Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs | The Grammy Museum and the Troubadour

It was a busy week in L.A. for Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs starting with an evening at the Grammy Museum followed by two nights at the Troubadour. Mike Campbell was Tom Petty’s guitar player over four decades starting with Mudcrutch which Petty played bass in as well as fellow Heartbreaker Benmont Tench. Following Mudcrutch’s breakup in 1975 Petty assembled the Heartbreakers which would be his band for a little over 40 years until his passing in 2017. I was lucky enough to see Petty four times on that final tour which was celebrating the group’s 40th anniversary. I remember Petty sharing a story each night about how he and Campbell bonded over Chuck Berry followed by him saying “He’s going to be in my band forever.” Campbell was with Petty 1971-2017. Since 2018 Campbell has been a member of Fleetwood Mac following Lindsey Buckingham’s departure. Mudcrutch did reunite first in 2007 and released their first album in 2008 followed by another reunion in 2016 and a second album which would become Petty’s final album. 2022 marks the 20-year anniversary of the Heartbreakers being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of fame.

The Grammy Museum event took place Monday night (4/18) and featured a Q&A with the whole band followed by an acoustic performance. The interview was conducted by Creem Magazine co-founder Jaan Uhelszki who was also one of the first female rock journalists. She also writes liner notes for Rhino Records, Time-Life, and Sony Legacy Recordings as well as the liner notes for the first Dirty Knobs album. On top of that Uhelszki has written essays for the Rock N’ RollHall of Fame and could be seen regularly in the VH1 “Behind the Music” series. Uhelszki first interviewed Campbell, then the band without Campbell and lastly Campell and the band. The acoustic performance was sem-acoustic in that Campbell played electric guitar, but guitarist Jason Sinay played acoustic guitar and the drums were scaled down.

This event was part of the museum's The Drop series as the band released their latest album External Combustion. The Dirty Knobs are Mike Campbell (Guitar/Vocals), guitarist Jason Sinay (Neil Diamond/ Jerry Lee Lewis), bassist Lance Morrison (Don Henley/Alanis Morissette), and drummer Matt Laug (Alanis Morissette/Slash’s Snakepit). Campbell and the band discussed its formation, the band discussed the different artists they have toured/recorded with, and the new album. The performance included six songs starting with “Wicked Mind,” and ending with The Heartbreakers’ “Refugee.” During the performance Campbell stated he wanted this to be a band not just a solo project where he’s a member of it.


The Dirty Knobs had most recently played the Troubadour November 2020. The tour began in Nashville, TN last month and were 15 shows in before L.A. As Campbell said in the show it was their first tour after being around for 20 years and when they were going to tour on their second album External Combustion, the Covid-19 pandemic began. In April 2008, Mudcrutch had played six sold out shows at the Troubadour. The opener was Sammy Brue playing solo acoustic. In attendance at the second show was Social Distortion’s Mike Ness, Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. The show lasted close to 2.5 hours and included six Heartbreakers songs. In total there were 24 songs with half coming from both Dirty Knobs albums. Campbell was joined by fellow Heartbreaker Scott Thurston on harmonica for three songs throughout the show. They performed a slowed down version of “Refugee,” and Campbell talked about how the song was written 40 years earlier and had a slightly different meaning but still applies today and how we wrote the music and Petty wrote the lyrics.

The setlist does change each show, and for the encore Campbell talked about their new music but also wants to make sure they play older songs each night that everyone knows and loves. The encore included five songs, four of which were Heartbreaker’s songs starting with “You Wreck Me,” and ending with “Runnin’ Down A Dream. This October will be the fifth anniversary of Petty’s passing which came just a week after the group played their final show of the 40th anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl.

Grammy Museum Setlist:


  1. Wicked Mind

  2. Dirty Job

  3. Wreckless Abandon

  4. State of Mind

  5. Electric Gypsy

  6. Refugee- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Troubadour Setlist (4/20):


  1. Lighting Boogie

  2. Wicked Mind

  3. Pistol Packin’ Mama- With Scott Thurston

  4. Wreckless Abandon

  5. Irish Girl

  6. External Combustion

  7. Dirty Job

  8. F*ck That Guy

  9. Still Love You

  10. State of Mind

  11. Refugee- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  12. Rat City

  13. Electric Gypsy

  14. In this Lifetime

  15. Sugar No Pants

  16. I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better- The Byrds

  17. Southern Accents- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  18. Don’t Knock the Boogie- With Thurston

  19. Southern Boy


  1. You Wreck Me- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  2. Between Two Worlds- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  3. Route 66 With Thurston- Bobby Troup

  4. You Got Lucky- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  5. Runnin’ Down A Dream- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers