Episode 163: Tom "F-ing" Petty

Episode 163: Tom "F-ing" Petty
This week it's a 2 hour free fall down the rabbit hole as Pat and Guest Co-Host, Comedian Geoff Tate discuss every single album in the Tom Petty catalogue. Kyle Dodson produces.
From August 28, 2014

With your host:

Pat Francis

00:00:00 Pat welcomes us to the show. Kyle's tossed back a few brewskis already. He went to the Jimmy Kimmel show today. He saw Chloe Grace Moretz, a UFC fighter, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Kimmel played bass clarinet. The Kooks also played. Kyle doesn't know the name of the UFC fighter.
Today's topic: the music of Tom Petty! And today's special guest is a Tom Petty super fan. It's comedian Geoff Tate!
The UFC fighter was UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. The only UFC fighter Geoff knows is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson because he played B.A. Baracus in The A-Team movie.
00:05:00 It's a pretty good action movie. Geoff watches it on the road because he doesn't have the internet, so he can't get any porn. Kyle doesn't like Jessica Biel. Kyle and Geoff both have weird beards. Geoff has had a beard since Pat knew him. They met somewhere in '08/'09. Jimmy Pardo introduced them to each other at Sketchfest. Geoff was moving out to LA. He asked Jimmy about living in Woodland Hills and he said he should ask Pat about it. Then Jimmy told Geoff to jerk off on a Damn the Torpedoes album cover or something like that. Which is a silly idea, because that's where your autographs go. Remember folks, always jerk off on the back cover to save autograph space.
Geoff looks like an angry biker, but he really isn't. He's got the beard, the sleeveless denim jacket. People assume he's an angry comic, so he smiles a lot. But we're wasting time here, so let's get to Tom Petty talk. Geoff has seen Petty 10 times in concert and owns every album. He has bought every album first day since the album Echo. For Pat, it's since Hard Promises.
00:10:00 Petty refused to allow Hard Promises to be the album that raised the price of albums. Tom Petty is a guy that doesn't take shit from anyone. This episode is strictly Tom Petty music, so if you don't like it, stick around and we might change your mind. On second thought, who doesn't like Tom Petty? The man's got a boatload of solid tunes that everyone likes. He played the Super Bowl Half Time show for fuck's sake. Whenever Pat hears "American Girl," he wants to find a fat girl, lure her into his van with a couch and a broken arm, knock her out, then starve her so her skin stretches, then yell at her to put the lotion in the basket. That's a Silence of the Lambs reference for you troglodytes out there that didn't get it. Kyle got the reference, but he was confused at first at what Pat was saying.
Geoff has three Tom Petty pins on his vest. He has a Heartbreakers tattoo logo, a Native American hieroglyph with beards tattoo that means "brothers" and a tattoo of the state of Ohio. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are from Gainesville, Florida. Geoff once drove from Cincinnati to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Gainesville with his friend Alex.
00:15:00 They reached Route 441, then Geoff laid down on the roof of his car and listened to the cars go by. Get it? Because that's the lyrics to "American Girl." *sigh* This is gonna be a loooooong episode, isn't it? Speaking of long things, there's a four hour documentary called "Runnin' Down a Dream" about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It flies by, though. There's amazing super 8 footage from back then. Who thought to film that stuff?
We start with the first album, 1976's Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. "American Girl" closes the album, which is strange. We listen to Geoff's pick, "Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll". Petty is already defiant. He's eternally defiant. Not many people can be always defiant.
00:20:00 It's a short album too, only 30 minutes. It's kind of a punk record. These were Southern guys who wanted to make pop songs. They went to England and toured with The Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe. On a scale of 1 to 10, Geoff and Pat give it a 10.
The second album is 1978's You're Gonna Get It!. Geoff plays the title track, "You're Gonna Get It". There aren't a lot of Petty songs that start with just him singing. Pat's pick is a deep cut called "No Second Thoughts".
00:25:00 This album is even shorter than the first one. They're both 10s, but Geoff and Pat like this one better. The album wasn't a hit because it was before anyone knew them. If this was now, they would lose their record deal. Geoff bemoans how nowadays, every Southern guy who plays rock and roll is called a country act. Petty would have been classified as a singer-songwriter and been put on a smaller label. Geoff remembers when the first two albums came into his life. Summer of 1999, he was 21, and his girlfriend bought him both albums. His first album was Echo, then he went back and bought the rest. He had to seek them out because this was before iTunes and Amazon.
00:30:00 Things pick up steam in a big way in 1979 with the third album, the picture perfect Damn the Torpedoes. Pat likes it more than any Springsteen album. He might like Petty more than he likes Bruce! Pat heard "Don't Do Me Like That" back in the day, then saw the album cover. He looked like a punk. This album is another 10, but it's the best of the first three 10s. For Geoff it's a 10 and a half. We hear his and Pat's pick "Here Comes My Girl". That's still a damn cool song. It's a Pat Francis mental patient song.
Pat wonders what "damn the torpedoes" means. Geoff enlightens him that it's a WWII term. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Basically, it means "fuck it man, let's go for it." Pretty appropriate for Tom Petty, who sued MCA for publishing rights. He declared bankruptcy to get out his contract, they blinked, and he got his publishing rights back. That's a guy who really isn't afraid to kick things up a notch.
Raise your hand if you don't take shit from anyone.
00:35:00 Pat wants to hear another song from Damn the Torpedoes, "Even the Losers" Again, Petty's defiant. The song is Geoff's alarm ringtone. Damn the Torpedoes has more range than the previous albums. "Louisiana Rain" is basically a country song. If Geoff could only listen to one band for the rest of his life, it would be Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Somehow we get to talking about Kyle's awful mutton chops. But Kyle does make an nWo Hulk Hogan reference, which makes him okay in my book.
00:40:00 The fourth album is 1981's Hard Promises. Another 10. It's not as good as Damn the Torpedoes for some reason. Geoff picks "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)". Pat and Geoff pontificate about the lyrics. Geoff has two comedy albums: "I Got Potential" and "Just Another Clown," which are both lyrics in Hard Promises songs.
00:45:00 Geoff even has Petty references in the liner notes. He's hoping Tom Petty comes across them and recognizes Geoff's fandom. Hard Promises is a big one for Geoff. He had to quit doing so much cocaine. Woah, is this secretly Mike Siegel in a mask? Pat asks Geoff how he got the cocaine. From a cook in the back of a restaurant, duh. He also used to do acid. After he does a bit onstage saying he doesn't do acid anymore, a fan will ask Geoff to do acid with him. Geoff doesn't know a girl who doesn't like Tom Petty. He briefly dated a girl who didn't like Tom Petty, but that thankfully didn't last long.
00:50:00 The fifth album is 1982's Long After Dark. Geoff's pick is "Straight into Darkness". This is a different album. It's very power pop. It's also the first album with Howie Epstein on bass, who replaced Ron Blair. Let's introduce the rest of the band: Benmont Tench on keyboards, Stan Lynch on drums, and Mike Campbell on lead guitar. Petty and Campbell are inseparable. They're probably best friends, unlike other duos like Perry and Tyler. Pat's pick from Long After Dark is "A One Story Town".
00:55:00 So far Petty has had five 10s in a row. No episode has ever been this glowing. All the albums have been under 40 minutes. We go next to the sixth album, 1985's Southern Accents. This was originally supposed to be a solo concept double album. But before we get into Southern Accents, we skip back to the box set Playback and listen to a song called "Keeping Me Alive". It's a compilation of 3 greatest hits albums and 3 albums of b-sides/rarities/outtakes/demos/live tracks.
01:00:00 It's another 10. It also has a bunch of songs that could have been on the albums. But back to Southern Accents. The original concept was about growing up in Gainesville. Petty broke his hand while mixing "Rebels," which isn't the most productive thing to do when you're a guitarist. Dave Stewart from Eurythmics wrote "Don't Come Around Here No More" for Stevie Nicks, but Petty kept it. Thank God, because it's a great song. We listen to it. The music video is a classic.
01:05:00 There were lots of people involved with this album. Robbie Robertson, Dave Stewart, Garth Hudson. Pat picks the song "Dogs on the Run". Pat gives it a 10. Geoff gives it a 9 1/2. On second thought, a 9.9.
Pat and Geoff briefly talk about the 1985 live album Pack Up the Plantation: Live!. Geoff plays "The Waiting". It's an okay live album.
01:10:00 The seventh album is 1987's Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). It is definitely not a 10. A big departure from the previous albums. Mike Campbell co-wrote "The Boys of Summer," but Petty turned it down so the song went to Don Henley. The album sounds kind of dated. Geoff talks about vinyl vs. CD. A new Pat character named Kurt the Engineer shows up. He sounds a bit condescending. I hate him immediately and I hope he never comes back.
01:15:00 Geoff plays "My Life/Your World" from Let Me Up, while Pat plays "All Mixed Up". Geoff gives the album a 9. He's admittedly biased.
We go from a bit of a letdown to an absolute classic, Petty's first solo album Full Moon Fever from 1989. Stan Lynch is the only Heartbreaker to not play on the album because he is pissed that Petty wants to do a solo album. Tom hooks up with Jeff Lynne. He gave it to the record company, who said no. Idiots. Kyle thinks "Free Fallin'" is overplayed, which almost makes Geoff jump out of his seat and punch Kyle in the face.
01:20:00 We listen to "Free Fallin'". Full Moon Fever is another 10, according to Geoff and Pat.
"If you don't have Full Moon Fever, fuck you."
- Geoff, with the line of the episode.
After Full Moon Fever, the Heartbreakers come together for the eigth album, Into the Great Wide Open. Jeff Lynne continues as producer. This is one of Geoff's least favorite Petty albums. Geoff doesn't like Jeff Lynne. However, his all time favorite Petty song "Kings Highway" is on this album. Pat plays "Makin' Some Noise". Geoff thinks Jeff Lynne shouldn't have been the producer.
"Jeff Lynne is the Make-A-Wish in The Wilburys."
- Geoff, with the other line of the episode.
01:25:00 Up next is 1993's Greatest Hits. "Mary Jane's Last Dance" stands on its own in a greatest hits album. It was the first Tom Petty song Geoff ever heard. He was 15-years-old in a friend's car. He couldn't listen to rock and roll because his parents are super religious. He was awestruck from the start.
After that is Petty's second solo album, 1994's Wildflowers. Petty is getting divorced, but this is not "the divorced album." Pat plays "You Wreck Me".
01:30:00 Pat gives it a 10. Geoff loves the end riff of "House in the Woods," so much so that he looped it into a 70 minute long single CD track. Pat accuses Geoff of murdering people while listening to Tom Petty and rightfully so because no one is THAT obsessed with Tom Petty and NOT a psychopath.
The ninth album is Songs and Music from "She's the One". Pat hates the album. He only likes a few songs on it. Geoff tries to make a case for it, but Pat won't listen. Geoff gives it a 10, Pat gives it a 3.
01:35:00 Geoff plays "Walls (Circus)", which is one of the songs Pat likes. Pat still doesn't like the album. That was the last actual music video they made. The album never gets mentioned, not even in their own documentary. Tom Petty's role in The Postman gets brought up very briefly. 1999 saw the release of the tenth album Echo. There are 15 songs, which has become a recent trend for Petty albums.
01:40:00 Echo came out on April 13, 1999. Two days earlier, Geoff was listening to Rockline with Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, who were playing songs from Echo. After buying the album on release day, Geoff decided to get all of the other albums. This album is a hard 10 for Geoff. It elicits an emotional reaction from him. Pat gives it a 4. Geoff plays "Room at the Top". Rick Rubin produced it. Howie isn't on the album cover. He never showed up for the photo shoot. At this point Scott Thurston becomes a main band member. A few years later, the eleventh album The Last DJ comes out. It's Petty at his most defiant.
01:45:00 The Last DJ only works as a whole album. Ron Blair returns. Howie gets fired from the band because he is too drugged up and dies in 2003. Geoff gives The Last DJ a 7 or 8. Pat gives it a 5. This album doesn't get played as much. We hear Geoff's pick "Have Love Will Travel". Pat only likes half the songs, but the songs he does like are a 10. We're going really long today.
01:50:00 The third and so far last Petty solo album Highway Companion came out in 2006. Jeff Lynne is producer. Pat gives it a 10 and calls it a hidden gem. Geoff plays "Saving Grace" and Pat plays "Big Weekend". There are two special edition songs that Pat and Geoff don't have which bugs the shit out of them.
Tom Petty's other band Mudcrutch released their self-titled debut album in 2008. Mudcrutch is basically the Heartbreakers. Pat saw Mudcrutch in concert and got Tom and Mike's autographs after the show.
01:55:00 Kyle is tired, but we're playing Tom Petty, dammit, so stay awake. From Mudcrutch, Geoff and Pat pick "The Wrong Thing to Do". Mudcrutch has kick ass songs. They also did not play any Heartbreakers songs in concert. Not many people know about Mudcrutch because it doesn't have the Petty name. Geoff bought the album three times, in MP3, CD, and vinyl format.
02:00:00 The 12th album is 2010's Mojo. After Geoff moved to LA, he and his wife split. Mojo came out around the same time, so this album brings back some bad memories for him. Pat makes no bones about it: he fucking hates Mojo. He gives it a 0. He might like one song. Geoff abstains from voting. Pat doesn't like the album cover or the album title. Geoff heard the song "I Should Have Known It" and liked it. The DJ played it twice in a row, the crazy bastard!
02:05:00 When The Live Anthology came out in 2009, Geoff and his brother lived in different cities. The two of them listened to the whole thing at the same time, even though they were hundreds of miles apart. Great, now the Tate family has two serial killers.
We come now to the latest Heartbreakers album, 2014's Hypnotic Eye. Pat and Geoff have differing opinions. They heard that it was going to be like the early albums. Pat is disappointed with it. It's a stoner album, says Geoff. But Petty still has the defiance, dammit. Geoff picks the song "Shadow People". Petty's voice is great, however. He's actually smoother and easier to understand.
02:10:00 This has been the longest episode ever, but it's also the greatest episode ever. Well, at least according to Geoff. Pat gives the plugs. You can find Geoff on Twitter at @geofftate96. Geoff spells his name the same as the former lead singer of Queensryche, but make no mistake: He is NOT the former lead singer of Queensryche. Geoff also has a podcast devoted to the TV show Cheers called Afternoon, Everybody!. I'm not making that up.
It's time to close up shop. Pat plays us out with "Melinda" off of The Live Anthology.
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:15:00 Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
00:20:00 You're Gonna Get It You're Gonna Get It! Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
00:20:00 No Second Chances You're Gonna Get It! Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Pat
00:30:00 Here Comes My Girl Damn the Torpedoes Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff/Pat
00:35:00 Even the Losers Damn the Torpedoes Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Pat
00:40:00 A Woman in Love (It's Not Me) Hard Promises Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
00:50:00 Straight into Darkness Long After Dark Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
00:50:00 A One Story Town Long After Dark Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Pat
00:55:00 Keeping Me Alive Playback Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff/Pat
01:00:00 Don't Come Around Here No More Southern Accents Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:05:00 Dogs on the Run Southern Accents Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Pat
01:05:00 The Waiting Pack Up the Plantation: Live! Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:15:00 My Life/Your World Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:15:00 All Mixed Up Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Pat
01:20:00 Free Fallin' Full Moon Fever Tom Petty Pat
01:20:00 Makin' Some Noise Into the Great Wide Open Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:25:00 You Wreck Me Wildflowers Tom Petty Pat
01:35:00 Walls (Circus) Songs and Music from "She's the One" Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:40:00 Room at the Top Echo Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:45:00 Have Love Will Travel The Last DJ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
01:50:00 Saving Grace Highway Companion Tom Petty Geoff
01:50:00 Big Weekend Highway Companion Tom Petty Pat
01:55:00 The Wrong Thing to Do Mudcrutch Mudcrutch Geoff/Pat
02:05:00 Shadow People Hypnotic Eye Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Geoff
02:10:00 Melinda The Live Anthology Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Pat