How Mike Campbell Created a ‘Gypsy Caravan’ for His Latest Video
The video for "Wicked Mind," the initial single from Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs' forthcoming album featured the guitar legend in a coffin. Thankfully, the second single, "Electric Gypsy" finds Campbell in a less morbid setting.
The longtime guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers calls "Electric Gypsy" one of his favorite tracks on the new album. "The song came to me in a moment of inspiration before a session with the band," he shared on Facebook. "We recorded it that day in one take, guitar solo and all."
The twangy "Gypsy" closes out External Combustion, the second album from the Dirty Knobs, which will arrive March 4. Like 2020's Wreckless Abandon, Campbell co-produced the new record with producer and longtime associate George Drakoulias (Tom Petty, the Black Crowes)
The live feel of the song is indicative of the approach they took with External Combustion as a whole. "We recorded both [Dirty Knobs] albums pretty much live on the floor, all the solos are live, some of the vocals are live," Campbell tells UCR. "We just worked out the arrangements played it two or three times and we would move on to the next song. I like doing things fast. In fact, we did so fast that a lot of the lyrics were being written as we were cutting the track."
The video, which you can watch below, was helmed by George Mays, who also came up with the concept for "Wicked Mind." For "Electric Gypsy," the pair worked together from a "rough idea" that Campbell had in his head. "I said, I want to have a gypsy caravan of some sort, [with] an old truck or something," the guitarist recalls. "A band of gypsies going down the road and getting into trouble here and there or whatever. I gave him that much to work with."
That was more than enough for Mays to grab onto. "He found an old van from the early ‘70s, a green lookin’ thing that looked like a gypsy caravan," Campbell shares. "We got some extra people in there to liven up the party a little bit. We’re going down the road, I’m hitchhiking and I get on the van. We’re doing this song and going through the desert. It’s got a nice vibe to it."
After a few postponed attempts, the Dirty Knobs will finally get on the touring trail in early March, coinciding with the album's arrival. Campbell says it will be a "spiritual release" to be on the road with the group. "It's a great band," he concludes. "I just can't wait to play because I think people will be surprised at how good they are."
Watch the video for 'Electric Gypsy' by Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs