Is This Thing Working?



Among The Wildflowers

"I think I'm starting to believe the things that I've heard.
Cause tonight in Casa Dega I hang on every word"

It was the Fall of '79 and I had just finished a math exam. My father came to pick me up and he had just heard a great new song by a guy named Tom Petty, entitled "Refugee". As a post-exam gift he drove me straight down to Sam The Record Man. We asked for the new Tom Petty album and came home with Damn The Torpedoes.

And so began a life-long journey with the music of one of the greatest rock and roll, singer/songwriter/performers of my generation. Thanks Dad!

I saw Petty over a dozen favorite still being 2nd row at the old Buffalo Aud during the Long After Dark tour. The energy was incredible. He was mesmerizing. TP was a huge part of the soundtrack of my life. From the tempest that is the high school years right through to marriage and my relationship with my son. Petty, Springsteen, Poco, Jackson, Warren, Cougar, Seger, Poco, Cafferty, The Eagles (and later Waits and Hiatt)...they have all kept me company on my journey thus far! Songs like "Best of Everything", "Casa Dega", "The Wild One, Forever", "Have Love, Will Travel", "Here Comes My Girl", "Wake Up Time", "Straight Into Darkness", "Letting You Go", and mine and Ev's song, "Spike" all connect to a time and place in my life.

Music does that. For some of us, as odd as it may seem to an outsider, these artists are extended family. Their words, their soul, the spirit of their music got us through tough times, they smiled on us in the good times, and drove with us down that ole Kings Road while we were working on Something Big! And it seems like we are in for an emotional ride…as the past few years have revealed to us with the loss of many of our rock and roll heroes.

“Honey, I don’t understand this, but that’s okay I can take a little pain”

After music lessons yesterday, Evan came home and came upstairs. I was blasting Hard Promises on vinyl...he had "The Best of Everything" turned up on his iPhone…he came over, gave me a huge hug and we both started to cry. I said "this one hurts Ev". He said " me too Dad, me too". And then he said “the first person I thought of was Dave Piercy…I hope he’s okay”. Music does that!

Our town has always been a huge Petty-town. Lou, Leek, Spencer, Porta, and all the early Petty fans that gave way to the next generation of Petty-Crazed fans who I enjoyed watching through Facebook on their Heartbreaker journey. It was cool seeing the next generation see what I saw back in 1979 – Petty, the legend, the "ROCK AND ROLL STAR".

What’s left to say, except thanks TP for the music, the stories you did tell, for taking us down that Kings Highway and driving through the heart of America, turnin’ it up to 10 and letting that sucker blast! That crooked smile, the incredible music, and that most unique vocal will live on in our hearts…forever!

RIP Charles T. Wilbury Jr., The Wild One, The Last DJ, The Insider…TP!
We are going to have trouble letting YOU go!

"Oh, and if perhaps I lose you
In the smoke down the road,
I want you to know you were the one.
And may my love travel with you everywhere
Yeah, may my love travel with you always."


Petty fans pay tribute on his site