Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
June 30, 1981
Mike Millard Master Tape via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 67
Recording Gear: AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder
Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassettes > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX8 > iZotope Ozone 8 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC
01 American Girl
02 Listen To Her Heart
03 A Thing About You
04 Here Comes My Girl
05 The Waiting
06 I Need To Know
07 Cry To Me (Solomon Burke cover)
08 Don’t Do Me Like That
09 Even The Losers
10 Don’t Bring Me Down (The Animals cover)
11 A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)
12 Insider (with Stevie Nicks)
13 Needles and Pins (The Searchers cover with Stevie Nicks)
14 King’s Road
17 Shout (Isley Brothers cover)
Introduction to the Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Series
Welcome to JEMS’ Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone series presenting recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin done in and around Los Angeles circa 1975-77. For the complete details on how tapes in this series came to be lost and found again, as well as JEMS’ long history with Mike Millard, please refer to the notes in Vol. One: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=500680.
Until 2020, the Lost and Found series presented fresh transfers of previously unavailable first-generation copies made by Mike himself for friends like Stan Gutoski of JEMS, Jim R, Bill C. and Barry G. These sources were upgrades to circulating copies and in most instances marked the only time verified first generation Millard sources had been directly digitized in the torrent era.
That all changed with the discovery of many of Mike Millard’s original master tapes.
Yes, you read that correctly, Mike Millard’s master cassettes, long rumored to be destroyed or lost, have been found. Not all of them but many, and with them a much more complete picture has emerged of what Millard recorded between his first show in late 1973 and his last in early 1992.
The reason the rediscovery of his master tapes is such a revelation is that we’ve been told for decades they were gone. Internet myths suggest Millard destroyed his master tapes before taking his own life, an imprudent detail likely concocted based on the assumption that because his master tapes never surfaced and Mike’s mental state was troubled he would do something rash WITH HIS LIFE’S WORK. There’s also a version of the story where Mike’s family dumps the tapes after he dies. Why would they do that?
The truth is Mike’s masters remained in his bedroom for many years after his death in 1994. We know at least a few of Millard’s friends and acquaintances contacted his mother Lia inquiring about the tapes at the time to no avail. But in the early 2000s, longtime Millard friend Rob S was the one she knew and trusted enough to preserve Mike’s work.
The full back story on how Mike’s master tapes were saved can be found in the notes for Vol. 18 Pink Floyd, which was the first release in our series transferred from Millard’s original master tapes:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Forum, Inglewood, CA, June 30, 1981
Hello again, TTD. The Lost and Found series moves here exclusively this week to release a fine Tom Petty show from the Hard Promises tour. As Jim notes below, this period marked an early peak in popularity for Petty broadly and even more so in Southern California.
Petty’s set draws heavily from his then new album, led by the undeniably catchy single “The Waiting, which received heavy airplay on AOR stations around the country. Stevie Nicks makes a guest appearance on stage, dueting on “Insider” from Hard Promises as well as The Searchers’ “Needles and Pins.” Less than a month after this show, Petty would return the favor on Nicks’ single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which became a pop hit. Petty also served as co-producer for the album it came from, Bella Donna, which launched Nicks’ solo career.
The rest of set includes long versions of Petty classics like “Breakdown” and “Refugee,” plus a couple of other familiar Petty covers, The Animals’ “Don’t Bring Me Down” and the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” to end the show.
As explained by Jim R, he and Mike were seated in front of their sweet spot for taping, so close to the stage that Mike’s recording gets more amp and monitor sound than PA mix. Those of you following the Lost and Found series closely know this phenomenon has happened to other Millard captures, usually resulting in low vocals and moments of uncannily close guitar or other instrumentation.
In mastering, we’ve done our best to rebalance the soundscape. The issue isn’t as pronounced as it is on the Springsteen Sports Arena show we recently released, recorded the same year, but not dissimilar either, though I find the final Petty audio superior. Samples provided.
Here’s what Jim R recalled about the Petty show:
I went with Mike Millard to the Tom Petty concert at The Fabulous Forum on June 30, 1981. We both got our equipment in. Sound and pictures.
Our ticket stubs say Section B Row 4 (fourth row center), but they removed the first two rows of Section B so we actually sat second row center. They did this to extend the stage. Second row is obviously a great location to see a concert, but a little too close for taping purposes. Security is less than ten feet away. Yikes!!! The odds of getting busted go up dramatically. The stage lighting would reflect off of Mike’s mic heads, so I had to check them frequently to make sure they were tucked well into his hat.
In addition to tucked-in mics, sitting second row means the PA was mostly over our heads. All of this contributed to Petty’s vocals sounding on the thin, hollow side. If only they left in the first two rows, I think the sound would have been better. But what can you do? As we knew about the stage set up a few days before, we had the pleasure of telling our friends also sitting in section B that they were moving up two rows.
This tour marked a surge in popularity with Petty playing three nights at The Forum. The year before he played only one. It was a fun concert overall especially given the set list and some of Tom’s comments to the crowd. Stevie Nicks showing up was an added bonus.
I hope you enjoy the show and my pictures as much as Mike and I did.
JEMS is proud to join with Rob, Jim R, Barry G, Ed F and others to release Millard’s historic recordings and to help set the record straight about the man himself.
We can’t thank Rob enough for reconnecting with Jim and putting his trust in our Millard reissue campaign. He kept Mike’s precious tapes under wraps for two decades, but once Rob learned of our methods and stewardship, he agreed to contribute the Millard DATs and cassettes to the program. Our releases would not be nearly as compelling without Jim’s memories, photos and other background contributions. As many of you have noted, the stories offer an entertaining complement to Mike’s incredible audio documents.
Special thanks to Professor Goody for pitching checking this week’s release and to mjk5510 for his essential work on the post-production side of JEMS.
Finally, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work never ceases to impress. May he rest in peace.
BK for JEMS