Date: July 1, 2007
Interviewer: Chris Carter (95.5 KLS Los Angeles), Breakfast with the Beatles
Interviewee: Tom Petty
Notes: Includes audio
CC: This is 95.5 KLS Los Angeles, Chris Carter hanging out with you for another hour. And on the phone we have a very special guest. Some know him as Charlie T. Wilbury Jr., but he's most commonly known as Tom Petty. Tom, good morning.
TP: Good morning, how are you?
CC: I'm all right, man. Thanks for taking time out on a Sunday morning to call us.
TP: You're welcome.
CC: Hey, congratulations on all the success. The Wilburys Collection, it's getting—it's incredible, man! It's number one all over the world!
TP: [laughter] Well, thank you. We're very pleased.
CC: I mean, I couldn't believe—I looked at the list. It's number one in the UK, number one in Ireland, number one in Australia, number one in New Zealand, number one in Norway. [laughing] incredible.
TP: [laughter] We're really grateful, you know. I think a lot of people were waiting around for it for a long time and we're really glad we got it back out.
CC: Yeah, man. I mean, it sounds fantastic, you know, it's remastered, and I gotta tell you—the DVD really makes the package perfect.
TP: Yeah, that's really, they did a great job on that. I enjoyed that myself. It's a pretty good look at those days and the process we were going through.
CC: Do you remember, like, George filming you guys while you were doing that?
TP: Oh yeah, he was always filming. He'd even pop out of the hedge now and then. We were—I think we have some of that where we were driving up to the studio and he'd actually pop out of the bushes and film us.
CC: [laughter] We were talking to Olivia Harrison a few weeks back, and we were talking about how enthusiastic George sounded when he was narrating the DVD. We've seen him on the anthologies, you know, talking about the Beatles, and he's usually kind of laid back, but he was so into it, you know, the whole experience, really, I think really moved him, you know.
TP: Well, it was very much, it was George's [thing?]. You know, George loved the Wilburys, and, uh, it was his idea in the first place. He was very much upfront in that band, he was very enthusiastic all the time.
CC: Yeah, definitely, you saw it. You saw it in the DVD. So, Charlie T. Wilbury Jr, Tom, where did that come from?
TP: Well, that came from Derek Taylor. George had Derek Taylor write an entire family history of the Wilburys, and the Wilburys' father was named Charles Truscott Wilbury. And I took his name as Charles Truscott Wilbury Jr.
CC: There you go. Makes perfect sense. And then mysteriously you guys changed your names on Volume 3. To Muddy. I like that too. [laughter]
TP: Yeah, well it was like a different set of cousins on Volume 3.
CC: [laughter] There you go. So, everybody in the Wilburys pretty much were solo songwriters, and you guys collaborated on your albums here and there, but pretty much you guys wrote songs by yourselves. How did the songwriting go down in the Wilburys? 'Cause you guys wrote together, right? Pretty much for the first time, really.
TP: Yeah, that was part of the Wilbury charter, was that we'd all write everything together. So we just sat in a group and someone would get an idea and we'd get going. You can see a bit of it in the documentary, when we're sitting there and trying to think of things, and throwing lines around. Somebody would say a line, and somebody would say 'no,' and [laughter] sometimes you'd get a yes, you know, but it was pretty freeform stuff. We used to get a song a day, really. We got one by dinner and we'd work on the lyrics through dinner, passing the pad around, and then we'd usually record it after.
CC: Right, like the old days.
CC: Yeah, they show—there's a good scene of Bob doing "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" with you, and George is just flipped out how fast Bob's writing down the lyrics and everything. I think he was amazed to watch the whole thing go down.
TP: Yeah. That was a particularly good one, where, I don't know, for some reason George and Jeff thought we were on an Americana trip. They just kind of backed off on that one and let me and Bob write it. Most of it was in [?], they came through with the chorus by the time we were done with the verses.
CC: It came out great and it's great to see Bob doing the vocals there in the studio.
TP: Yeah, that's quite a performance.
CC: Great to see Don Smith's hair, too! I never knew hair could get that large. It was amazing! Don Smith's the engineer.
TP: Our Chia Pet.
CC: [laughter] E-e-exactly! Yeah, perfect. So, it's been a big Beatle week. Did you catch Larry King? Did you watch Paul and Ringo and Yoko and Olivia on Larry King by any chance?
TP: No, I missed it. I was working. But I heard it went pretty well.
CC: Yeah, it was good to see him, you know. Larry was in rare form to say the least. And then Paul played Amoeba Records this week, as well. All your boys were down there, Ringo, Jeff Lynne, Benmont, everyone was at Amoeba to see Paul.
TP: Yeah. You see, I work. I never get to have any fun.
CC: [laughter] Speaking of work, we love your cartoon work, Tom. Both on the Simpsons and as Lucky on King of the Hill. You're on like every week now!
TP: Yeah, he's become a regular.
CC: How did that all happen?
TP: Well, it was one of my favourite shows, King of the Hill. I loved the writing. I got a call from Mike Judge that he'd like me to come down and do a—actually, two parts. I came down and did two different parts. And they fell in love with the character of Lucky, so I kept coming back, and kept coming back, and finally Lucky married Luanne and moved into Hank Hill's house, so it's become a pretty regular thing.
CC: Now you're there, you're part of the furniture.
CC: Yeah. So you're also doing your radio show on XM, right? Buried Treasure.
TP: Yeah, that's one of my true loves.
CC: See, this is why he couldn't go to see Paul McCartney. He is really working all the time!
TP: Oh yeah.
CC: It's amazing. And you got the new limited edition here. Beautiful. Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Deja vu leather on the cover of Highway Companion. Really nice package.
TP: Yeah, that's the kind of super-deluxe package one that Warner's decided to come out with.
CC: Yeah, they're good at that. Warner's, when they want to be, you know.
TP: Yeah, they did a terrific job. We had a few songs we didn't have room to fit on the first version, so they've added a couple of songs, and also a couple of demos I did for the album.
CC: Yeah, great bonus tracks. That song "Home" is great. It reminded me of a song from your first album, a little bit. You know what I'm talking about? No?
CC: Fooled again and I don't like it—reminded me of the same kind of riff or something. I don't know.
TP: Yeah, yeah—that is kind of a similar riff.
CC: Little bit. I love your first two albums, Tom, I have to tell you. First two albums, your first two albums and the first two Dwight Twilley albums were in my eight-track player as a sixteen-year-old, all the time. All the time. Well, congratulations again on all the success with the Wilburys package. It's really amazing and thanks so much for calling in, on a Sunday morning! You usually sleep kinda late on a Sunday?
TP: Yeah, I do. But I'm up this morning, so you're in luck.
CC: [laughter] Well thanks so much, Tom Petty. Ladies and gentlemen, we're gonna play a couple of tracks now from the remastered Wilburys. Good luck with everything, Tom.
TP: All right. Thank you.
CC: All right, man.
TP: Okay, bye-bye.