.

Tom Petty: Rolling Stones Were 'My Punk Music'

Rocker talks about his early musical influences and the fleeting nature of fame in 2014

July 17, 2014 5:10 PM ET
Tom Petty.
Tom Petty.
C Flanigan/Getty Images

Tom Petty called the Rolling Stones "my punk music" during an interview with CBC, crediting the British rockers with convincing him — and thousands of other aspiring American musicians at the time — that they could make rock and roll music. "They were grittier [than the Beatles]; it was rawer," Petty recalled. "They were playing blues in this really energetic kind of raw way, but it wasn't complicated. There wasn't a lot of beautiful harmony involved."

'Rolling Stone' Readers Pick the 10 best Tom Petty Songs

Petty touched on the Stones while speaking about his early musical influences and how attainable they made playing in a rock and roll band seem. Calling Elvis Presley the "American dream," Petty didn't believe he, or anyone else, could ever recreate or live up to what Presley had achieved. It was the Beatles who started to make things seem a bit more realistic.

"These people look like they're self-contained," Petty said of his initial impressions of the Fab Four. "They're making music that they wrote themselves and their music is all their own. They're playing it, they look like they're really good friends and they're having a lot of fun — and I'll bet they're not worried about bread, either. Of course, they were so absolutely genius even in '64 that it seemed really hard to ever reach that kind of musicianship." But with the Stones, Petty said, "It was like, 'That can be done.'"

In a different segment, Petty touched on the world of popular music today, noting the ineffable nature of what he called "plastic computer music" — though, he mentioned, "Nothing was any worse than corporate rock." And at the end of the day, Petty added, what matters most to the listener is not how it's made, "but what they're hearing."

As far as achieving that rock star dream in 2014, Petty said he thought fame seemed more fleeting and temporary these days in the age of reality singing shows. "If they had tried to offer my generation someone that had won a game show, it would've been hysterical, you would've been laughed out of the room," Petty said. "We were suspicious of people that had hit records, it was that different a time."

As for his own music, Petty and the Heartbreakers are prepping for the July 29th release of Hypnotic Eye, their first full-length since 2010's Mojo. The band has been working on the record for nearly three years at Petty's home studio in Malibu, and at their Los Angeles rehearsal space, the Clubhouse. You can hear a handful of album cuts now, including "American Dream Plan B," "U Get Me High" and "Red River."

Following the album's release, Petty and the Heartbreakers will hit the road for a massive American arena tour, starting August 3rd in San Diego. The trek also includes headlining sets at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco and at the Lockn' Festival in the Blue Ridge mountains in Central Virginia.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com