When Man of Few Words, Many Songs Tom Petty allowed himself a few words in praise of his since-forever band, The Heartbreakers, last night at — there’s just no way to get around saying this — Jiffy Lube Live, he introduced drummer Steve Ferrone as “the man who gets the job done.”
He could just as easily have been doing something he seems to detest: talking about himself.
Everyone knows you don’t go to Tom Petty for flash or invention. You to him for the thing he has, more than any other rocker of his generation, come to embody: excitement-free dependability. Since 1976, he’s rarely let more than a couple years go by without giving us another song or three that sounds just perfect on the radio of a car with the windows open. (It should’ve been Petty who eventually starting selling pickup trucks, not John Mellencamp, who despite sharing Petty’s greatest-hits approach to live performance, has at various points in his career appeared to suspect he was making art.) Petty has always made writing great — well, greatish — songs look easy. And last Christmas, an expansive box set compiling three decades of concert recordings made a strong case that TP and the HBs have earned a spot in the live rock band pantheon. Continue reading