Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell Mulling Wildflowers Tribute Show, Album With New Singer

Tom Petty’s death hit everyone hard, and it hit the Heartbreakers even harder. When Petty died suddenly of an accidental overdose last October, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell thought that the rest of the band might never perform together again. “I just couldn’t think about doing that,” he tells Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I thought it would just be too sad since we’d be missing our other brother.”

But a few months ago, back in April, Campbell, Benmont Tench, and Steve Ferrone reunited to play with Beck at the Light Up The Blues benefit concert for Autism Speaks. It was their first performance since Petty’s death, but it probably won’t be their last. “Of course we’ll play again someday,” Campbell says in that same interview, contemplating the band’s future. “We love each other too much not to do that.”

There’s nothing specific in the works yet, and Campbell has a busy schedule of touring with Fleetwood Mac ahead of him. But on the heels of the upcoming box set out next week, the Heartbreakers are hoping to release a Wildflowers box set, and Campbell thinks that might be an opportunity to perform. “It would be a great tribute to Tom to just do that album,” he says. “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.”

Even if that does happen, though, that doesn’t mean that an arena tour of old Petty songs with a new singer will. “We’ll never go out with Paul Rodgers [who performed with Queen for five years] or someone else,” Campbell says. “Nobody can fill those shoes. I can’t fill them and I don’t know anybody else that I would want to fill them.”

More likely, however, is the prospect of new music with a different singer. “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.”