [laughs] But I have a sense of the flow, the dynamics, where the choruses and verses are going. If you have rhythm - and let's face it, dancing is a great starting ground for a musician - you're usually able to know how a song should go."

I would assume this helped in recording Mojo, which is the most 'jam-oriented' album the band has ever done.

"Well, yeah, we recorded the whole thing live pretty much. Tom would come in and start playing a groove, and I'd start playing along. He didn't present finished demos or anything. The songs fell together during rehearsals. That's the way it's been with us for a while.

"Songs used to develop during soundchecks, too, although we rarely do soundchecks anymore. With the new technology like Pro Tools, we just record the sound from the gig before and adjust the levels to the next room. Soundchecks are kind of a thing of the past now."

What kind of direction do Tom and Mike Campbell give you? Or do they give you free reign to come up with your parts?

"They give me free reign…until I do something they don't like! [laughs] Their music is pretty straightforward, so if I do something too complicated or come up with a groove that just won't fit - anything that gets in the way - that's when they'll say something. And then I'll say, 'Fine, I just won't do that again.'" [laughs]

When you were asked to join, what specifically did Tom tell you was the reason? What made you the right guy to replace Stan Lynch?

"He never really told me, and I never asked him. I got a call to go out for an audition, but I wasn't told who it was for. This was in 1994. So my gears were turning…'Who could it be?' It was all very top secret, you know? But then I showed up at this studio and there's Tom Petty and Mike Campbell sitting there. Well, I figured out pretty quickly who I was auditioning for."

What did the audition consist of? Did you have to play through some of Tom's hits?

"Well, I should stress that I'd worked with Mike before - he and George Harrison; in fact, I'm pretty sure that George recommended me for the gig. So we started to play You Don't Know How It Feels, and that felt pretty good. Then we listened back to what we'd played and Tom said, 'Wow, what a difference a drummer makes.' Then he turned to me and said, 'Don't worry, Steve, you've won.' [laughs] And that was it."

How have you adapted your style to the older songs in Tom Petty's catalogue? Some of the material that Stan Lynch played was quite energetic. I'm thinking of songs like American Girl.

"Yeah, well, that song speaks for itself. It has a pattern that is very recognizable and I don't really change it at all. The kick pattern, especially, is very important to play right. The song has a swing to it.

"My job isn't to re-arrange songs that are etched in people's minds. But the newer songs, the ones I've played on, they're mine, if you will. So I don't have to adapt my style to fit them; my style is already a part of them."

Who do you listen to in the band? Do you listen to Tom's vocals? Ron Blair's bass lines?

"I listen to the whole thing. I let the music fall all around me and I make it work. If Ben [keyboardist Benmont Tench] plays a nice little line, I try to leave space so it can be heard. If Tom hits a certain vocal line and really punches it, I might reinforce it, but I don't get in the way. I don't try to set the tone and the tempo of the band; I let them guide me and I keep it all together. The band works really well as a team.

"However, you mentioned vocals: I will sing along as I play. It's not just 'cause I like to sing [laughs]; it's because I'm checking the tempo. If you're shifting things around too much, particularly with songs that are so dependent on the vocals, then all you're doing is messing things up."

You play with a traditional grip. Have you always done so?

"No, I started out with a matched grip, and I switched when I was about 18 or 19 years old. I remember watching this French drummer who played with a traditional grip, and I was very impressed with his ability to get all of these grace notes in. The big thing was figuring out how to incorporate the traditional grip but still have a strong backbeat. So I worked out a way to play traditional but power down the stick with my thumb - which is why I have a very messed-up thumb now!" [laughs]

Let's talk about your tenure with Eric Clapton. What was that like? What kind of directions did he have for you when it came to what he wanted from the drums?

"His whole thing was, 'Make me play.'"

"Make me play."

"Yeah, he wanted the band to kick his butt. You know, it's a hard job to be 'Eric Clapton.' He's gotta go out there every night and live up to this legend. He has all these solos to play, and he's gotta blow people away.

It's a lot of pressure. So he would just say, 'Steve, go out there and play your ass off.' He looks for fire. I think he really liked being pushed. It helped keep him on his toes, I think."

Playing with Eric, you performed material from all of the eras of his career. How did you handle the Cream material? You and Ginger Baker have styles that couldn't be more different.

"Absolutely. I would just sort of grab it and make it mine. I played Sunshine Of Your Love totally different. I took a hint of his groove, but there was no way I could match what he did. I didn't even try.

"All drummers have their own particular quirks - some you try to work with and others you can't. When you're talking about somebody as flamboyant on the drums as Ginger Baker, there's no way you can play like him.

"The point is to take the essence of what he did and use that. Again, Eric's whole thing was, 'Play with fire, Steve. Give me everything you've got.' He didn't want his musicians to play it safe. And you can still play a groove and be non-flashy while giving the music everything that's inside of you. Sometimes that's the hard part - playing with heart but not making it all about yourself."

On a somewhat related note, you played with both Eric Clapton and George Harrison when the two toured Japan together in 1991. It was basically Eric's band backing up George.

"That's right. What an amazing time."

OK. How hard was it, when playing Beatles songs with George, not to try to re-create Ringo's parts?

"I didn't really think about it. George told me what songs to listen to, I listened to them and we played them. What I did was what I always do: I listen to the song, I get the groove, I figure out the key elements and then I do my thing."

How was George to work with?

"Oh, he was wonderful. What can I say? He was a great guy. A tremendous human being. I walk past his star on Hollywood Boulevard a lot, and every time I do I say, 'Hey George, how ya doin'?' What a sweet man he was."

One other mega-famous artist you worked with was Michael Jackson. Tell me about that experience.

"Oh, it was great. I was hired to play on a couple of songs, and one of them was Earth Song. I was working with the producer Bill Bottrell. So we're in Westlake Studios in Los Angeles, working on the song, and I turn around and there's Michael Jackson. It's like he materialized right next to the drum kit."

Wow. What do you say? "Hey Mike"?

"Yeah, basically. [laughs] And what was funny was, he looked at me and said, 'Steve, can you dance?' And I go, 'Well, are you asking?' [laughs] Maybe he could tell by the way I played, I don't know.

"What was interesting about doing that song was that Michael wanted me to play electronic drums - that was the big thing in those days. And I said, 'Michael, the song is called Earth Song. You've got to have real drums on there.' I could tell he was hesitant, but we cut a deal to do it both ways.

"He listened to the electronic drums and liked them, and I could tell he was about to go with that track, but I reminded him about our deal. So I went in and cut the same track on acoustic drums. He listened back and started movin' around, going, 'Yeah, yeah! That's it.' And that's when I told him, 'There you go, Michael. Now you've got a true Earth Song! [laughs] The acoustic drums won out in the end."

http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/tom-petty-drummer-steve-ferrone-talks-groove-273410

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Thanks for the interview. I know it may be sacrilegious to say in here, but I've always preferred Steve's playing with Clapton to his playing with Petty. Well, maybe he should start "pushing" the Heartbreakers, too, then. Steve's lead vocal duet with Kirstin Candy on her song "Money" is pretty classy. Stan Lynch used to sing live with the heartbreakers. Does Steve do that as well? I think he should.

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Great interview.  It strongly contradicts my views on how Steve sees his role in the band, and I like what he says.  Also an interesting take on the traditional grip, which Stan also used, but is somewhat rare in rock drumming.  Still, I hear what I hear, in terms of the overplayed bass drum subduing the electric bass, keyboards, and vocals, especially prior to 2006.  The interview is from 2010, while most of my criticism of Steve's playing is prior to 2006, so perhaps he was taking a different point of view by the time of the interview, who knows. 

I did think the Steve did a decent job on George Harrison's Live in Japan, then again he was aided by Ray Cooper, who is arguably the best rock percussionist ever (much as I also like Phil Jones, who was outstanding with TPATH and on FMF, and who may be Cooper's equal but he's less well-known).  It was shortly after GH's Japan tour that mostly the same band backed GH at Albert Hall for a one-time "Natural Law Party" benefit.  That's where Mike Campbell was brought in as a guitar player (they had 3 from what I could tell, GH, MC, and another - probably Andy Fairweather Low).   

And as I've said, Steve did a good job on Mojo and an excellent job on Hypnotic Eye.  I also mostly liked his work on the 2008 live version of Rebels.  So I guess for me, Steve got a lot better after 2005.  But I think I'm the only one who sees a divide in his performance with the band, so enough about that. 

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On April 18, 2020 at 6:08 PM, TheSameOldDrew said:

I also mostly liked his work on the 2008 live version of Rebels.  So I guess for me, Steve got a lot better after 2005. 

What do you make of the Fillmore show from '97? Do you enjoy it despite the covers/Steve's drumming?

Do you listen to any live music post Stan?

For myself, Fillmore '97 is an exception where aside from Gloria (and I did like it for a little while) I don't mind the covers, quite enjoy a lot of them; I just think that was a very special TPATH show like many do.

cheers

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12 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

What do you make of the Fillmore show from '97? Do you enjoy it despite the covers/Steve's drumming?

Do you mean the final Fillmore 1997 show, on February 7?  I honestly don't care much for it.  The sound quality is very good, since it was a radio show, but there are many other radio shows I like more.  In fact of all the "for radio" shows they did, I would rank this at the bottom.  That being said, it's somewhat interesting for the songs that were played there and only there, same for the other Fillmore shows.  It's cool to hear Benmont's On the Street for example.  

I realize that the Feb. 7 1997 show ranks as a "favorite" among many.  I'm not really sure why, but I'm guessing it's because it's a long concert with a lot of songs.  It's got 40 songs, it takes 3 CDs.  Sometimes people equate quantity with quality, hence the "White Album" by The Beatles is often rated by fans as their very best - to me it's essentially 2 of their weaker LPs bundled together.  Specifically with the TPATH concert, I like hearing Jammin' Me after a 10 year absence, although I think they did it somewhat better in 1999.  It sounds good to me even with Steve's drumming, though it also sounded good with Stan.   

I have always thought Steve's drumming on Free Fallin' was better than Stan's, because Stan refused to play the Phil Jones "drum roll" part.   It sounds good here, but it's arguably better in later shows, such as Minneapolis 1999 or Gainesville 2006.  Other than those 3 songs, this concert doesn't have a lot for me.  There are a ton of covers, but I'm not that big on TPATH covers, especially as chosen for and performed at this show.  I think they did better versions of some of those covers, such as Louie Louie in Utrecht 1982, or Bye Bye Johnny in NC 1989.  I was initially excited to see those on the Fillmore setlist, but disappointed in the actual performance.  Was it due to Steve vs. Stan?  Yes that was probably a major factor.  But the band overall just didn't seem as excited this go-round.  The whole concert sounds a bit "off" to me vs. the band of the 70's and 80's.  

It was interesting to bring in John Lee Hooker for a few songs, but I didn't think those were all that outstanding either.  I saw John Lee Hooker and his band in person, nearly 20 years before this 1997 Fillmore show, and it was a lot more enjoyable then.  Just saying.  

BTW, I also am not a big fan of the April 12 1999 Irving Plaza NYC concert.  That one also is long (30 songs), with a high percentage of covers, and a lot of "the usual" songs from the WF and GH albums.  Plus stuff like Walls and Angel Dream, which meant a lot to Tom - and they were fairly new songs at the time - but weren't big favorites for me.  Yet that concert is currently the most snatched on Dimeadozen of all the TPATH shows, so go figure.  Obviously my taste in concerts is not universal.

12 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Do you listen to any live music post Stan?

Of course, but it's usually individual songs here and there, rather than full concerts.  If I listen to a full concert audio, or watch a full concert video, about 85-90% of the time it's a TPATH show with Stan on the drums.   The concerts without Stan often feel like it's a cover band, not the real band.  Not just because Stan's creative drumming is absent, but because the whole thing usually seems "off" to me, and I have trouble hearing the bass guitar, the keyboards, and often Tom's voice.  With a few exceptions, and as noted I thought Steve got markedly better after 2005. 

But I still had a lot of the same problems with the concerts (even after 2005) - for example, Ron's bass just doesn't sound the same when paired with Steve's drums.  Maybe Ron wasn't playing the same way as before, but I think it was the effect of Steve's on-the-beat and bass-drum-heavy technique.  As TP said, they needed more "air".  As Benmont said, it wasn't "chamber music" anymore.  So I have trouble hearing the full band much of the time on the Steve concerts (my hearing itself is just fine).  At least I can hear Mike's guitar, regardless, so that's my main source of enjoyment in the 1995-2017 shows.  That and hearing them play some of their new songs, but usually I wind up preferring the album versions more than the live ones, in the Steve era.   The live versions though are a different take, so that's good when you've worn out the studio versions.  

 

12 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

For myself, Fillmore '97 is an exception where aside from Gloria (and I did like it for a little while) I don't mind the covers, quite enjoy a lot of them; I just think that was a very special TPATH show like many do.

Yes, a lot of people rank that one (Feb 7, 1997) very high.  As I said earlier, I don't understand why it's so popular (other than the clarity of the recording, and the length), but to each his/her own.  It was a "special" series of concerts to do 20 shows at the Fillmore in 1997, and that was the last one of the residency, as well as the one broadcast for radio.  It became perhaps a little less special when they did more Fillmore shows in 1999, and more similar "covers oriented" residency/theater shows at Chicago 2003 and NYC 2013.   Even without the drummer issue, I found those to be a bit of wasted opportunities, when they could have played their own neglected song catalog, instead of their usual "greatest hits".  But they chose to do a bunch of covers instead of addressing their own deep songs. Some people have noted that doing covers is good for a musician's soul or something - maybe it helps to inspire new original songs by the band; and if that happened, then I'll praise the covers, even if I didn't always enjoy them for the cover performances themselves.          

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1 hour ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I realize that the Feb. 7 1997 show ranks as a "favorite" among many.  I'm not really sure why, but I'm guessing it's because it's a long concert with a lot of songs.  It's got 40 songs, it takes 3 CDs.  Sometimes people equate quantity with quality,

The number of songs and length of the show is a big factor no doubt. The only time (as far as I know) the band played to such a length, had such an extended encore and really for the first time (in my opinion) it genuinely felt like they could just keep playing on and on, that they were fully embracing their jam-band potential, breaking free of their more usual strict set list/concert methodology. And now, look at that, perhaps the first (and to much relief) the only time methodology is used in relation to TPATH.

I've more to comment on your comments...

cheers

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3 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

It's cool to hear Benmont's On the Street for example.  

Yes, a definite highlight!

3 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

The whole concert sounds a bit "off" to me vs. the band of the 70's and 80's.  

I understand, thanks for responding. Having read through and often participated in discussions with you regarding the band, drumming, covers etc. I was wondering after all that where you stood regarding shows with Steve. I get why you mainly listen to individual songs versus whole concerts post Stan.

For me, the performances, sound of the instruments, guitar f/x and overall vibe of the show is just one good time; like they're throwing a party and you're invited. I also really enjoy the extended MJLD as well as Hooker jamming with the band. There isn't another concert from TPATH quite like it. Even with practically everyone (presumably) having a copy either from the radio or online, I figure it would still make a good official live album release. Notably absent is Refugee, one of their biggest hits, I think a sign of how much they wanted to do something different with this concert.

And of course, while I too would've preferred deep cuts to covers, the concert remains a definite peak for the band; sometimes I even think it might be their concert peak, not for song selection but just overall performance, celebratory atmosphere and of course, length.

ciao

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5 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

BTW, I also am not a big fan of the April 12 1999 Irving Plaza NYC concert. 

That's a good one too, ha ha! Again, I think it's some of the unusual song choices (Heartbreaker's Beach Party, a Steve drum solo, brief but there!) and the length of songs, feel of the night. Though I think the Mansfield show from '99 is far superior. I think it's the best show I've heard from the '99 tour though it has contenders in Hamburg and Irving Plaza:

https://livepetty.com/1999-07-10-mansfield-pa-sbd/

5 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Yet that concert is currently the most snatched on Dimeadozen of all the TPATH shows, so go figure. 

It could just be the WF effect, that people really love that album and will gravitate towards shows after it's release. Also, good sound quality is a factor too.

5 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

If I listen to a full concert audio, or watch a full concert video, about 85-90% of the time it's a TPATH show with Stan on the drums.   The concerts without Stan often feel like it's a cover band, not the real band. 

Wow. Well, you do walk it like you talk it. I'm glad there are some good sounding bootlegs/official recordings out there for you from the Stan era.

5 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

That and hearing them play some of their new songs, but usually I wind up preferring the album versions more than the live ones, in the Steve era.

So you enjoy studio Steve even to live steve on the tracks he played on in the studio. Interesting. 

What do you make of the Live Anthology? Aside from obvious songs (those recorded prior to Steve joining) you can probably easily differentiate between drummers. But does it work for you, since it's songs from all over time and space? A bit easier to take Steve when's worked in with Stan tracks? Or do you just skip those?

5 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Even without the drummer issue, I found those to be a bit of wasted opportunities, when they could have played their own neglected song catalog, instead of their usual "greatest hits".

I largely agree but have beaten the topic to death many times over so I'll just leave it with, I agree. Still, not enough deep cuts but I'm glad they played the ones they did.

5 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Some people have noted that doing covers is good for a musician's soul or something

It's a bit more than that from my perspective but like I said, I've gone on and on about the covers.

But it's interesting to read your own take on the live albums, performances with Steve. 

cheers

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1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Even with practically everyone (presumably) having a copy either from the radio or online, I figure it would still make a good official live album release.

Yes they could issue the Feb 7 1997 concert officially, assuming they could get the rights to them. Which I think they can, since they did release their cover of The Zombies' I Want You Back Again  and their own Jammin' Me from that concert, on Live Anthology. Also there are 4 other songs (all covers) from other Fillmore 1997 concerts on Live Anthology.  I think Mike Campbell talked about going through the Fillmore 1997 shows for a possible "Fillmore Only" release, if I recall correctly.           

Personally I think they should officially release the North Carolina 1989 radio concert, none of which was released on Live Anthology or elsewhere.  Or the Rockpalast 1977 video concert (they did include one song from it in the RDAD film).  Or the Rock Goes to College video concert from 1980.  Or - best choice of all, IMO - the full 18 song 1982 Us Festival video concert.  Many many other possibilities.  

I seem to recall that Tom talked about making many live shows available via the official website, either free or with a reasonable charge.  Bruce Springsteen already does this on his own website.  Considering that there won't be any more concerts by Tom Petty, it seems to me a great way to preserve his legacy and allow more people to enjoy the band's concerts.  They did a great job mixing and mastering songs for the Live Anthology, but the write up showed they have so many more songs, and presumably so many complete concerts, that could be released if they were so inclined.  

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9 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Though I think the Mansfield show from '99 is far superior. I think it's the best show I've heard from the '99 tour though it has contenders in Hamburg and Irving Plaza:

The Minneapolis 1999 radio show also has very clear sound,  and it's got a live cello player on Walls - I think they only time they did that.  But it's incomplete, as radio shows tend to be.  I'll have to listen to the Mansfield 1999 show some time.    

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26 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

What do you make of the Live Anthology? Aside from obvious songs (those recorded prior to Steve joining) you can probably easily differentiate between drummers. But does it work for you, since it's songs from all over time and space? A bit easier to take Steve when's worked in with Stan tracks? Or do you just skip those?

I love the sound quality of the Live Anthology, it's fantastic and better than I thought possible.   Since I have a lot of the complete concerts, I don't mind that much that it jumps around in time.  And I don't usually skip the Steve tracks or the covers.  Since these are carefully chosen songs, my disagreement with Steve's drumming crowding out the other instruments doesn't usually apply.  I still miss Stan's creativity on those songs, and generally find the earlier stuff (through 1993) more satisfying, but these are well-chosen performances of the songs they chose to include.   For example, they use a Steve performance of Free Fallin' as they should.  And Steve's heavy drumming works well on Jammin' Me.  Their choice of Breakdown, a song I've heard so many times, is truly spectacular in both sound quality and performance.  

I don't think the actual song choices are that great (FAR too many covers). But they could be worse, and at least they did include many deep original songs such as No Second Thoughts, Century City, Like A Diamond, Nightwatchman, Billy The Kid, Too Much Ain't Enough - and I'm grateful for that.  If this were the only thing in my TPATH live recording library, I don't think I'd be so happy with it.  But as a supplement to what I already had, it's fine.  In fact I'd be happy if they did a "Part 2" of Live Anthology.   

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2 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I don't think the actual song choices are that great (FAR too many covers). But they could be worse,

Thanks for sharing your overall take on the Anthology.

Yes, I was shocked and disappointed at how many covers but...it seems a minority opinion as here's some excerpts from two reviews:

https://music.avclub.com/tom-petty-the-heartbreakers-the-live-anthology-1798207549

 

But the cover songs will have most Petty fans salivating: a stinging take on The Zombies’ “I Want You Back Again,” a gentle run through Grateful Dead’s “Friend Of The Devil,” a soaring version of Bobby Womack’s “I’m In Love,” transporting versions of Them’s “Mystic Eyes” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” and on and on. The Heartbreakers’ covers clarify the tradition the band comes out of: a mix of British Invasion, garage, southern R&B, and West Coast folk-rock. But what’s even more remarkable is that they can roll out of a Booker T & The MGs song and straight into Petty’s “Louisiana Rain,” and make the original sound better.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/the-live-anthology-247705/

But it’s the covers that make this four-disc collection interesting to more than Petty completists: The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” gets a down-home charge; “Diddy Wah Diddy” is a slinky winner; grooving instrumentals like Booker T. and the MG’s’ “Green Onions” and the James Bond Goldfinger theme (from a 1997 Fillmore show) display the band’s range; and a hungry take on Fleetwood Mac’s blues-era “Oh Well” (from the 2006 Bonnaroo festival) show the Heartbreakers’ roots.

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49 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I was shocked and disappointed at how many covers but...it seems a minority opinion as here's some excerpts from two reviews:

Here's the thing about professional rock music reviewers - they are rock music fans, but they aren't necessarily die-hard Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers fans.  Of course they love hearing cover songs of classic rock bands, because they love the bands that made those songs famous, and they love those songs in particular.  They don't necessarily care about (or even know) TPATH's own deep song catalog, beyond the "greatest hits".  But the actual TPATH fans do know, and care.  

The target market should be established TPATH fans, not professional rock critics.  And with all due respect to AV Club.com (i.e. none) they are clueless about what makes most Petty fans salivate (but if you reach back in your memory, a little bell might ring, and maybe that will make you salivate, if you've been conditioned that way).  

BTW, I'm also glad they included Down South in the Live Anthology, nice version of that one.  

 

   

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21 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Though I think the Mansfield show from '99 is far superior. I think it's the best show I've heard from the '99 tour though it has contenders in Hamburg and Irving Plaza:

Now I've heard most of Mansfield 99, maybe it's my system but I don't think the sound quality is as good as Minneapolis or Hamburg from that year.  And as far as Irving Plaza April 12 1999, it's still not a favorite - the sound is crisp but seems a little harsh/metallic to me, and the performance itself doesn't stand out to me.  Also Tom slightly flubs the opening lines of Jammin' Me in that show (he says "fall" instead of "go"), which kind of grates on me.  I actually like the Irving Plaza April 11 1999 show better than the April 12 one, it's not as crisp but it is balanced and not harsh.  Plus no Jammin' Me lyric flub.  But my two choices would be Minneapolis and Hamburg for the 1999 audio recordings.     

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On April 29, 2020 at 10:48 PM, TheSameOldDrew said:

Here's the thing about professional rock music reviewers - they are rock music fans, but they aren't necessarily die-hard Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers fans.  Of course they love hearing cover songs of classic rock bands, because they love the bands that made those songs famous, and they love those songs in particular.  They don't necessarily care about (or even know) TPATH's own deep song catalog, beyond the "greatest hits". 

That's a valid argument but at the same time, a reviewer is also aware of how many originals are played in relation to covers and what that may or may not say about a band. I can't guarantee it but I'd hope that someone who likes Tom Petty would be given the job to review such a giant set of live recordings. Regardless, I think people who like TPATH, even more than the hits, also enjoy their cover selections, even critics who may or may not be aware of the deep cuts.

On April 29, 2020 at 10:48 PM, TheSameOldDrew said:

The target market should be established TPATH fans, not professional rock critics. 

I think it's a given with live albums that the band's established fans are the target. However, a great live album or real life concert experience can make a new fan of someone. Though with this box set, sure there may be people who weren't fans who randomly purchased it but I figure most were hardcore fans and casual ones who enjoy the hits and live music. 

On April 29, 2020 at 10:48 PM, TheSameOldDrew said:

And with all due respect to AV Club.com (i.e. none) they are clueless about what makes most Petty fans salivate

I've mixed feelings about the avclub, and I think it was better years ago but here are two articles you may find interesting; they do have or had some there who enjoyed Petty. The first is a bit of slice of life in relation to music and the power of American Girl, the other on Tom's opening lines. Interesting articles.

https://music.avclub.com/tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers-american-girl-1798228863

 

https://music.avclub.com/inventory-14-classic-tom-petty-opening-lines-1798209600

 

cheers

 

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22 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Now I've heard most of Mansfield 99, maybe it's my system but I don't think the sound quality is as good as Minneapolis or Hamburg from that year. 

I think people consider it a dry soundboard recording, maybe I'm wrong. But I like that sound, very powerful instrumentation, clear sounding.

22 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Also Tom slightly flubs the opening lines of Jammin' Me in that show (he says "fall" instead of "go"), which kind of grates on me

Unless it's major that sort of thing usually never bothers me.

22 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

But my two choices would be Minneapolis and Hamburg for the 1999 audio recordings.     

Hamburg's a darn good show with an extended Honey Bee. I think I like Minneapolis too. Mansfield, Minneapolis, Irving, Hamburg, some good shows from that tour with good sound quality though I do understand why some aren't to your preference. Another question, did you catch TPATH with Stan live? Did you ever go to a show with Steve on the drums? If so, was it any better in person? If we've covered this before, alas...I do not recall.

cheers 

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