How often do you get the chance to see a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer for just $12?

The Dirty Knobs are the side project of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers lead guitarist Mike Campbell. A true rock ‘n’ roll band, Campbell once described their sound as “slightly over-driven, less polished, [with] lots of ’60s influence-The Kinks, Zeppelin, The Animals.”

Mike Campbell

The Knobs will return to town for a show at SOhO this Friday, November 21, at 9 p.m. alongside retro-rock band Romeo Delta. And Campbell is no stranger to side projects. “I always was enamored by the way that [Jerry Garcia] had his own little bands that he would go on tour with just for the joy of playing,” he explained in a 2002 interview. “I sort of see The Knobs as something like that.”

In August 2007, Campbell joined-well, rejoined-yet another stellar one-off band. The very public reunion came in the form of Mudcrutch, the original forerunner to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Just over a year ago, Petty invited the band’s entire original cast-including Campbell, Randall Marsh, Tom Leadon, and Benmont Tench-back for a series of tour dates, including a show at Santa Barbara’s own Arlington Theatre.

Campbell is a highly skilled player, but he avoids laying it on too thick. “I don’t think people can really top Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton as far as lead guitar goes. I like my playing to bring out the songs,” he explained.

The Dirty Knobs seem content to live in relative anonymity. Since Campbell is often on tour with the Heartbreakers and Mudcrutch, the band doesn’t get to hit the road as often as anyone would like, and even when they do, they try to stick to smaller venues around the perimeters of L.A. In fact, the band is so modest they don’t even have a MySpace page.

Even still, The Knobs’ talent is a force to be reckoned with, and for fans of classic rock, SOhO will be the place to be this Friday night. For tickets and info, call 962-7776 or visit


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