- Don't Tom around here no more
"The desire to make off with the substance of others is the foremost—the most legitimate—passion nature has bred into us," the Marquis de Sade once wrote, "and, without doubt, the most agreeable one."Greg Cahill
The members of Petty Theft, a local Tom Petty tribute band, might agree and add that the Florida rocker's songs are a treasure ripe for picking.
"Tom Petty's songbook is so deep and varied. We can play for three hours and every song is basically a hit that the audience knows and loves," says Petty Theft guitarist and singer Monroe Grisman. "That's pretty amazing, and very few other artists can claim that besides maybe the Beatles."
Of course, Petty has inspired a thousand tribute bands, including Free Fallin', Full Moon Fever, the Petty Breakers and even a Dallas-based band also known as Petty Theft.
Last week, some of the biggest names in the music industry—including the Black Keys, the Strokes, Kings of Leon and Norah Jones—gathered in New York City at the fifth annual Petty Fest, a benefit for Doctors Without Borders.
Closer to home, the jangle of Petty's distinct brand of Southern rock can be heard on local stages.
Since 2005, when lead vocalist Dan Durkin and bassist Django Bayless first indulged their obsession with all things Petty, the band has rocked more than a house or two while spotlighting some of the best players on the Marin club scene. These days, the band includes Durkin, Bayless, Grisman, guitarist Michael Papenburg, keyboardist Mike Emerson and drummer Adam "Bagel" Berkowitz—veterans of such local bands as the Mother Truckers, American Drag, the Jerry Hannan Band and the 85's.
"We are as a band always revisiting the music both from the studio and live recordings to glean new nuggets that we didn't hear before," Grisman says, "peeling back the layers to get inside of the songs and what makes them tick and click for the audience."
Part of the hard-rockin' band's strength is the ability to steer clear of caricature—no top hats or rose-colored granny glasses—while staying true to Petty's essence. "We have never tried to be Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and never will&—that would be un-Petty-like and totally defeats the spirit of his vibe....
"We play the music and we play it very well and with a lot of love and passion for it. It's really a shared experience as we're really a celebration of the music more than a tribute band—we celebrate together with the fans as we are both fans of Tom Petty.
"So, we're kind of becoming a hub for the party of celebrating Tom and the music."
Breakdown, go ahead and give it to Greg at email@example.com.