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Tom Petty Keyboardist Finds his Groove For 40th Anniversary Trek

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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench revealed that the band didn’t necessarily sweat out long hours in the rehearsal hall before launching their current 40th anniversary tour. Tench spoke to Keyboardmag.com, and explained, “We don’t necessarily do a whole ‘run through.’ And that’s one thing that I really love. We’re in good enough shape — everyone in the band plays all the time. The Heartbreakers haven’t done anything for a while since the Hypnotic Eye tour, but we did get together to play for the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year Award. Mike (Campbell), Tom, and I did the Mudcrutch record, and Ron (Blair)’s always playing. So it isn’t like we’ve been sitting around doing nothing! I play all the time. . .”

Tench shed light on how Petty and the band come about their tour setlists: “Tom will usually say, ‘I don’t know if this one works, or if that one works,’ and usually what we ditch end up being my favorites. But on our first show in Oklahoma City, we opened with ‘Rockin’ Around (With You)’ which was the first song on the first record. I played an ARP String Ensemble on the record, and in Oklahoma City, I got the best ARP sound I could out of the Nord (keyboard). And it was so much fun.”

On whether he gets as much a thrill playing his Hammond B-3 solo on “Refugee” as the fans do, Tench admitted: “You know, I was thinking the other night when I played it on the first gig, that it sounded more like ‘Refugee’ than it had in 15 years. It made me so happy. I’m so loud on this tour! (Laughs). Finally, I’m as loud as Campbell. I thought, ‘The hell with it. I’ll get as loud as the guitars. I’ll just turn up like I’m playing through a Marshall stack!”

Despite the fact that the Heartbreakers have pretty much achieved everything a rock band can ever hope for, Tom Petty remains committed to shaking things up in an effort to keep the band a working and touring live ensemble: “We want to keep this thing fresh, and we really believe in this music — this rock n’ roll music — that we’re playing. And we want to keep it fresh and contemporary, y’know, and avoid any sort of routine to it.”

July 15 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Center
July 16 – Ottawa, ON – RBC Bluesfest at Lebreton Flats Park
July 18 – Clarkson, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 20, 21 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
July 23 – Baltimore, MD – Royal Farms Arena
July 26, 27 – Queens, NY – Forest Hills Stadium
July 29 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
August 17 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
August 19 – Seattle, WA – Safeco Field

Photo Courtesy of PRPhotos.com

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