Local cover band Petty Theft plays at the Granada. Members (left to right) include Rodney Wall, Mike Rhyner and Bill Porter.

Local cover band Petty Theft plays at the Granada. Members (left to right) include Rodney Wall, Mike Rhyner and Bill Porter.

Bill Ellison/

Editor's note: Updates with Mike Rhyner's three favorite Tom Petty songs.

News about rock superstar Tom Petty hit Mike Rhyner harder than most on Monday. 

Rhyner, one of the hosts on Sportsradio KTCK-AM (1310) and KTCK-FM (96.7) The Ticket, saw the initial report on TMZ on his phone. He cursed, then soldiered on for his afternoon gig while keeping up with developments. 

Timeless, revered rocker Tom Petty has died, but he left us with 'American' music

It was particularly tough news because Rhyner, who's about the same age as Petty, fronts a popular Petty tribute band called Petty Theft, which makes its rounds on the local music scene. 

Later in the evening, after the afternoon show, the news was finally confirmed that Petty had died. 

When Rhyner got home, he put on Echo, one of Petty's later albums, then You're Gonna Get It!

Did Petty's death catch Rhyner by surprise? 

"You can't be completely shocked whenever a guy who's been around as long as he has passes away, especially one his age, one whose been what he's been through, gone through the ups and downs of rock and roll and life in general like he has," Rhyner told the Musers in a segment Tuesday morning. 

Danny Balis, Mike Rhyner and Corby Davidsonof the Hard Line, host their show at poolside during The Ticket's Deep Eddy Vodka Summer Bash in 2015.

Danny Balis, Mike Rhyner and Corby Davidsonof the Hard Line, host their show at poolside during The Ticket's Deep Eddy Vodka Summer Bash in 2015.

Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer

Rhyner also confirmed that Petty Theft will go on with its gig at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton on Friday. 

"It is going to be a little weird," Rhyner said. "It might have a very unusual vibe to it. I'm always hoping for a big crowd, but I'd rather it not be under these circumstances." 

Petty Theft (Tom Petty Tribute)

The following are excerpts from Rhyner's interview with the Musers: 

If you were going to listen to one record of his, what would it be? 

I did listen to several of them last night. I spun Echo, which was one of his later ones, his more obscure ones. It's a really, really dark album, compared to most of his other stuff. But I think there's a lot of good stuff on there. It's one that I've been listening to a lot anyway. I spun his second album, You're Gonna Get It!, which somehow got overlooked. Usually when someone puts out their first album, their second comes out and it does even better than the first. This is not the case. Their second somehow got really overlooked, but it is also a good record. 

What drew you to Petty? 

I didn't see him every time he rolled through here. But I saw most of my share of them for sure. The first time I saw him was when he played at the Dallas Convention Center Theater.  Damn the Torpedoes [Petty's third album] was not out then. But I'd had heard enough of his first two records to where I was very intrigued -- because I heard something in those that you weren't hearing on the radio. Rock music was starting to splinter back then. You had punk going on. Dance music was starting to come in. Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young was out. Everyone says that's the forerunner of grunge. So, you had all these different things chipping away at the heart of rock and roll. When I heard Tom Petty, it seemed to me that this was a band of guys who was keeping it real. I wanted to see that. 

Where does Petty rank as an American act? 

He's in the top tier for sure. I'd say he's in the top 5 percent for sure, maybe even higher than that, especially when you look at acts that have come out after he did. For me, there are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, there's him -- and, after that, you work your way down to another tier. 

Did you at any time think of not coming on to do the show? 

No, I did not. No. 1, we had a remote. I was all in. I figured I could fight through it.

Mike Rhyner's top three Petty songs

On a segment on The Hardline later Tuesday, Rhyner listed his favorite three Petty songs: 

1. Straight Into Darkness. 

2. Into The Great Wide Open 

3. Here Comes My Girl 

"All three of these songs have a very distinct mood about them, and the mood of [Here Comes My Girl] always rubbed me the right way," Rhyner said.

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