Stanley Joseph "Stan" Lynch 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.
Lynch was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., 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."
"I played guitar and piano, and I always thought I was going to be a guitar player," said Lynch. "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 involved in fights at school so his friends reasoned that the high-strung youth might be able to rip the 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."
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!" Drums didn't absorb all of Lynch's feistiness as his parents had hoped, although he stayed in school long enough to graduate from P.K. Yonge School in 1973.
Lynch moved to Los Angeles, and hooked up again with fellow Floridian Ron Blair, during a recording session set up by Benmont Tench in 1976. The session also included Jacksonville native Mike Campbell. Benmont called Tom Petty, also from Gainesville, to ask for some help with some vocals. While they were taking a break Petty looked into the recording studio and thought to himself "this should be my band". Petty had come out to LA with his band Mudcrutch, which Tench and Campbell were originally a part of, and had a recording contract. But once in LA the producers decided they were not keen on the rest of the band, so it broke up, leaving Petty basically a solo act — something he was not happy about. But because he had the record deal already, after the break Petty went back into the studio and started his pitch. By the end of the evening, Lynch and the rest walked out as Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.
After being with the Heartbreakers, Lynch calmed down. "Tom told me, 'Look man, you can call anybody anything you want...but you can't lay a hand on anyone in this band.' " 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 Campbell, Tench and Epstein did.
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.