The Petty Archives

The Stash Jar: Shake, Rattle & Roll
By Martin Halo
The Outlook - November 2, 2005

Tom Petty: Wildflowers | Warner Brothers Records | 1994 | ★★★★½
Perfection is a power statement, and which is second solo release in close to five years Tom Petty reached a plateau that he could never achieve with the Heartbreakers, cover to cover perfection. Produced by Rick Rubin, Wildflowers is a testament t the artistic texture and feel of what a true American rock 'n' roll recording should sound like. Wildflowers brings home the feelings of now ghostly high school lovers, friends yet to be discovered and a reckoning between our own past and present. Tom Petty is a living, breathing American legend. On Wildflowers he proclaims, "It's good to get high and never come down," and for Tom Petty contentment for life is the never ending high.

Wildflowers is a career defining masterpiece. From the most well known track off the record, "You Don't Know How It Feels," t the driving "You Wreck Me," through the dreariness of "It's Good To Be King," the sting of "Honey Bee," and culminating with the majestic "Crawling Back to You," the record is a ride of emotion from the highest peak to the deepest valley leaving us back where we all belong, home.

Gift Guide: Rock & Roll Books
By Darcie Stevens
The Austin Chronicle - Friday, December 2, 2005

Conversations With Tom Petty | by Paul Zollo | Omnibus Press, 376 pp., $24.95
Classically catchy, immediately eternal, and uniquely American, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers have conquered radios internationally with perfect rock & roll that cuts to the chase and resonates with every listen. There's something about Petty's warbly voice and Mike Campbell's masterful guitar that pulled them out of the British lexicon and made the boys from Gainesville, Fla., homegrown heroes. Paul Zollo's biography isn't some rumination on his idol or an editorialization of Petty's outbursts and dramas. It's simply the story told by the "Refugee" of the South. Presented in Q&A style, Conversations Wi th Tom Petty is a bountiful picture of the notoriously private songwriter. His formative days in Mudcrutch, his epiphanic connection to the concrete wall that shattered his hand ("Did [cocaine] affect your songwriting?" "No. I think it affected my breaking my hand"), even the rarely-spoken-of arson of his California home, are all revealed by the musician who lived to tell. Broken into two parts – "Life" and "Songs" – Conversations is peppered with rare photos explained by Petty and the stories of the genesis of specific songs. Anyone who grew up listening to the man in the top hat, or who paced him through the last 30 years will relish the words. After all, there aren't many songwriters who can hold court with Dylan, Orbison, and Harrison. Charlie T. Wilbury, word for word.

Music Chronicle
By Dave Itzkoff
The New York Times - December 4, 2005

CONVERSATIONS WITH TOM PETTY. By Paul Zollo. (Omnibus Press, $24.95.) Admit it: You, too, have had the fantasy where Tom Petty becomes your best drinking buddy. Over a few rounds of Pabst Blue Ribbon, you tell him that "Damn the Torpedoes" is a classic document of American rock; he confesses to you that the Traveling Wilburys were a better idea in theory than in execution. But don't hate Paul Zollo, an editor at American Songwriter, for fulfilling the dream first and confirming what you've suspected all along: that Petty is an undeniably fascinating guy to talk to. Sure, there is some dead air in these interviews, but it's abundantly offset by Petty's indelible stories of his Florida upbringing by a father who liked to poke alligators in the eye for fun, and the time the supposedly laid-back Petty became so frustrated with a recording session that he punched a wall, shattered his fist and spent eight months retraining himself to use his left hand. And the chapter devoted to Petty's memories of a bassist who eventually died from a heroin overdose may be the most chilling deglamorization of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle since "Sid and Nancy."

Tom Petty anticipating Billboard award
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Monday, December 5, 2005

Tom Petty says he's pleased and honored to be receiving this year's prestigious Billboard Century Award for career achievement.

"It always means something when people give you a slap on the back," says Petty, who will accept the honor from Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong at the annual Billboard Music Awards Tuesday in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast at 8 p.m. EST from Las Vegas.

"I actually presented this award to George Harrison back when he got it a long time ago, and I didn't dream at the time they would ever give it to me. But I figure if they're giving it to me, I may as well enjoy it."

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He's not backing down: Rocker Tom Petty is still going strong after nearly 30 years
By Gary Graff
Toledo Blade -  Monday, December 12, 2005

Tom Petty has told us, through song, that he won't back down. Apparently he won't let up, either.

With the 30th anniversary of his recording career looming in 2006, the 55-year-old Petty is working as hard as any rookie rocker. He and his band, the Heartbreakers, have played 40 shows this year to 750,000 people. He's the subject of a new book, Conversations with Tom Petty, and is in the midst of recording his third solo album.

Taking a break from the Heartbreakers
By Ryan Ritchie
Long Beach Press-Telegram - Friday, January 6, 2006

Hall of Fame guitarist Mike Campbell's side project, the Dirty Knobs, plays the Blue Cafe in Long Beach Saturday
Guitarist Mike Campbell is looking for a fountain of youth and thinks he found it in his latest group, a blues-rock band called the Dirty Knobs, which performs Saturday night at the Blue Cafe in downtown Long Beach.

The 55-year-old is best known as the guitar player in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a role he has maintained since 1975. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and has recorded, performed and written with the likes of Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, the Dixie Chicks, Fleetwood Mac, Don Henley, Roger McGuinn, Brian Setzer, George Harrison and Robin Zander. Impressive resume aside, Campbell says he formed the Dirty Knobs as a way to have fun playing music without worrying about the business aspects of being a musician.

"It's got a little bit of the Heartbreakers in it because I'm in it," Campbell says, "but I try to not channel too much of that sound. The Dirty Knobs is a lot of things for me, but mostly it's just a place to go to do music for fun, which, as you get to be my age, is something that you miss. The Heartbreakers is great, but we play a lot of the same songs and there's not much freedom — the Dirty Knobs is total freedom."

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Tom Petty: The stage is his workplace
By Rod Lockwood
Toledo Blade - Sunday, January 8, 2006

CONVERSATIONS WITH TOM PETTY. By Paul Zollo. Omnibus Press. 330 pages. $24.95.
Among the great American songwriters of the past 20 years, Tom Petty is undoubtedly the most consistent and durable.

Bob Dylan is mercurial to a fault, as unpredictable as he is brilliant. Bruce Springsteen suffered a mid-career creative slump that took him about 10 years to work his way out of, and even now he seems a bit too content flowing the same thematic ground.

Lou Reed, John Mellencamp, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon have pretty much disappeared, leaving room for artists like John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, and a few others who produce a steady stream of excellent work that never achieves the commercial status it deserves.

There are others to be accounted for, but when you consider creative viability, popular success -- as measured in record sales and concert receipts -- and artistic credibility, Petty's in a class all his own.

'Conversations with Tom Petty' by Paul Zollo
By Ed Masley
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Sunday, January 15, 2006

Tom Petty at his best? and worst
Tom Petty's led a fascinating life, but most fans wouldn't know the half of it unless they picked up "Conversations with Tom Petty," in which journalist Paul Zollo gets the star who rarely talks about his private life to open up on almost every aspect of that life.

He rambles from the dad who punched an alligator's eyes in to impress him through the supergroup he formed with several of his childhood heroes to the lonesome death of bassist Howie Epstein.

Monitor Picks
The Christian Science Monitor - February 10, 2006

Petty for your thoughts
For those of us still dreaming of being rock stars, journalist Paul Zollo has provided a detailed and entertaining guidebook in Conversations with Tom Petty. Written in Q&A format, Petty offers telling insights about holding his band together for more than three decades; jamming with his music idols Dylan, Orbison, and Beatle George; and how hits like "Breakdown" and "Free Fallin'" were born. Rock on, Tom.