Bruce Springsteen, along with Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers and Mudcrutch bandmates Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, have spoken about the sudden loss of the great Tom Petty. Petty was laid to rest on Monday (October 16th) at a private service in Pacific Palisades, California at The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. Petty died on October 2nd at age 66, after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Malibu home.
Bruce Springsteen spoke about hearing of Petty’s death, recalling to Rolling Stone: “I got the phone call and told the folks in my house. There were shrieks of horror. You couldn’t quite believe it. We were from the same generation of rock & rollers. We started around the same time and had a lot of the same influences. And when I lived in California, I got to know him quite well. He was just a lovely guy who loved rock & roll and came up the hard way.”
Unbeknownst to fans, Petty was bravely enduring his last string of dates with a hairline fracture in his hip. Keyboardist Benmont Tench said of Petty’s final shows: “He was just kicking ass and we had found another level of playing as a band. There was a depth of soul coming through. I figured I’d get a call in a month or two: ‘Tom wants to get together and jam some s*** out.'”
The musician who was undoubtedly closet to Petty was his partner in crime since the early-’70s, guitarist, collaborator, and co-producer Mike Campbell, who said about the tour closer and final Heartbreakers concert at the Bowl: “It was magical, it was spiritual. Everybody was so happy, especially Tom — full of glory and hope. I’m just so sad to think that I’m not going to play those songs again.”
When we last caught up with Tom Petty — decades after forming the Heartbreakers — he told us he was proud that he had a group of musicians who’ve stayed on for the long and tough haul with him: “I look up now and I really appreciate that I’m. . . I get to play with people that are, that are great musicians and my friends at the same time. I don’t think I’d be interested in doing this as much if I were, y’know, going out and just hiring faceless musicians to play parts, and things like. . . I don’t think I’d like that.”
Photo Courtesy of UMe