Mike Campbell Discusses His New Gig with Fleetwood Mac and an Epic New Tom Petty Box Set

(Image credit: Pamela Littky)

Speak with Mike Campbell for any length of time, and a word that will pop up repeatedly in the conversation is “bittersweet”. And how else to describe the last few months for the guitarist? He is clearly still in mourning for his band mate and friend Tom Petty, who passed away October 2, 2017, at age 66, after accidentally overdosing on the prescription drugs he was taking to treat a fractured hip, emphysema and knee problems, among other health issues. “It’s only been a year since I lost my friend,” Campbell says to Guitar World, just minutes into this interview. But even while he continues to come to grips with such a devastating personal and professional loss, Campbell is excited about his present musical state of affairs, as the new guitarist in Fleetwood Mac following Lindsey Buckingham’s split with the band this past January.

As Campbell tells it, the call to join the legendary outfit, which came right around his 68th birthday — on February 1, 2018 — was wholly unexpected. “I was sitting in my backyard and contemplating my life,” he says. “Still grieving, but just sort of taking in all the changes. And the phone rang, and it was [drummer] Mick [Fleetwood], who I actually knew very little. I had met him and played a few sessions with him over the years, but we never really connected beyond that. And he said to me, ‘I’ve been listening to your music a lot the last several days, and whether you know or not, Lindsey has left the band and we have a tour coming up.’ ”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.