Sometimes I get discouraged,I remember, sometime in late 1976, hearing Breakdown for the first time on the radio and thinking there was something there that set this new kid apart from everything else we'd been hearing. There was the validation of the viewpoint when Roger McGuinn covered American Girl on his Thunderbyrd LP.
Sometimes I feel so down,
Sometimes I get so worried,
And I don't know what about.
But it works out in the long run,
It always goes away,
I've come now to accept it
As a reoccurring phase.
Why worry 'bout the rain?
Why worry 'bout the thunder?
Century City's got everything covered.
By the end of 1979, I had just graduated High School, and I recall being in line at Tower Records, Sunset Blvd, to pick up "Damn the Torpedoes" on the day it was released. I'd already heard much of it on the radio - Refugee for sure, maybe Here Comes My Girl or Even the Losers - but nothing that could have prepared me for Louisiana Rain.
Today that rain is falling just like tears, running down my face, washing out the years, soaking through my shoes. I will never be the same since that album played through. It may only be 36 minutes and 38 seconds, but it opened up the possibilities of what a rock and roll record could be. Now it's just the normal noises in here.
I can't say I remember which was the first time I saw Tom Petty and Heartbreakers play live, but there were many shows, from Hollywood's Universal Amphitheater to Sacramento's Arco Arena.
One of my best concerts ever: Bob Dylan, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers all together (1985?). Three hours of nonstop music. Tom & the band - Tom, Bob, & the band - Tom & Bob acoustic - Bob and the band - just the Heartbreakers - everybody all together.
My other favorite show was maybe the last time I saw Tom Petty. It was the Mudcrutch reunion tour a few years ago, and they played the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. It was great to see Tom having fun with his old buddies, back in a smaller venue outside of the areneas, not needing to be the lead man on every song.
We missed the final tour this past few months. Tickets were already sold out at 10:01 am, one minute after going on sale. He'd announced it would be the last "Big Tour" and that was fine with me. I hoped it would lead to more Mudcrutch type shows: intimate affairs with the long-time fans, where we'd all rock together. I didn't imagine that could really be the final tour.
Tom Petty was taken from us last night way too early, following an afternoon of rumors and premature headlines.
Today my thoughts are with his kids, and young grand-kids, and with the guys in the band. Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench have been the rock Tom rolled against from the start, and they form the basis of the most under-rated back-up band ever. Mike, Benmont, and the rest are all incredible musicians in their own right, and I hope I have not seen or heard the last from them.
How about a cheer for all those bad girls
And the boys who play that rock and roll
They love it, like you love Jesus
It does the same thing to their souls