We’re alright for now…

Perhaps I’ve written more blogs here about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers than any other band/musician–including my beloved Pearl Jam–but there’s a reason for that:  they’re amazing.  And this has been a beautiful and difficult year.  On my “TO SEE BEFORE I DIE LIST” were the following:

Temple of the Dog (July, 2016, still paying interest, don’t care)

R.E.M. (that will probably never happen, since they dis-banded.) sigh

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (July, 2017, thank God.)

Bruce Springsteen (yet to happen; he’s nearby, but I’m broke)

Collective Soul (September 2017)

And, always, again, Pearl Jam and Tool, without a doubt.

Bands that weren’t on my to see before I die list, but I’m ever grateful for seeing them:


Devin Townsend Project

A Perfect Circle

Smashing Pumpkins (twice, once in the old days before the first break up; got to shake James’ hand; once with Zwan–met Billy!, once with the 2nd formation of SP)

Tori Amos (2013, and I’d do it again, and again, and again…)

Other acts I’ve seen:




Duncan Sheik

Ani DiFranco


Queens of the Stone Age

Third Eye Blind

Counting Crows

Goo Goo Dolls


James Brown

Tons of bands I saw during festivals…

Lots of live, local bluegrass

An assortment of local bands


I got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their farewell…a last hurrah…and it was incredible.  Just writing that sentence made me a little weepy.  I was listening to Full Moon Fever today, and, nowadays, when I hear him, I talk to him.  During “Alright for Now” I always smile.  I know he’s up there, rocking out, still, with all of the other greats that went before.

And sometimes, I don’t feel so sad.  In numerous interviews I’ve watched over the years, one thing was clear:  Tom Petty always wanted to be a rock and roll musician, and that’s what he was, what he devoted his life to, and that…that’s amazing.  Yeah, he died at only 66.  But you know?  You could die older and a lot more miserable.  He went out doing exactly what he loved, and it was as if the universe said, alright, Tom.  You’ve done your work here.

As for the rest of us, we still have work to do.  What, if you were like young Mr. Petty, is your heart devoted to, no matter how improbable?  I want you to think about that.  Make it yours.  Tom did.  As for the present, I guess we’re alright for now.

Thank you, Tom.

Rock on,




All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned…

…from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

It’s funny how, in certain times of our lives, we subconsciously reach for just the right CD that is in tune with whatever we are feeling. I’ve been in a rough patch for a while–this winter has clung on too long–and I picked out Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Echo for my CD sleeve sometime last week.

This morning, I reached for it and hesitated, thinking of the “Room at the Top” opener. With a title like that, and accompanying lyrics such as, “I’ve got dollars in the bank and I’m all right…” you’d think it would give me a lift, but no. I have always viewed it as a sad song. Thinking on how sometimes sad songs make you feel better, I put it in anyway.

By the time I hit the interstate, I had a strange sensation slip into my skin. It was that giddy music endorphin flood that happens when we listen to things that just make us feel alive. By alive, I don’t even mean all happy and upbeat and obnoxiously cheerful. Sometimes certain music makes us feel alive because it is so in tune with the way that we feel.

I smiled because I had the thought, which I uttered aloud to the plush TY pink flamingo I keep in my car: “All I ever need to know I learned from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.” The spirit of music will always uplift me and I owe it nothing less than my life–however dark at times–my words, my breath and my full attention.

I know I’ve ranted about Tom Petty more than once, but if it feels nice, do it more than twice. Any album of his is good for a road trip, a long commute, or a back porch rocking chair sit.

Isn’t it a relief to know that, even in a bad spot, music can make us feel alive and surrounded by people who understand. It felt like suddenly, the pianist was in my backseat and Mr. Petty had his right arm draped over my passenger door, feeling the cool April breeze pass through his talented fingers.

The Big Ten

No, I’m not talking about sports when I say The Big Ten. The Big Ten always changes, but there is always some consistency. On this rainy Northeastern day I decided that the following songs will always be my favorite, somewhere in my Top 100 songs of all-time, and frequently on “THE BIG TEN” list. These songs are songs that say something about me. They are tracks that speak to me, no matter what I’m going through. They are sometimes my refuge, sometimes my sing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs-out-the-car-window.

They are, as it would be impossible, NOT in any order of most-preferred:

“Learnin’ to Fly” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
‘A Murder of One” The Counting Crows
‘Light Years” Pearl Jam
“Plush” The Stone Temple Pilots
“Mayonaise” The Smashing Pumpkins (yes, with only one n in the track name)
“Lateralus” Tool
“Near Wild Heaven” R.E.M.
“World Swirl” The Recipe
“Wonder” Natalie Merchant
“Tangerine” Led Zeppelin

What are some of your top songs?

Give one a listen today.

Be well and rock on,