“We’ve all got friends on the East Coast.” Guitarist John McAllister talks about the benefit gig to help the Red Cross effort for Hurricane Sandy victims that he and his band, the PettyBreakers, are spearheading. “We have a lot of friends who are touring musicians and who are off tour during the winter months. We’d been talking about doing something good, you know, and then we became aware of the hurricane.” One thing led to another. A concert was planned with some of the band’s friends, including Jesse Valenzuela from the Gin Blossoms, guitarist Keith Scott from the Bryan Adams band, blues guitar rising star Joe Bonamassa, and Ron Blair, bassist from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
“We felt Ron’s addition would make the perfect addition to this group,” says Oceanside rock photographer Rick Gould, who is helping the PettyBreakers organize the show, “since the PettyBreakers are a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band and Blair already knows the material.” He laughs.
The PettyBreakers were San Diego Music Award nominees in 2012. They launched in 2009, says McAllister, 48, of Solana Beach, who covers the Mike Campbell guitar parts. Ozzie Mancinelli is Tom Petty in the band. The problem with running such a group, McAllister says, is that “the songs sound deceptively simple. When you try to re-create the sound that is on the record, you hear all these little subtle things happening.” He explains that understanding the way that Petty’s arrangements work is the key to a Heartbreaker tribute band’s success. Gould says the show’s review-style format will have each of the guests performing with the PettyBreakers and showcasing their individual favorite Heartbreakers material as well as playing a song or two of their own. Gould says to expect more surprise guests and merch raffles. For those who can’t attend, donations will be accepted at pettybreakers.com.
The PettyBreakers: Hurricane Sandy benefit at Belly Up, Sunday, January 6, 7:30 p.m. 858-481-8140, $25 advance/$27 door