This morning I woke up to hear the news about some crazed and hateful fool shooting innocent concertgoers at a music festival in Las Vegas, just did me in. If you’ve been frequenting this site or following me through social media, you’d know that besides the Guinness drinking, the Romeo Y Julieta cigars, and the ridiculous exploits here and aboard, that I’ve probably spent close to half my adult life in darkened clubs, DIY spaces, music venues, arenas, stadiums and music festivals either covering music for various publications or this blog — or attending as a fan. And I can tell you that I’ve met some of the smartest, most talented, most passionate, funniest and kindest people in the entire world that I’ve met through music but perhaps more important, catching live music in all of its forms — whether it was a band, a DJ, a singer/songwriter and no matter the genre — has always been one of the safest, most welcoming places I’ve ever known. God, “the warm thrill of confusion/that space cadet glow . . . ” as a song says, and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.
Now, like a lot of people, who are involved in music in some way or another, what happened in Vegas feels like a deeply personal affront because we love music so much to make a large portion of our lives. I can’t speak for my colleagues and friends but I can never forget that at every show, concert and festival I attend that for my fellow concertgoers that it may very well be the highlight of their year, if not their entire lives to see their heroes perform their favorite songs live. Ah, the joy and camaraderie of the live music experience; there are few things in this world that can top that. And to have that be destroyed in such a horrible fashion is heartbreaking. Of course, my thoughts are with everyone at the festival from fans, support crew and performers. It should have been a joyous, wondrous night for those catching their heroes.
Then while at my day job, finding out that Tom Petty was in dire shape? What the flying fuck is going on? Full Moon Fever and Damn the Torpedoes are arguably two of the greatest rock records ever. Don’t believe me? Listen to them and tell me how “Free Falling,” “Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Refugee” or “Don’t Do Me Lke That” aren’t classic songs that don’t fit into the “rock canon”? If you do, you’re bullshitting me. Now, I can say that I was very lucky to see Petty and the Heartbreakers many years ago at the Garden with a woman, who later turned out to be one of the worst things that ever happened to me; however, Steve Winwood (!!) opened for him, and Petty came out to do a song with him. Petty did two hours of the hits and even pulled out Winwood for a song –and every one of those songs were songs I had heard throughout my life and have loved immensely. Plain and simple, Petty is a national fucking treasure and while the news reports are conflicting, my thoughts go out to his family, his bandmates, his touring crew and friends at what clearly is a very difficult time. Tom Petty forever, everyone!