Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs come to the Fine Line on April 4. This is a replacement for their Covid postponed Twin Cities’ debut. Tickets from the original show are still good. New tickets and details can be found HERE.
If one was to compile a list of the 10 most distinctive lead guitars players to ever strap on an axe, Mike Campbell who stood beside Tom Petty from the very beginning, would be on that list. Like other monster players such as Keith Richards, these guys often have a side project. This is where they scratch another type of personal itch. It’s often infrequent and under the radar, given their busy touring and recording schedules. With Richards it was always the X-Pensive Winos. For Campbell, it was The Dirty Knobs.
For fans of these types, any tour with these projects offers a rare opportunity to see a legend in a club setting. It’s also an opportunity to get a sense for what makes them tick when they’re not working for the boss. With any iconic rock and roll partnership like the Petty/Campbell combination, it’s not a question of who’s the lead dog. It’s an acknowledgement that the journey to the Hall of Fame was like Lewis and Clarke. A path traveled jointly.
The Dirty Knobs are not new. They’ve been Campbell’s longstanding outlet; a break from the rock and roll circus called Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Ask any big time rocker what they miss and they’ll tell you it’s playing an intimate room where they connect directly to the audience. The chance to flow with whatever the muse dictates on any given night. When you’re playing someplace like Xcel, you better bring the hits. Fans paid a boatload to hear them. That’s not what happens when you walk into a place like The Fine Line. For many of us, we’d trade those stadium nights for something unexpected in a small club every day of the week.
When Tom Petty passed away, so many of us were shocked and devastated. Imagine what it must have been like for his long time bandmates. Especially Mike Campbell. Where does one go from here? When you were nowhere near ready to hang ’em up? Campbell immediately found healing in The Dirty Knobs. This one, despite the postponements, has been at the top of my list since it was first announced. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Opening for Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs is Nashville singer/songwriter Jeremy Iver.