To mark the release of The Live Anthology, a multi-CD boxed set covering 30 years of road work with his band the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty spoke to Rolling Stone for nearly six hours over two days — including his 59th birthday, October 20th — about his rock & roll life. Those conversations, at the Heartbreakers’ rehearsal space in a warehouse in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and at Petty’s home in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean, ran the length of rock itself, including the day in 1961 that the young Gainesville, Florida native met Elvis Presley (Petty forgot to bring a record for the King to sign); Petty’s trials and adventures as a long-haired garage-band kid in redneck territory; his rough late-Seventies tours with the Heartbreakers; the musically rich encounters, on stage and in the studio, with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Carl Perkins and Elvis Costello, among many others; and a sneak preview of Petty’s next record with the Heartbreakers.
Looking like a Confederate general with his pointed sandy-blond beard, Petty reflected on his 40 years in music with a laconic wit, deep Southern drawl and constant amazement. “It has been a great journey,” he said at the very end of the second interview. Here, in these outtakes from the published story from the current issue, are a few more reasons why:
• Tom Petty Looks Back