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Mudcrutch: Tom Petty's Florida Roots

Posted: Mar 23, 2008

The surprise announcement of Mudcrutch's reunion is welcome news to the Swampland Footprint.  Mudcrutch is an essential chapter in Tom Petty's career.

Mudcrutch evolved out of an early Gainesville, FL band of Petty's called the Epics.  The Epics also featured a guitarist (Petty played bass) by the name of Tom Leadon whose brother Bernie was a member of the Eagles. 

Mudcrutch became a crucial Gainesville band organizing events like the "Mudcrutch Farm Festival" and other "hippie" events around town.  Jeff Calder, later of the Swimming Pool Q's recalls his time in Gainesville as a graduate instructor at the University of Florida that neatly connects Mudcrutch to writer Harry Crews.

Mudcrutch recorded one single at the famous Criteria Studios in Miami before Los Angeles became their destination of choice

Leadon's LA connection (via his brother) brought Mudcrutch out to LA and to the attention of Leon Russell's Shelter Records which was based in both LA and Russell's hometown of Tulsa.  Mudcrutch only released one official single for Shelter (Depot Street" was the A-side with "Wild Eyes") before the group disbanded.  By that point, Mudcrutch featured original Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.

Out of Mudcrutch, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were formed, signed to Shelter, and the rest is history.  (An amazing history which can be seen in the documentary Runnin' Down A Dream directed by Peter Bogdanovich.)

The 2008 version of Mudcrutch features Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Tom Leadon, and Randall Marsh.  They will play several West Coast dates followed by the release of the first official Mudcrutch record on April 29.

Mudcrutch represented a critical time in Petty's musical crossroads connecting his early pop leanings with Southern Rock stylings to his Shelter connections (ie Dwight Twilley) to his current Los Angeles home.

Swampland looks forward to hearing the new music.

                      

      An Early Photo of Mudcrutch

In Conversations With Tom Petty, Petty discussed the last days of Mudcrutch when they recorded at Leon Russell's house when the band recorded "Hometown Blues":

Yeah, that was the dying days of Mudcrutch. Mudcrutch's last hurrah. And that's why there's a couple of them on the record. And the record didn't really take shape until Duck Dunn played his bass line. That was the last throws of me being a solo artist, was how that track started.

I did bring The Heartbreakers in, and they overdubbed to the track. But the basic track was Randall Marsch, Mudcrutch's drummer, and Duck Dunn playing the bass. And Charlie Sousa, in the last few minutes of Mudcrutch, we brought him in to be the bass player. and he really didn't know how to play the sax, but he was playing it. and it got this really kind of STAX sound.

It was on a tape at Leon's house that someone already used. So I erased that tape and recorded over that. And I actually engineered the basic track. Because there was nobody around...

Mudcrutch Tour Dates

April 12- Benefit For The Midnight Mission at Malibu PAC, Malibu, CA
April 14 - Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz, CA
April 16- Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
April 17- Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
April 19- Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA
April 20- Ventura Theater, Ventura, CA
April 22- Concerts in The Park, Alpine, CA
April 25- Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
April 26- Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
April 28- Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
April 29- Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA

Go to the official Mudcrutch site HERE

James Calemine

related tags

Mystery and Manners,
Tulsa,
Miami,
Florida,
Lore,
Music,

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What a hoot. Good album. Love "This is a good street." I was in Hogtown in 73 running with some buds that were actually attending classes while I was busy learning how to cook. My spaghetti and mushrooms was killer. I saw Tom and the boys at the U a couple times and seems like they played in a little bar somewhere close to town. The memory has a few holes in it. The guys on guitars were HOT! Their cover of "not fade away" made me want to pitch my guitar. Blew me away when I discovered on the internet 30 years later that the little scrawny blond guy was Tom. He did well for himself. Good job Tom. And related to nothing here at all, Angelo Dundee's son was at the school that year. Neat kid. Cris maybe was his name. Had a couple of GREAT Ali posters.

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