Although Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell has kept busy over the past few years while on the road with Fleetwood Mac and leading his own ensemble, the Dirty Knobs — he still misses his buddy and bandleader, the great Tom Petty. Campbell and Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench — along with Petty's longtime engineer and co-producer Ryan Ulyate — are assisting the Petty family with the upcoming, Wildflowers & All The Rest box set coming on October 16th.
Campbell, who played Petty's "Free Fallin'" onstage during the last Fleetwood Mac tour with Stevie Nicks taking the lead vocals, admitted to Guitar World that hearing the music is both painful — but important, explaining, "I'm still deep in my grief, and when I do those songs I think about Tom. I feel his presence and sometimes it's a bit emotional, but it's also healing. It's a way to work through my grief. But, I think if you show a little emotion and it's real, people understand. And they're going through it, too, y'know? They're grieving, too, and it's a way for us to maybe heal a little bit together."
Campbell, who's been a member of Fleetwood Mac since 2018, was pressed if the latest incarnation of the band intends to record a new album: "I don't know, maybe. When I first go the call I assumed we would do some recording, because they asked me to join the band. They said, 'This is not an audition — we want you to join.' I thought about it for a day and decided I would do it. And so I told Mick (Fleetwood), 'Well it starts with the songs." I was thinking we'd make a record, maybe and then go out and play. But he said, 'Oh no, we've got these commitments to do this tour. . . ' Which ended up being a year and a half (laughs)."
Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs will release their debut studio album, Wreckless Abandon, on September 18th. He said of a possible Fleetwood Mac project: "They may not want to record another album, I'm not sure. But we did have a meeting at the end of the tour and everybody agreed that they probably don't want to do any more long tours like that. And so, we decided, 'Well let's take a year off and let everybody do things they want to do for a while. And then in the not-too-distant future, if a handful of gigs come up that sound good, maybe we'll do that.'"