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REMBERING TOM PETTY  1950-2017Vegoose-126

With the passing of the legendary Tom Petty, many thoughts go in to my early days of my magazine as I looked for my coverage I did for Tom Petty. I took many photos of him in concert and I was always in the front row. The first time I came in contact with the icon was at the Billboard Awards Red Carpet in December of 2005. Tom went through the media line really fast and I couldn’t get a photo. So being the fanatic I was back then, I took off running after Tom going to his limousine. The amazing part was no one was stopping me. I blocked his path into his limousine and he pulled his wife into the shot with him. Soon after that, I was front row in the media room and I jumped right in and pretty much took over the entire session with my questions to Tom with an interview:

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Sally Steele: “Who was your biggest influence in your career?”

Tom: “Biggest influence? Many – everything that was on the radio in the 60’s. A lot of the blues artists from the Chess Label out of Chicago. Folk music, country, all kinds of things.”

“What inspires you to write your songs?”

Tom: “I don’t know. It’s just something I do. You just keep your antennae up and the music keeps coming. I feel lucky that way.”

Sally: “LookinVegoose-096g back on your life, would you do anything different in your life or career?”

Tom: “When you look back on your life, you’d probably change some things wouldn’t you? But nothing significant stands out.”

Sally: “Well, the lawsuits and the record companies….”

Tom: “Well, yeah, I would’ve definitely avoided the lawsuits for sure, yeah [laughs]. I would’ve liked to have learned a lot about music publishing before I got into the business, but really it’s the price of an education.”

Sally: “Where were you when you heard Roy Orbison died when he was playing with you and the Traveling Wilbury’s?”  (With that question, Tom looked me square in the face and he paused.) I was close enough to see Tom getting a little choked up with tears welling up in his eyes behind his sunglasses, thinking about the question before answering:

Tom: “ I was at home… George Harrison called me on the phone… so that’s where I was, at home.” (The room went completely silent for a moment). Then a press person lightened the mood asking what was on his ring tone:

Tom: “I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t travel with any equipment . I don’t have an ipod or anything like that.”

Sally: “What is your favorite song you did with the Heartbreakers?”

Tom: “I don’t have one.”   -Interview by Sally Steele

Your songs will live forever – We will miss you!

- Sally Steele

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