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External Combustion, the new album from Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs, is set for release on March 4 via BMG. 

Recorded in mid 2021, the record is Mike Campbell’s second as a band leader, following up Campbell & The Dirty Knobs’ 2020 critically acclaimed debut album, Wreckless Abandon. In celebration of the forthcoming record, Campbell & The Dirty Knobs have premiered their blistering garage-rock single, “Wicked Mind,” alongside a George Mays (My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard, Chicano Batman) directed video.

External Combustion showcases Campbell & The Dirty Knobs’ evolution, pushing the band to a new level, jumping ahead in vision and drive, proving the first record was no one-shot deal. “The band became this spontaneous type of combustion—to borrow a word,” Campbell recalls. “The longer we played, the more intuitive it got.”

Co-produced by Campbell and George Drakoulias (The Black Crowes, The Jayhawks), the 11-track album was recorded at Campbell’s home studio, Hocus Pocus Recorders in Los Angeles. External Combustion also features Margo Price and Ian Hunter as well as piano from fellow Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers founding member Benmont Tench on “Lightning Boogie.” Although Campbell wrote most of the songs on the new album within the past year, two of the tracks had been written in the 90’s, only to be rediscovered in Campbell’s extensive vault of unreleased compositions.

On February 2, SiriusXM’s Tom Petty Radio will premiere “The Breakdown With Mike Campbell,” a monthly conversation show where Campbell is joined by friends, bandmates and collaborators all united by their connection to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, in an intimate conversation about music and life. The first episode will feature a conversation between Campbell and Tench. “We’re going to go down memory lane and break down some of the old stories and impressions we lived through, building this legacy we have with Tom,” notes Campbell.

The Dirty Knobs came together nearly two decades ago, after Campbell met guitarist Jason Sinay (Neil Diamond, Ivan Neville) at a session and liked the way their guitars sounded together. What began as a less structured project for Campbell in between The Heartbreakers’ touring became something else altogether when they added the rhythm section of bassist Lance Morrison (Don Henley) and drummer Matt Laug (Slash, Alanis Morissette).

What followed was several years of intimate, almost incognito, performances in the band’s home base of Los Angeles and surrounding Southern California cities. After all those years playing together, it became clear The Dirty Knobs should take what they were doing to the next level. Following the passing of Campbell’s longtime compatriot, friend and bandmate Tom Petty and his performances with Fleetwood Mac on their 2018-2019 World Tour, The Dirty Knobs released their album Wreckless Abandon in 2020 to widespread praise; Forbes declared, “The aptly titled Wreckless Abandon is a wholly rollicking, joyous affair, a record whose 13 songs recall some of Campbell’s finest recorded moments alongside Petty as co-writer,” while American Songwriter proclaimed, “[Mike Campbell] doesn’t diverge from the essential sound of The Heartbreakers as much as it celebrates and builds on the legacy he helped establish.”

Australian Musician hopes to catch up with Mike Campbell soon. Check out our last chat with Mike HERE

Here’s the track list for the new album.


1. Wicked Mind

2. Brigitte Bardot

3. Cheap Talk

4. External Combustion

5. Dirty Job (featuring Ian Hunter)

6. State Of Mind (Featuring Margo Price)

7. Lightning Boogie

8. Rat City

9. In This Lifetime

10. It Is Written

11. Electric Gypsy

Pre-order External Combustion

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