Episode 36: Benmont Tench of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Benmont Tench, founding member of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, has played on nearly every Petty album over the years -- even the ones not credited to the Heartbreakers, such as Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers. His trademark keys are all over classic songs like "Refugee," "The Waiting," "Don't Do Me Like That" and so many more, which you can hear on the recently-reissued Greatest Hits 2LP set, now back on vinyl for the first time in over 20 years, with an alternate cover to boot! Tench is also a member of Mudcrutch with Petty and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell (a group that pre-dates the Heartbreakers, who released and toured on their second album earlier this year) and has performed/recorded with a staggering list of music's elite, including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams and Fiona Apple. Today, Benmont gives us one of the most passionate arguments for vinyl that we've been lucky enough to share on the podcast. There's plenty of Petty talk here, but Ben's strident defense of musicians getting their due, his concern about America's current "war on beauty," and his humility in having worked with some of the best songwriters in the business make this one of my favorite interviews I've ever done.

If you're in LA or NYC, Benmont will be performing songs from his 2014 solo album You Should Be So Lucky as well as other tunes on Oct. 30th at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Los Angeles and November 10th at The Iridium in New York City. More info on those dates and Ben's music can be found at benmonttench.com or tompetty.com. Follow Ben on Twitter @benchten and Instagram @benmonttench.

SPONSORS: Pinwheel Records, 1722 W. 18th St. in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood; KeepersRecordClub.com, where you can save 10% on all subscriptions with promo code VINYLEMERGENCY at check out; and Vinyl For A Cause, promoting charitable good, one record sale at a time.

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James Laczkowski