tommy youngsteen

Another way to dig Tom Petty live this week

Local supergroup / tribute band Tommy Youngsteen play an all-Petty show the night prior to the real thing’s descent on the Bell Centre. In Mile End. For a fraction of the price.

tommy youngsteen
Tommy Youngsteen. Photo by Maya Fuhr

After 40 years and 13 albums as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, it may come as a surprise that the band’s last effort, Hypnotic Eye, is their first #1 record. Having skipped Montreal on their 2010 tour, this is the group’s first local appearance since 1992. But this isn’t a story about Tom Petty — this is about folks who love Tom Petty. I introduce to you, then, Tommy Youngsteen.

Part supergroup (comprising former and current members of the Sam Roberts band, Stars and the Stills), all tribute band, Montreal’s Tommy Youngsteen definitely take rock ’n’ roll music to heart. As their composite names suggests, they usually performs songs by three artists: Tom Petty, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. A little more than stoked about one of their namesakes returning to Montreal, Tommy Youngsteen has planned an all-Tom-Petty tribute night, the day before the Tom Petty show in Montreal.

I spoke to Tommy Youngsteen guitarist Alan Snoddy about their gig.

Natalia Yanchak: What separates Tommy Youngsteen from the average cover band?

Alan Snoddy: We cover three different artists. We stick as much as possible to the original arrangements but we don’t try and copy them exactly. We like to let the musical personalities of all of the guys in the band shine through. Wednesday night is a straight-up tribute to Tom Petty though, which we’ve never done before.

NY: That said, you mention on FB this show will be all the hits and “Even the Losers” — is this for hardcore Tom Petty fans only?

AS: Haha … “Even the Losers” is a Tom Petty song and a weak attempt at a pun on my part, I’m afraid. It’s all hits so I don’t think anyone will walk away with too many missed song requests. Except “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”… [our drummer] Josh Trager won’t play that…

NY: Have any of your idols ever recognized your work?

AS: We played in Kingston once the night before a Neil Young gig and apparently a DJ at K-Rock there mentioned our name to him on the air and Neil said, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of those guys.” Maybe he was just being nice though.

NY: Do you cover any other artists, aside from the “big three”?

AS: Sometimes we drag out some Stones, the Band, AC/DC, Dylan, Van Morrison if people ask, or for encores, but we try and stick to the big three. Combined, it must be about a 1,500-song catalogue, so there is plenty to choose from.

NY: What, if not songwriting or the creation of original art, motivates the project?

AS: It honestly just came about by playing the songs for fun at each others’ houses and setting up one gig for fun a while back. About 50 shows later, it’s hard to believe we intended to play only once! ■

Tommy Youngsteen performs at la Vitrola (4602 St-Laurent) in Montreal on Wednesday Aug. 27, 10 p.m., $10

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at the Bell Centre (1909 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal) in Montreal on Thursday, Aug. 28, 6:30pm, $76-$165

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