Benmont Tench, the keyboardist and co-founding member of Tom Petty & The Heatrbreakers, doesn't think the band will ever play as a unit in public again. Tench — who along with guitarist Mike Campbell — remains hands on in dealing with the band's legacy and vault releases, spoke about his sadness regarding Petty's 2017 death, telling Billboard, "It's hard. And it's still hard. And it's probably getting harder, in a way, as time passes by because it just becomes more of a reality, I guess. He was such a large part of my life that it's hard to just seal it. It's hard to just realize, I suppose, that I'm not gonna get to play with that guy. I'm not gonna get to make that sound. He's not gonna show me a new song. . . and I really, really miss that."
Tench went on to explain that the Heartbreakers without Tom Petty leading them simply couldn't work: "It would be very hard on a few levels. It would be very hard, emotionally, for me to be in a room with everybody without him being in the center of the room. The other component is it's called TOM PETTY and the Heartbreakers. He was a guy in the band, but he was the focal point 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 still be the band. You can't take his rhythm guitar out — that's the real center of the whole thing. What united us at the core was the fact that we loved playing his songs, and playing his songs with HIM. I don't want to have somebody else sing Tom's songs. I don't want to be a Heartbreakers karaoke band. It's too hard for me to even contemplate anything other than the band as we were, with him there."
Tom Petty's daughters Adria and Annakim oversaw the just-released career-spanning compilation, The Best Of Everything, and Adria spoke about their relationship with Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell: "They're our uncles. We're all dealing with chaos; Our world just exploded when (our dad) died. We're all a bit shell-shocked. But they've been amazing — and the other members of that team that were around for a long time, too. I'm extraordinarily proud of them for the amount of worked they've dived headfirst into with us."
Adria spoke about the unreleased version of "For Real" that was included on the set and pulled as its lead single: "'For Real' sounds like an epilogue from the grave. It's him looking back on his career when he was putting a compilation together, and here we are digging it out, getting this incredible viewpoint of being an icon, having this huge career, summing it up in this really elegant, meaningful, sincere way. We weren't even sure it was finished when we first found it — the production was so spare but so beautiful. It's something we wanted to share as pure as we found it."
Adria Petty went on to talk about the time table for future Tom Petty projects, saying, "Personally I'm hoping we're not releasing anything for a little while so we get a chance to digest what happened. We have such a rich archive; We want to follow the spirit and the ethics our father believed in and be real decent about how we steward this really huge gift he gave us."
Among the close family friends shocked by the sudden loss of Tom Petty is George Harrison's son, Dhani Harrison, who grew up with Petty as a constant in his life. Dhani spoke to us shortly after Petty's death at age 66: ["Y'know, we were all so close. As families we hung out; the Harrison's and the Petty's, y'know, I hang out with them. They've been my neighbors, they're my friends, y'know, they're my family. It's a huge, huge loss. I've spent a lot of time with the Heartbreakers in the last week. They're my family, y'know? And they've always really looked after me ever since my father passed away. And I spent a lot of time with Jeff (Lynne) this weekend — it hasn't hit me yet how much I'm going to miss him. I just drove past his house a minute ago, and it's — yeah, my heart's broken. I mean, I haven't felt an outpouring of grief and love like that since my father died."] SOUNDCUE (:35 OC: . . . my father died)
Source: Pulse of Radio