Thursday, November 2, 2017

the last book I ever read (Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes, excerpt nine)

from Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes:

After months of touring behind Long After Dark, the Heartbreakers were going to get a break, the first stillness after eight years of making records and supporting them. And it wouldn’t go well. Keith Richards isn’t the only man in a rock-and- roll band to note that the real trouble doesn’t come on the road—it comes when you get home and live like you’re on the road. That’s a paraphrase, but it’s an idea that gives some sense of what was coming for the Heartbreakers. Mike Campbell calls it “the dark period.” Petty says a little more: “We took a lot of shrapnel that year. It taught me a lot. We had never been allowed to grow up. We’d never been in a situation where it was even expected of us. You know, you’re bouncing everything off the same four or five people you’ve been around since school, and you have children, you’re married—most people would have been conducting themselves differently. We suddenly had to deal with maybe not being around much longer.” Whether that means as a band or as individuals isn’t clear. But mortality hovered in ways it hadn’t previously. The death of Katherine Petty came to her son almost as if it had been waiting for him to slow down. Mike Campbell went into the hospital with exhaustion. Petty went into the hospital for surgery on a broken hand, self-inflicted in a fit of rage. Benmont Tench worked his way toward recovery from drugs and alcohol, without getting all the way there until 1988. When asked about Southern Accents, the album that was released next, Petty says quietly, “When I hear that one, I can taste cocaine in the back of my mouth.”

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