To me, Tom Petty is the embodiment of rock and roll. Rock and roll is rebelliousness and freedom. But not just 'rebelling' to rebel. It's about standing up for what's right when others of perceived power are telling you to sit down.
It's about having integrity. Admitting when you've made a mistake. And rock and roll is about having fun. I believe we're here to have fun.
I came across this piece and it pretty much encapsulates all the reasons I've always had mad respect for Tom Petty as a human being. He lead quietly, kindly, with an intelligent sense of humor and not a lotta room for bullsh*t.
He realized his calling early on and lived it out loud...while strumming his Rickenbacker.
I was asked yesterday what my favorite Tom Petty song is ("Saving Grace"), how many times I'd seen him. I honestly don't know, 4, 5, 6 times? I went to see him when he played the House of Blues with Mudcrutch last year. Great show (read more HERE). (I'd completely forgotten I saw him on the Dylan/Petty Tour in '86.)
It doesn't matter to me that I didn't see Tom Petty every time they rolled through town. (I seriously just remembered this moment that I drove down to Hershey Pa. by myself to see them...and I'd always wanted to go to Hershey Park. I really am the queen of multitasking.)
What does matter to me is that Tom Petty represented a way of being in the world. For me, the music was simply the audio form of that being.
I always got excited when he put out a new album because I knew there would be something on it that would resonate. I remember I bought their most recent album, Hypnotic Eye. I listened to it a few times at home and in the jeep and then I put it aside for about a year or more. One day I was like "oh yea...let me listen to this again." I threw it on in the jeep and couldn't stop listening to it.
Little did I know it would be his last studio album. Unless they have some 'previously unreleased' stuff which often happens, it will be the last of the new Tom Petty songs. Which sucks. But what sucks worse is that he was one of the few genuine souls to inhabit this plane and now he's crossed over to the other side.
I read a book (The Currency of Life, Mark Klein) that talked about Earth being a 'training ground' for souls for what's next. Maybe Tom is needed more there. But he's certainly going to be missed here.
"Rock and roll songs are just cheap shit-nothing deeper than that." - Tom Petty Tom Petty seemed to embody something that has always been perfect about rock 'n' roll music. The spirit of the songs, at its purest, is one of freedom and unpretentiousness.