Tom Petty’s Daughters, Bandmate on Stewarding His Legacy


One morning simply earlier than Valentine's Day, Benmont Tench placed on the alternate model of Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker's track "The Best of Everything" that's included on the brand new compilation of the identical identify. And the Heartbreakers' keyboardist was caught up in a wave of emotion about his pal and bandmate, 16 months after Petty's surprising dying.

"It's arduous. And it's nonetheless arduous," Tench tells Billboard. "And it's most likely getting more durable, in a manner, as time passes by as a result of it simply turns into extra of a actuality, I assume. He was such a big a part of my life that it's arduous to simply seal it.

"It's arduous to simply understand, I suppose, that I'm not gonna get to play with that man. I'm not gonna get to make that sound. He's not gonna present me a brand new track. I'm not gonna be on the Clubhouse and begin taking part in an Elmore James track and he'll fall in and know each phrase. That's not gonna occur — and I actually, actually miss that."

Diving into Petty's archives has grow to be one thing of a balm for Tench and the opposite Heartbreakers, together with Petty's household and different musical associates — first with final fall's rarities set An American Treasure and now with The Best of Everything: The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection 1976-2016, which comes out March 1. The latter options 38 songs from Petty's recordings with the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch and on his personal, together with the unreleased, spookily autobiographical "For Real" and the unearthed model of the title observe.

"It's a part of, I assume, the cliché of the grieving course of, placing this stuff collectively," Tench says. "The decisions have been a lot more durable on an American Treasure, after all, 'trigger there's a lot unreleased stuff. This one is a complete best hits of our complete profession, so the character of it’s totally different. It's the best-known songs for probably the most half, and (An American Treasure) was unknown variations of best-known songs in addition to fully unreleased materials.

"(The Best of Everything) is extra for the fan who loves the band however is an informal fan. And if this rings anyone's bell, then An American Treasure is the place to go to get deeper. And, after all, for each track on this best hits there's an album that goes with it, to allow them to go there, too."

For Petty's daughters Adria and Annakim, who’re overseeing the archive releases together with their mom and stepmother, having Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell and their father's different musical confidants so actively concerned has been as therapeutic as it’s useful. "They're our uncles," Adria says. "We're all coping with chaos; Our world simply exploded when (Petty) died. We're all a bit shell-shocked. But they've been superb — and the opposite members of that workforce that have been round for a very long time, too. I'm terribly pleased with them for the quantity of labored they've dived headfirst into with us."

The Best of Everything is, after all, getting probably the most consideration for "For Real," a statement-of-purpose declaration — "I did it for me/'Cause it was all that rang true/I did it for actual/And I did it for you" — that Petty and firm recorded throughout August of 2000 as a attainable new observe for the Anthology: Through the Years assortment. "I'd forgotten the way it went," Tench says now. "I remembered we'd recorded a extremely cool track that by no means got here out on the time, however I'd forgotten the way it went. The first time I heard 'For Real' it virtually made me cry — 'Yeah, THAT track, that's proper. That's a fantastic track!' I assume on the time I although absolutely down the road it will come out, and it simply by no means did. So right here it’s now, and it actually is a superb track."

For Adria, in the meantime, "For Real" sounds "like an epilogue from the grave. It's him wanting again on his profession when he was placing a compilation collectively, and right here we’re digging it out, getting this unimaginable viewpoint of being an icon, having this large profession, summing it up on this actually elegant, significant, honest manner. We weren't even positive it was completed once we first discovered it — the manufacturing was so spare however so lovely. It's one thing we wished to share as pure as we discovered it."

With The Best of Everything and An American Treasure out, the query turns into what the Petty vaults will yield subsequent. Tench guarantees that "there's a bunch of actually nice stuff," together with early Mudcrutch recordings and "an entire different model" of 2014's Hypnotic Eye album, "not the identical songs, simply extra stuff from the identical interval," in addition to Petty demo recordings from 2002's The Last DJ. "It's good, and it retains it alive once you hear Tom's voice on the tapes," Tench says. But he provides that, "I don't need to get into exploiting or discovering some half-ass jam and ending it. I'm actually leery of something that isn't actually top quality, and no matter we might put out sooner or later we might take excessive care with it."

The Pettys concur, and after the one-two blast of compilations the sisters at the moment are joyful to step again and contemplate the longer term. "I believe we're going to take a beat after this and let this file come out and do justice to the best work our dad did and kind of being the journey of attempting to be the messengers and ambassadors of this work and this band," Adria explains. "Personally I'm hoping we're not releasing something for a short while so we get an opportunity to digest what occurred. We have such a wealthy archive; We need to observe the spirit and the ethics our father believed in and be actual first rate about how we steward this actually large reward he gave us."

While Campbell is out touring with Fleetwood Mac, Tench is engaged on new materials and considering a second solo album to observe 2015's You Should Be So Lucky. He speaks with a lot of the different Hearbreakers no less than as soon as a month, he says, however he doesn't anticipate the quintet — together with bassist Ron Blair, drummer Steve Ferrone and multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston — working collectively once more in an organized vogue.

"It can be very arduous on a number of ranges," Tench says. "It can be very arduous, emotionally, for me to be in a room with all people with out him being within the middle of the room. The different element is it's referred to as TOM PETTY and the Heartbreakers. He was a man within the band, however he was the point of interest of the band. He was the songwriter of the band. He was the lead singer of the band. You can't take that out and have it nonetheless be the band. You can't take his rhythm guitar out — that's the actual middle of the entire thing. What united us on the core was the truth that we liked taking part in his songs, and taking part in his songs with HIM. I don't need to have anyone else sing Tom's songs. I don't need to be a Heartbreakers karaoke band. It's too arduous for me to even ponder something apart from the band as we have been, with him there."