“We like to play both outdoors (at Music on the Mountain) and indoors (at Holmes),” Mark Childers, the band’s bassist, said in an interview with Zoom on Wednesday. “It’s gonna be fun.”
The group also can’t wait to spend a few days in the heart of the Minnesota Lake District during the Detroit Lakes Northwest Water Carnival.
“We are delighted to be coming to Detroit Lakes,” said Ty Smith, the band’s lead singer, adding that he was very impressed with what he had seen of the Holmes Theater facilities online.
Although they have only been performing together as The Heartshakers for a few years now, Childers said they all had extensive experience as professional musicians. “I play for Carrie Underwood, Ty played for Easton Corbin and Ronny Milsap – he’s a drummer by trade,” he added. “Our guitarist also plays for Leann Rimes – everyone does whatever they want when we’re not together.”
All five of the band members landed on the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers not only because of their mutual love of music, but also because of Smith’s eerie resemblance to the American rock icon.
“It was kind of crazy how it all started,” Smith said. “It was in the mid-2000s… I was playing in Los Angeles with a guy named Gary Puckett (from famous Union Gap)… we had finished our show and this lady came up to me and asked: Someone you Said it, do you look like Tom Petty? ‘”
When he said yes, the lady asked him if he could sing like Petty too, so Smith sang a few bars of one of the Heartbreakers’ most famous hits.
“She pulled out that business card and said, ‘I’m booking a tribute show in (Las) Vegas, and I’d like to book you. “”
Although Smith was obviously flattered by his interest, he said, “I was too busy being a touring musician at the time.” So he refused it.
It wasn’t until about a decade and a half later that he and Childers came up with the idea of doing their own Petty tribute show. Although they decided on the concept before Petty’s unexpected death in 2017, it wasn’t until after the singer’s death that it became reality.
“I only really knew him as a drummer,” Childers noted, but once he heard Smith’s voice he thought, “He’s really good at it, connecting with an audience. . “
“We do about 20-21 songs,” Smith said. “We obviously cover all the hits, but we also try to work on some of them in a way that only true Petty fans will know. We have a few surprises in there.”
For example, he added, a lot of people don’t know that Petty and her guitarist, Mike Campbell, wrote some of the band’s hits together – and Campbell wrote a few for other musicians in course. Some of those songs could have been Heartbreakers hits as well, Smith said.
“Campbell wrote this song and brought it to Tom, who passed it on,” he recalls. “So he brought it to his good friend Don.”
The song, titled “The Boys of Summer”, became the single biggest hit in the solo career of Eagles singer-drummer Don Henley. He also made the cut for the Heartshakers playlist.
“We do it kind of in a cool way,” Smith said. “I let our guitarist – who’s also a great singer – do a little bit of it, and I’m showing people how it could have been a Tom Petty song.”
Although their show is expected to be around 90 minutes long, he added, “Sometimes if I feel very sassy it can go a little longer – because I’ve talked so much.”
Like many musicians, the Heartshakers only recently started performing live again, after an unexpected COVID-related hiatus that lasted for several months.
“We’ve done about four shows so far,” Childers said. “We are really enjoying what is going on.”
At a recent show, the audience “didn’t stop dancing the night away,” he added. “They were having a good time.
“We can’t wait to get to Minnesota,” Childers continued. “We heard that there are a lot of Tom Petty fans out there, so we’re pretty happy to be here.”
If you are going to
What: “The Heartshakers: A Tom Petty Experience”
Or: Historic Holmes Theater, 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes
When: Wednesday July 14, 7:30 p.m.
How? ‘Or’ What: All tickets $ 30; order online at dlccc.org/holmes-theatre.html or call 218-844-7469.