The Petty Archives

Petty Ready to Play
By Joel Selvin
The San Francisco Chronicle - January 9, 1997

He's relaxed in rehearsal for Fillmore
Tom Petty is not exactly sure what he will do when he hits the stage tomorrow night at the Fillmore Auditorium, and that is exactly the point.

"The shows, I think, will change nightly," Petty said yesterday by phone from his Los Angeles home. "Fairly drastically. We'll play what we like at the time. I think it's good for us mentally as a band to feel like we're still a band. People shouldn't come expecting us to play our biggest hits. That doesn't mean we won't. But they should expect to hear stuff they don't know. We'll be playing the catalog that never got played." Petty and his band the Heartbreakers customarily fill hockey rinks and amphitheaters 10 to 20 times the size of the 1,100-seat Fillmore. They'll play 20 sold-out shows over the next four weeks at the historic hall where rock giants like Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Cream and the Doors appeared alongside San Francisco bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane in the '60s.

Petty will take this opportunity, he said, to indulge himself shamelessly.

Petty preaches gospel of rock 'n' roll
By Philip Elwood
The San Francisco Chronicle - January 12, 1997

Tom Petty kicked off his 20-concert run at the Fillmore on Friday night with a grand evening of the sort of music he and his Heartbreakers do best - rock 'n' roll tinged with R&B, rockabilly, ballads and occasional bits of harder, 1970s rock.

Besides presenting a number of Petty's originals, the 95-minute set roamed the American musical spectrum from Buddy Holly to John Mayall and the Rolling Stones; Bo Diddley to the Zombies to Ray Charles.

There were few older heads bobbing in the crowded stand-up, "festival seating" audience on the Fillmore's floor - for them, the song selections, solid syncopations and memorable solos of the Heartbreakers were reminders that much of what the young 1990s fans think of as "rock" has little connection with the gut-level roots music that the lively Petty dispenses with such conviction and glee.

Petty's Second Show Is a Real Gas
By Joel Selvin
The San Francisco Chronicle - January 13, 1997

Pepper spray fails to douse incendiary rock
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were steaming toward the close of a spectacular second night at the Fillmore Auditorium when, through no fault of their own, the whole thing blew up in an instant.

As the band played "You Don't Know How It Feels," the crowded dance floor suddenly cleared after somebody let loose with a canister of pepper spray.

The band left the stage. Everybody was coughing. Windows were opened and the bars served drinks on the house. The police arrested a suspect, dozens were treated by paramedics and after 45 minutes of confusion the fire department gave the OK for the show to resume.

Backstage, Bill Graham Presents president Gregg Perloff thanked Petty for his patience in a difficult situation.

"No problem," Petty deadpanned. "It's a gas."

Treating Us Nice
By Gina Arnold
Metro - January 23, 1997

Workmanlike: In defiance of fashion, Tom Petty crafts his songs the old-fashioned way, with charisma and respect.
Craftsmanlike Tom Petty revives some of rock's best moments in marathon concert stint
Midway through the sixth night (Jan. 16) of his 20-show run (which ends Feb. 7) at the Fillmore in San Francisco, Tom Petty stopped rocking just long enough to talk about his love of Elvis Presley. In a few brief sentences, the normally laconic Petty created a poignant image of himself as a kid, desperately watching the final scenes of Jailhouse Rock through the rear windshield of his parents' car as his outraged Dad roared out of a Florida drive-in.

"And I remember he did a real cool thing with his guitar," commented Petty, "when he turned it backward like this ..." As he spoke, Petty turned his own guitar around, and began to use it, Presley-like, as if it were a pair of bongos.

The gesture signified the start of Petty's own version of Presley's "Treat Me Nice," but it also showed the detail-oriented nature of Petty's craft. He is a great emulator--not so much a creative as an imitative force in music, someone who sees the innate merit in even trivial songs. Someone who is able, through his own art, to re-imbue those songs with a modern life-force.

They've Had Enough -- Just for Now
By Joel Selvin
The San Francisco Chronicle - February 16, 1997

Recharged after 20 Fillmore shows, Petty and the Heartbreakers may be back
Tom Petty rocked back on his heels and grinned at the image of Taj Mahal performing on "The Rolling Stones Rock 'n' Roll Circus" on the giant video screen. Petty was relaxing in the basement of the Bill Graham Presents office, which had been transformed into a glittering nightclub -- piles of barbecue and beverages, pillows on the floor, pool table -- to celebrate the 20-night sold-out Petty and the Heartbreakers engagement that ended February 7 at the Fillmore Auditorium. Petty, wearing a hand-painted necktie and flowered shirt, sported a smiley-face badge and had Mardi Gras beads wrapped around his wrist. His monthlong "residency" almost at an end, he spoke excitedly about the benefits of playing in an intimate, 1,100-capacity hall.

"Everybody should do this," he said. "It's going to be tough to go back to the arenas. I'm not saying we won't -- I'm sure we will -- but it'll never be the same. I wouldn't be surprised if we did this again next year."

Rock tracks: Petty's show raises questions about future
By Stephanie DuBois
Rome News-Tribune - February 25, 1997

Tom Petty's just-finished 20-show stand at San Francisco's famed Fillmore Ballroom has drawn lots of questions.

Is Petty workshopping new material? Taping something? Does he have plans to move on to other venues? No, no, and no. Word is, he just wanted to get out and play, recharge his creative juices, and do it away from the L.A. area. Tom and The Heartbreakers played different set lists every night, sprinkling in music ranging from blues to country to ... surf music.

Petty also had guest artists in to add to the fun, including Carl Perkins and John Lee Hooker. His opening acts included Jakob Dylan's The Wallflowers -- who've gotten so hot they're certainly now in headliner land. The shows were all sold out, with a hefty celeb contingent including the likes of Winona Ryder, Jackson Browne, and Counting Crows member Dave Bryson showing up to catch the intimate shows.

Hot Property
By Ruth Ryon
The Los Angeles Times - June 28, 1998

Rock star TOM PETTY has purchased an eight-bedroom home on three acres in Malibu for about $3.7 million, sources say. The asking price was just under $4 million.

The singer-songwriter appeared earlier this month in a comical bit with Clint Black and Greg Kinnear in Garry Shandling's final "Larry Sanders Show," and he played himself in the movie "The Postman" (1997).

Petty, 45, won a lifetime achievement award this year from BAM magazine. Petty founded his band, the Heartbreakers, in 1975, and they went on to become one of America's top rock acts.

Petty performed songs for the 1996 movies "She's the One," "Jerry Maguire" and "Jingle All the Way."

He bought a Mediterranean-style 10,000-square-foot home behind gates with ocean and canyon views. Built in the '40s, the house was refurbished recently. There is a four-bedroom, seven-bath main house as well as a two-bedroom guest house and separate staff apartments. The property also has a motor court--large enough to park 15 cars--and a five-car garage.

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The Ram - September 17, 1998

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have recently entered a California studio with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin to begin work on the follow-up to the 1996 soundtrack She's the One. Rubin has previously worked with industry giants The Beastie Boys and Black Crowes. Rubin and Petty also collaborated on She's the One as well as on Petty's last solo record, 1994's Wildflowers. The new album is expected to be released sometime in late 1999.

Entertainment News Breaks
By Lynnette Surle
The Montclarion - March 4, 1999

E-Petty: Free to the Internet wielding public, Tom Petty's latest single "Free Girl Now" is available via his website. "Tom Petty has always been very conscientious of his fans and their needs," Petty spokesman John Diaz said in a statement. "Now, with the advent of the world wide web, Petty wanted to use this medium to thank his fans for their loyalty and give something back with this free copy of 'Free Girl Now.'" Petty's album Echo is due out in stores April 13.