Heartbreaker’s Possible Reunion Performance Without Tom Petty
via Tom Petty/YouTube
He Also Wishes Petty Didn’t Go On His Final Tour
Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone is the latest musician interviewed by Andy Greene on Rolling Stone‘s Unknown Legends series.
Ferrone recalls Tom Petty’s final tour with them. He said, “He [Petty] was taking Oxycontin so he could get through the shows. He’d sort of time it so that it would kick in once he got up there. I’d say, “How are you doing? You ready for the show?” He’d say, “Just get me up there and I’ll be OK.” We’d get up there and it would do what it was supposed to do. It would kill the pain and he’d be able to perform.”
He adds, “But once we’d done the done the bulk of the show and we’d come off and have something to drink backstage while everybody was going crazy, sometimes he’d be able to walk up there on his own. Other times he’d say, “I need you again.” He’d put his arm around me and we’d hit those stairs together.”
Ferrone shares that Petty “had a cracked hip” and was “in a lot of pain”. Looking back, he thinks Petty shouldn’t have embarked on that trek. He says that he wishes “he [Petty] hadn’t done it.” He further admits, “I don’t think you’ll find anyone in the band that wouldn’t say, “He really shouldn’t have done that. I really wish he hadn’t done that.” We should have canceled and done it another time.”
Asked about the possibility of a Heartbreakers reunion like a Wildflowers tribute show, Ferrone responds that he has “spoken with Mike a little bit about it. Mike always said, “Tom will let us know when it’s right.” I think we all feel that there’s been this pretty tumultuous aftermath of Tom’s death. I don’t think that the band has been willing to do anything until something happens that might be what Tom would want.”
“The other thing that is difficult about it, and I’ve spoken to Mike about this, is it wasn’t so much that it was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was Tom Petty in the Heartbreakers. He was an integral part of that band in that he was a guitarist in the band. He wasn’t just the frontman. He was in the band. He used to have as much fun playing with us as he did singing his lyrics. I think that’s why he loved the band so much because he was in the band.
“He was always the leader and obviously the boss, no doubt about it. But he was in the band. He was very proud of the fact that he was a good guitarist and he could come in and hold his own and play some great solos. A huge part of the band is missing with Tom Petty’s demise, a huge part of it. Sure, we could get someone to sing in front of us. I don’t think that would be a problem. But who is going to play guitar?”
But Ferrone is definitely open to the idea of the Heartbreakers returning to live stage because he doesn’t think “it would be fair for us not to do something.”