Tom Petty‘s last ever interview has been released. It took place just a week prior to his death.
US music icon Petty suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in California on Sunday (October 1) and died in hospital a day later (October 2) at the age of 66.
“This is not the Tom Petty story that I intended to write,” journalist Randy Lewis writes. “This is not the way things were supposed to happen.”
During the interview, Petty discussed feeling restless when not working, saying: “I just have to learn to rest a little bit, like everyone’s telling me. I need to stop working for a period of time.”
“It’s hard for me,” he added. “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 also discussed being ill with laryngitis in August, which caused him to postpone a few shows. “I don’t think I’ve missed a show in many, many years,” he said. “It freaked me out so bad, because it came out of nowhere… My doctor said ‘I don’t think you’ve been sick — I’m looking in my records — in over 17 years, since I’ve seen you sick with anything. And I’m always like, ‘I don’t get sick.’ But, [stuff] happens.”
“My doctor said, ‘Despite great evidence to the contrary, it seems you’re human.’ But I take care of myself on the road. If you’re a singer, you’ve got to be responsible, it’s a physical thing, you have to be in shape.”
Petty also stated that only death could split his band The Heartbreakers up. “If one of us went down,” he said, “or if one of us died — God forbid — or got sick… Then we’d stop. I think that would be the end of it, if someone couldn’t do it.”
Petty formed The Heartbreakers in 1976, and their self-titled debut album was released the same year. It featured Petty’s classic song ‘American Girl’. Petty’s breakthrough came with his band’s third album ‘Damn the Torpedoes’ in 1979. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers last released an album in 2014 in the form of 13th LP ‘Hypnotic Eye’.
As well as his career with the Heartbreakers, Petty also co-founded supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.
Along with the tributes from Petty’s musical peers, his daughter Kimberly Violette also shared her experiences of her father, recalling how she had been present at Petty’s last ever gig at the Hollywood Bowl last week.
“One week ago today I was watching my dad play we showed up rushed to our seats”, she said.
“I got stoned had a beer the lights went dark ,sat watching realizing I grew up on these songs. Everyone grew up on these songs. This is real American Art made from the roots of real people who deeply love life, my father loves music more than anything and always put music first.”