cover image Conversations with Tom Petty

Conversations with Tom Petty

Paul Zollo, , foreword by Tom Petty. . Music Sales Corp./Omnibus, $24.95 (330pp) ISBN 978-1-84449-815-4

This lengthy but highly readable compilation of interviews with rock star Petty covers every aspect of his four-decades-long career, from his first success in the 1970s blending the sound of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Byrds ("I think we kind of invented the New Wave"), to his controversial stance on 2002's The Last DJ as a critic of the greed and homogeneity in the current rock establishment ("I wanted to write an album about what everybody thought but wouldn't say"). While too many of journalist and musician Zollo's questions to Petty about his songwriting contain phrases like "It's got a beautiful chorus," overall the book is successful because the notoriously media-wary Petty responds to Zollo's almost obsessive knowledge about his life, career and craft with articulate and intelligent answers that even nonfans can enjoy. Petty also provides insights into his various side projects, including backing Bob Dylan on tour ("It's a little like playing with a jazz artist") and playing in the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison ("He wanted to be in a band, but he wanted to avoid all those pitfalls that a band has"). Photos. (Nov.)