Stan Lynch

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Stan Lynch
Born (1955-05-21) May 21, 1955 (age 68)
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Occupation Songwriter, musician

Stanley Joseph "Stan" Lynch (born May 21, 1955) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. He was the original drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for 18 years until his departure in 1994.[1]

Early years

Lynch was born in the U.S. city of Cincinnati,[2] Ohio, and moved to Gainesville, Florida, in the early 1960s. He began playing music as a small child. As a teenager growing up near Gainesville, Lynch determined that he would find a way to make a living with music. “As a kid I had very little opportunity. I was a marginal student. I wasn’t going to college. My parents didn’t have money.”[citation needed]

“I played guitar and piano, and I always thought I was going to be a guitar player,” said Lynch.[citation needed] “The drums were sort of a happy accident. I didn’t really think that they would be my ticket out of the ghetto. Choosing to be a musician back then was not like choosing a job, but an entire lifestyle. My father looked at me as if I were going to wear a dress and dance in the circus.”

Lynch was always getting into fights at school so his folks reasoned that the high-strung youth might be able to expel some aggression with drums. His parents made him take lessons before they bought him a kit, and he recalls with a laugh, "as soon as I got my first set they took up tennis—they just split, and I don’t blame them."[citation needed]

The Heartbreakers

Lynch started to work with various Florida bands, among them Styrophoam Soule and Road Turkey, and when he was 15 he met Ron Blair, who was six years older than Lynch. "I remember he accused me of stealing an amp from him. Hell, I didn’t steal it. I was roadieing for him!" Alas, drums didn’t absorb all of Lynch’s feistiness as his parents had hoped. And he did stay in school long enough to graduate from P.K. Yonge School in 1973.

By the time Lynch moved to Los Angeles he hooked up with fellow Floridian Ron Blair during a recording session set up By Benmont Tench. The session also included fellow Gainesvilleite Mike Campbell. Benmont called Tom Petty, also a Gainesville native, to ask for some help with some vocals. Once there, while they were taking a break, Tom looked into the recording studio and thought to himself "this should be my band". Tom had come out to LA with his band Mudcrutch, which Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell were originally a part of, and had a recording contract, but once in LA the producers decided they really weren't keen on the rest of the band so it broke up leaving Petty basically a solo act, something he wasn't happy about. So seeing as he had the record deal already, after the break, Tom went back into the studio and started his pitch and by the time the evening was done, Stan Lynch and the rest all walked out as Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in 1976. After being with the Heartbreakers, Lynch had calmed down a little. "Tom told me, 'Look man, you can call anybody anything you want...but you can’t lay a hand on anyone in this band.' " Still, Lynch remained the self-admitted wild man, the most volatile member, subject to radical mood changes, the most temperamental and the biggest griper.[citation needed] Even though he was still in the band in 1989, Lynch did not perform on any songs on Petty's solo album Full Moon Fever, even though Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein did. When performing songs such as "Free Fallin'" and "I Won't Back Down" on stage between 1989 and 1994, Lynch voiced his opinion strongly, saying he "felt as if [he] was in a cover band." In 1994, shortly after leaving, he was temporarily replaced by Dave Grohl and permanently replaced by Steve Ferrone.

For his part, Lynch felt that he had just begun to play well on the band’s fourth and fifth albums, Hard Promises and Long After Dark. "[I’d] gotten looser, more pliable over the years," he commented. "When I listen to our first couple of albums, I think that I sound stiff." As Lynch's ability increased, so did the offers to play with other artists, creating experience that covers a wide variety of musical territory. Lynch contributed to albums by the following artists:

After the Heartbreakers

Eventually, the tension Lynch and Petty had always experienced turned irreconcilable, leading to Lynch's departure. His last gig with the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was on October 2, 1994, at the Bridge School Benefit Concert in Mountain View, California. Upon leaving the band, he moved back to Florida, where he partnered with longtime friend Don Henley to help put together Eagles' reunion album Hell Freezes Over. He also has toured with Eagles.

Lynch gave away his drum sets and now works as a producer and songwriter in St. Augustine. He teaches children the drums a few times a week at a high school friend's music store in Gainesville.

As a producer, Lynch has worked with a diverse array of talent, such as The Band, Eagles, Don Henley, Jackopierce, Joe 90, Scotty Moore, and Sister Hazel.

As a songwriter, he also has a penchant for collaborating with a variety of personalities. He’s co-written with or written for numerous acts, including Matraca Berg, Meredith Brooks, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Jeff Healey Band, James House, June Pointer, Eddie Money, Toto, Tora Tora, Sister Hazel and Ringo Starr, and the album What A Cryin’ Shame by the Mavericks.

Tim McGraw recorded "Back When", a song Stan Lynch wrote with Stephony Smith and Jeff Stevens, for his album Live Like You Were Dying. The song went to No. 1 in early December 2004.

Lynch did reunite with his former bandmates in 2002 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, playing “American Girl” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”.

Tom Petty had the following to say about Lynch, included in his 2005 book, Conversations with Tom Petty:

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Stan was a little younger than us. But he was a very good drummer and he was really conscientious, and he worked really hard. And he sang as well. He sang harmony. He was like our main harmony singer in the days before Howie. He was a powerhouse onstage. He reminded me sort of [like] Keith Moon in a way. He was so powerful I used to say he had this fifth gear that he could go into and just really make everything explode. He was really good at that, and he knew the songs really well. He and I had incredibly good communication onstage; he could read the movement of my shoulder. He could go anywhere I wanted to go. He never took his eyes off me. Anything I did was accented on the drums. Any movement I made. We had great eye communication where I could turn around and look at him, and he knew just exactly what I wanted to do.


Lynch was involved in a five year relationship with actress Louise "Wish" Foley whom he met while he and the rest of the band were on set shooting a production for the Tom Petty song "Don't Come Around Here No More". Foley played the main blond haired Alice in Wonderland character in the video.


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  2. According to Colin Larkin, Gainesville is Lynch's place of birth.

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