Former Tom Petty keyboardist Benmont Tench isn’t interested in playing again as the Heartbreakers.
He says he’s open to the idea of playing with the others in various groupings, but that things simply aren’t the same without Petty.
“It isn’t the Heartbreakers without – hell, our rhythm guitar player and occasional lead guitar player. It just isn’t the Heartbreakers,” Tench says in a new Kyle Meredith With… interview, which you can listen to in full below. “Without Tom, it’s like, are the Rolling Stones going to play without Keith [Richards]? No. … Led Zeppelin didn’t continue.”
Tench emphasized that he was only speaking for himself, not his bandmates. Guitarist Mike Campbell has admitted to feeling reluctant about reuniting under the Heartbreakers banner, but says it might happen someday under the right circumstances.
“If we had a reason, then I would be all aboard,” Campbell added. “If there was something that makes sense to me as a real reason to do it, but I don’t really feel it right now.”
In the meantime, Tench confirmed that there’s still material in the vault that could potentially be released at some point. “We always recorded more than what we put out, but we always put out what we thought was the very best,” he told Meredith, “but fairly often, I would wonder why a song had been left off the record.”
The extensive Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Live at the Fillmore (1997) box set arrived last month. Tench referenced songs from more recent records, like 2008’s Mudcrutch, 2010’s Mojo, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye and 2016’s Mudcrutch 2. He says there are also “one or two really great songs” that were recorded in 1973 – three years before the band’s debut album – in Tench’s parents’ living room, “completely live to two track.”
Tench isn’t sure if there are any plans release further vault material, since “the cat who knows where everything is buried.” Engineer/producer Ryan Ulyat has been the primary person working on the band’s archival projects since Petty’s death in 2017.
“I hope it comes out because I think it’s cool,” Tench said, “but there’s even more.”
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