The Petty Archives

Tom Petty | Damn the Torpedoes (Deluxe Edition) | Geffen | Rating: ★★★★
By Paula Carino
American Songwriter - November 15, 2010

Although he was famously irked by being mis-tagged as "new wave," Tom Petty nevertheless created an album (his third) in 1979 that bridged old and new so seamlessly that listeners and critics from every corner of the pop-rock map were charmed. After a promising '76 debut (that yielded the anthem "American Girl") and an okay follow-up, Damn the Torpedoes was where Petty and his Heartbreakers truly defined their sound. Combining old-guard, Byrds-ian jangle, crystalline harmonies, and a hint of Southern-rock strut, Petty turned his nose up at AOR bombast and pretension. On now-classic cuts like "Refugee," "Don't Do Me Like That," "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even The Losers," his rough-hewn vocals alternated convincingly between cockiness and vulnerability, and sounded refreshingly real.

Heart Breaker
By Tom Matthews
Milwaukee Magazine - November 22, 2010

Acclaimed musician Howie Epstein was the longtime bassist for Tom Petty’s band. But all that talent couldn’t save him from tragedy.
It was late June of 2010, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had settled into the Marcus Amphitheater for a two-night Summerfest stand. A week earlier, the band had released Mojo,a new album that included a dark rocker called "Running Man's Bible." The song is about mortality, close calls and the unexpected death of a friend ("It was not in my vision, it was not in my mind/To return from a mission, a man left behind").

The dead man in the lyric, Petty had told Rolling Stone a few days before, was Milwaukee's Howie Epstein, bassist and harmony singer in the Heartbreakers for 20 years before a devastating drug habit got him fired from the band in 2002. He died a bleak junkie death less than a year later.

A sincerely loved man in an industry not known for its kindness, Epstein's death was a brutal loss not just for his bandmates but for anyone who ever made music with him. Besides Petty, Epstein had recorded or performed with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, John Hiatt, The Rolling Stones, Warren Zevon, Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Linda Ronstadt. As a producer, he had revived the career of country singer Carlene Carter and helped create two of John Prine's most acclaimed albums.

Now Tom Petty had memorialized his fallen comrade in a song. Playing in Epstein's hometown, Petty could have acknowledged the friend he "left behind." But the mention didn't come. Though the Heartbreakers performed "Running Man's Bible" that night, Petty didn't explain its significance to the one crowd that would have been most affected by it. And the song was  dropped from the next evening's Summerfest set list.

An opportunity to play a poignant coda, to generously celebrate Howie Epstein's remarkable musical journey, was lost. The Heartbreakers, it seemed, had moved on.

Tom Petty – Damn The Torpedoes (2 CD Set)
By James McQuiston
NeuFutur Magazine - December 3, 2010

There is no denying that Tom Petty is still one of rock's best-known performers. "Damn The Torpedoes", their third album, was released in 1979 and prominently featured such rock radio standards as "Refugee" and "Don't Do Me Like That". Over thirty year out from its initial release, and the album is still getting substantial play. The long life exhibited by this release has brought Interscope to release a substantially upgraded version of the title. Whether it is in the 2 CD format or the audiophile-friendly 180-gram LP version, "Damn The Torpedoes" has never sounded so sweet.

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Tom Petty: The Best of the British Invasion
By Tom Petty
Rolling Stone #1119 - December 9, 2010

"In the mid-Sixties, the British had a more romantic view of rock & roll than the States this," says Tom Petty. "We didn't take it as seriously. The energy that came with the British Invasion was the difference -- these guys brought the guitar to the fore. You weren't getting guitar off the Shirelles."

Real Rock 'n' Roll Swings
By Liv
Campusounds - December 28, 2010

Benmont Tench is legendary in the Rock n' Roll world. An original member of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Benmont Tench has played sessions with dozens of notable artists, and is known for his melodic and tasteful lines on the keys, and vast knowledge of Rock music. As we sit down at one of our favorite Cuban restaurants, Benmont does not hesitate in telling me about how he first joined Petty's band, his views on the evolution of Rock n' Roll, and how jazz has unintentionally influenced the music of today.

Rolling Stone Fact-Checks Famous Rock Songs
By Andy Greene
Rolling Stone - February 23, 2011

From Bob Dylan To Nas, 11 songs with a shaky grasp on history
Tom Petty - 'Swinging'
Tom Petty never mentions which Sonny Liston fight he was referring to in his 1999 song "Swingin'," but it could only be Liston's infamous 1965 bout with Muhammad Ali. "She went down swingin'," Petty sings near the end of the song. "Like Sonny Liston." Just 20 seconds into the fight Liston fell down to the ground, despite the fact that Ali didn't even make contact with him. It's since been called the "phantom punch" by journalists and historians. People are still debating what happened that day, but Liston certainly didn't go down swinging: He just went down.

Tom Petty: The Enigma
By Matthew Beaton
Gainesville Today - August 2011

Tom Petty, the man who wouldn't back down, hangs over Gainesville, as an ethereal haze--always there, yet not always perceptible.

By all accounts, he hasn't returned to the city since the documentary Runnin' Down a Dream filmed his performance at the O'Connell Center in 2006. Efforts to tie his art to the city haven't always worked out either. The legend that "American Girl" was about a coed who committed suicide off Beaty Towers was vehemently denied in the book "Conversations with Tom Petty," printed in 2005.

He called it an urban legend and said, "That's just not true at all. The song has nothing to do with that."

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Studio Notes: Petty hits the studio with Heartbreakers
Rolling Stone #1139 - September 15, 2011

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have started recording the follow-up to last year's Mojo, but it might be a while until they finish the disc. "I did four tracks last week with the Heartbreakers," says Petty. "We're talking about doing some more, but we're going real slow right now." Petty has told ROLLING STONE in the past that he might not ever do another major Heartbreakers tour, but now he's leaving the option open. "I kind of don't want to get on the same merry-go-round again," he says. "But I don't know. It's early."

Nirvana, U2, Pearl Jam, and Metallica may have ruled 1991, but Tom Petty stood above them all
By Kyle Anderson
Entertainment Weekly - October 7, 2011

Much has been made of the greatness that was the fall of 1991 in the music world. Over the span of a few short months, some of the most seminal albums ever created were shipped to record stores (back when shipping physical copies of things to record stores was a thing that happened). Some of these releases are getting boldfaced reissues, like Nirvana's Nevermind and U2′s Achtung Baby. But there are plenty of others that simply stand the test of time, like Metallica's Metall ica, Pearl Jam's Ten, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend, and Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger. And 1991 wasn't all rock albums, either, as A Tribe Called Quest dropped The Low End Theory, Tupac made his solo debut with 2Pacalypse Now, Ice Cube wrote Death Certificate, and Michael Jackson became Dangerous.