Tom Petty came into my life in the 90's. After I heard "Free Fallin" and "You Don't Know How It Feels," I quickly jumped down the rabbit hole and found a lifetime of connection in his earlier songs. Tom's soothing voice touched my heart long before my eyes dilated upon his face. Kids think the darnedest things, and that moment is vivid in my mind. I recall thinking:
"Wow! He's strange lookin' like me, and he's still living his dream."
Between Tom and David Bowie, I had enough inspiration to fly me the moon, to test the limits of my imagination, and remain true to myself while doing it. Though many did not know him personally, his music and words rang true to so many souls, and made us all feel less alone. I can't think of a better gift to give the world, it's one heck of a legacy.
Last year, I had the honor of shooting with my dear friends in the Tommy Brunett Band. Tommy and I watched the 2007 Rockumentary "Runnin' Down a Dream," directed by Peter Bogdanovich, one day prior to the shoot. A photo taken from the "Damn The Torpedoes" shoot flashed across the screen. I'm not sure who shot this photo, as there were four accredited photographers who contributed to the album. Maybe Aaron Rapoport? He fancied some lovely black and white photography.
Regardless, we both hopped from our seats.
"How cool would it be if we did a tribute to that photo and Tom in our shoot?" asked Tommy.
"Yes, let's do it!" I replied.
Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 4:29 PM, we shot this portrait in the Iron Smoke Distillery office. It was such a lighthearted and beautiful moment. I'll never forget it.
All I can say is, though I'm filled with sorrow, we're all so grateful to have known the voice of Tom Petty. Thank you, Tom, this one is for you.
"Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There's not some trick involved with it. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things."
From left to right: Tommy Brunett, Greg Hassett, Brian Eberts, Erik Welsh.
Tom Petty, Stan Lynch, Mike Cambell, Ron Blair, Benmont Tech