American Girl - Petty Criminals

The Band

Petty Criminals was formed in early 2018 by Nigel Minchin. Although he has been a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers since the late 1970s, when he first heard Refugee, he had lost track of what Tom Petty had been doing in recent years as he got little media exposure in the UK and rarely toured Europe. After Tom Petty died Nigel revisited his back catalogue and discovered many hidden gems and also realised how much he loved the music. After recruiting other members, they started to put together a list of songs to play and eventually recruited Andrew Zsigmond (after Nigel met him in a guitar shop and they bonded over favourite guitars and the benefits of D’Addario strings) on guitar and Pete ‘Peroni’ Wright on Drums. Since then Dave Shalloe and Philip Raby have completed the lineup. Seb Wesson is our Mike Campbell dep.

Petty Criminals try to be as authentic as possible to the sound and approach of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, including playing Rickenbacker guitars, dressing similarly and wearing Ray Ban sunglasses! Whilst they recreate the sound as closely as possible, Nigel has made the conscious decision not to pretend to be Tom Petty himself, with a blond wig and a fake American accent. The shows use a bespoke backdrop and stories to put the songs in context.

Nigel Minchin Tom Petty profile

Nigel Minchin (Tom Petty) – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica

Nigel began his musical career in the choir at primary school. After taking up the electric guitar in his teenage years, he played in numerous bands during the 1980s, mainly blues, psychedelic and goth rock as a guitarist and lead or backing singer. After several years hiatus during the 1990s, he was persuaded to join a Neil Young tribute band and played the great man in various venues over a 4-year period. During the 2000s Nigel returned to choir singing and also sang in the chorus of a local opera production, Alban. The untimely death of Tom Petty in October 2017 was the catalyst to listen again to his music. The realisation that he loved to play the songs and that his voice suited the range and qualities of Tom Petty’s, prompted him to look for like-minded musicians to form an authentic and quality tribute band to the late-great Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Favourite Tom Petty song to sing – Room At The Top.

andrew zsigmond image

Andrew Zsigmond (Mike Campbell) – Guitar, Backing Vocals

Andrew, hailing from Liverpool, is a professional musician since the early 80’s, working with projects on RCA, Columbia, Sony and EMI records, and has toured as opener for the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Richard Marx (oh, the hair…), Don Henley, Tina Turner and many others. He has also produced, managed, tour managed, guitar tech-ed and engineered for a living. With his wife he moved to the USA to pursue her musical career for a total of 19 years in California and Connecticut. Andrew also performed in the US underground circuit joining a rich community of musicians in New Haven, CT and the North East. You can find out more at his personal website – He moved back to the UK in 2017 and joined the St. Albans music community, met Nigel in a guitar shop and was asked to play the part of Mike Campbell in Petty Criminals. Although originally not a fan, he has rapidly grown to love Tom’s music and appreciate the man greatly. Playing Mike Campbell’s parts is a real treat. Favourite Tom Petty song – Honey Bee.

Philip Raby as Benmont Tench

Philip Raby (Benmont Tench) – Keyboards

After many years moving and storing his late father’s VOX Continental organ, Philip decided to have it restored to full working order. It was a simple matter of taking this iconic piece of the British 60’s music scene to the experts and parting with sack full of cash. Six weeks later in October 2010 Philip became the poorer, but proud and privileged owner of a fully working Vox Continental II organ. The next step proved to be a little harder: Learning how to play it! Philip is self-taught, learning to read music, play scales and chords and then, progressing onto his local live music scene. When there’s room on-stage, the Vox Continental is in the show along with the Hammond, piano, synthesiser and Leslie speaker. Claim to fame? Some years ago, Philip jostled Alan Price at the bar to get served at the Bull at Barnes. Favourite Tom Petty song – Saving Grace.

pete wright drummer image

Pete ‘Peroni’ Wright (Stan Lynch/Steve Ferroni) – Drums

Pete’s passion for music began at an early age. His parents bought his first kit when he was just seven years old and consequently the hapless neighbourhood were subjected to an unrelenting storm of flams and paradiddles. By the time he was fifteen he had graduated to rattling the dental fillings of a real-life audience in a semi professional pop/rock group. The pub rock circuit was vibrant and he played in a number of wayward bands on occasion supporting bigger acts including Mungo Jerry and Steeleye Span. His most notable achievement was receiving a lifetime ban from the Little Chef Restaurant chain. He was also sick on a tortoise once. Pete resided with a number of function bands for many years until fate took a hand and a Tom Petty impersonator spirited him away, and the rest is history. Favourite Tom Petty song – Refugee.

© Petty Criminals 2021.
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