Writer Randy Lewis introduced the article with a chilling realization: “This is not the Tom Petty story that I intended to write.” Conducting an interview with Petty, 66-years-old at the time, and just a few days before his death, Lewis later wrote, “I had no clue that this would turn out to be the last, for me and for him.”
In the interview, Petty addressed hitting the road with The Heartbreakers on their massively successful 40th Anniversary Tour. “This year has been a wonderful year for us,” said Petty. “This has been that big slap on the back we never got.”
Petty was also excited to continue mentoring upcoming L.A. rock band, The Shelter. “They’ve been on the road for a year and we got together recently,” Petty said. “They played me some of their new stuff and I was just blown away.”
In addition, he also opened up about his love of hosting his SiriusXM radio show. “I love doing my ‘Buried Treasure’ show,” Petty confessed. “It keeps me listening like I used to do. I always listen. I could come home and I would spend the rest of the night just lying on the floor or the sofa listening to albums. It was like a movie to me. I still do really, and doing the radio show ensures that I’ll be sitting there listening.”
Petty, who was active as a musician for 47 years before is untimely death, never stopped working. “It’s hard for me… If I don’t have a project going, I don’t feel like I’m connected to anything. I don’t even think it’s that healthy for me. I like to get out of bed and have a purpose,” he admitted.
“To go into a studio and hear the band play [a new song] for the first time is always exciting,” Petty added. “And usually when they play it, it became something I hadn’t even pictured. Yes, I love the studio. I love the studio as much as I love playing live, easily. I’m pretty much in one every day, and I’m still at that.”
Ultimately, Petty’s life was cut short after suffering cardiac arrest on Monday, Oct. 2, but he left the world the same way he arrived: a true rock star to the core.
“We’re a real rock ’n’ roll band — always have been,” he said of The Heartbreakers. “And to us, in the era we came up in, it was a religion in a way. It was more than commerce, it wasn’t about that. It was about something much greater.”
He added, “It was about moving people, and changing the world, and I really believed in rock ’n’ roll — I still do. I believed in it in its purest sense, its purest form… It’s unique to have a band that knows each other that long and that well.”
Petty concluded: “I’m just trying to get the best I can get out of it.”