Jammin’ With Josh: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

This is Jammin’ With Josh. Each week I take a look at one of the bands that I love. Or perhaps it will be a band that I just discovered and think you should check out. Or maybe it will just be a way for me to post music videos. Honestly, no one will ever know.

Another group that I listened to growing up. I swear my brother and I would put on their greatest hits CD and play ping-pong for hours. We always enjoyed any CD that we could pop in and play for awhile, that had zero shitty songs that needed skipped. Tom Petty’s greatest hits definitely fit the bill.

Adam & I went to see Tom Petty in concert, probably in 2002. I think he just graduated high school. Four of us went down to Pittsburgh and the goal was to get there early enough to do a little drinking in the parking lot before we went inside. Well, we got a little lost, hit traffic, and then sat in the car waiting for a long time waiting to get into the Starlake (or whatever it is called now). For his birthday, someone bought my brother a bottle of Aftershock (ugh, why?). For some reason, he really wanted to drink before the show, so he started pounding beers and taking shots. I think he polished off half the bottle and like ten beers in less than an hour.

We made it inside before Tom Petty came on stage (I think we just caught the end of the opening act, maybe Brian Setzer Orchestra). Adam was pretty drunk and very hungry. We went to the concession stand and he bought a giant hot dog. I swear it was like a foot and a half long, and naturally he had chili, cheese, everything on it. He starts eating it and a little chili falls out the end and lands on this older gentleman’s loafer. Adam apologizes, but the guy is irate. He is demanding that Adam clean off his shoe. Adam laughs in his face and starts to walk away. The guy grabs his shoulder and says something like “I am being serious! You better clean that off.” I come over, apologize, hand the guy a napkin, and lead Adam to the lawn area where we plan on watching the concert. When he grabbed Adam’s shoulder, I could just see the gears slowly turning in my brother’s head that it must be time to fight (my brother is not a fighter, but you could see his entire demeanor shift when the guy touched him). I was just glad to diffuse that situation (I may have offered to buy the guy a beer, but I cannot remember at this point).

Anyways, later on during the concert, the people with us may have been smoking a non-tobacco substance. As the smoking apparatus was being passed around (I did not partake, since I was responsible and driving us home), I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and Loafer Guy is giving me the evil eye. I figure he is about to flip out about what is transpiring near him. Instead, he says “hey man, you guys going to share?” Goes from wanting to fight over chili, to wanting to blaze with some high school kids. That is the power of Tom Petty. Also, if you want, ask Adam about another funny thing that happened at that concert that he would probably ask that I not write.

Also, one of my favorite things about the movie The Postman (shut up! I actually like that movie) was Tom Petty being in charge of that one city and Kevin Costner saying something like “hey, you used to be someone famous” and Tom Petty is like “yeah man, that was a long time ago.” I probably screwed that up, but whatever.

I think most people would probably argue about Tom Petty’s most popular songs. So I will just post a few of my favorites.

“American Girl”–one of my favorites and I have a funny little story about the song. When I was 14, I worked that summer with my dad. One of his employees (Greg) was nicknamed Squirrel. So, whenever a song would have the word girl in it, we would substitute squirrel. I know, it is stupid. However, some songs were pretty funny, like this one or Poe-Stupid Girl.

“Into the Great Wide Open”–he met a girl out there with the tattoo too. I do not know why that line always makes me laugh. Also, did a bunch of Tom Petty videos have him dressed like this? I feel like that is the case, which used to confuse me as a kid. I thought this was the band Cinderella (which makes no sense, since I am guessing Tom Petty was going for the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland)…I never said I was a smart kid.

“You Don’t Know How It Feels”–this is just such a fun song. Also weird that they play this at work (or at least our old music provider did, now there is a different Tom Petty song), since they mention drugs.

“It’s Good to be King”–I think this one was probably Dad’s favorite.

“Walls”–this is the one they play at work now. I always loved this one and thought it was underrated.

“Honey Bee”–this is probably my favorite Tom Petty song. It is unique and definitely has a little more of his blues background in there. And c’mon, it is such a fun, dirty song. I think we all can figure out what it is about…