This is a terrific story about the guitarist from my favorite band, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and a remarkable young fan:
One night in front of the computer, Griffin was watching footage of a 1985 concert.
“And Mike Campbell, the lead guitar player from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, came out playing this really cool-looking guitar,” he says.
What he saw was a highly modified — and very red — Fender Telecaster that the band called “The Red Dog.” It’s the same guitar Campbell had used for the recording of its hit song “Refugee.” The Red Dog is a one-of-a-kind custom build.
“I knew right away I wasn’t going to be able to find it at a Guitar Center somewhere,” Black says, “so I figured I’d have to build it myself.”
So the Vienna, Va., teen re-created The Red Dog using parts from Ebay and rare instrument dealers.
Campbell chatted with Black for a bit and then asked to see the guitar. Campbell remarked that it looked and felt similar to the original Red Dog, played a few riffs and then asked to play it.
“At first I was a little confused because he was already playing it,” Black says. “But then he said, ‘No, I want to play it onstage for ‘You Don’t Know How it Feels,’ and I just said ‘absolutely.’ ”
So for the second song that July night, Campbell grabbed the guitar and did something Black won’t soon forget.
“As I was playing it, looked out in the audience and I saw him,” Campbell says of Black, who was in the third row. “His face was lit up like a Christmas tree, so I was glad that I did it.”
Thanks to Josh for passing this on to me.