Tom Petty begs off homecoming show
By Bill DeYoung
Hendersonville Time-News — August 7, 1988
Notes & Lines writer Nancy McIlvaine is no longer writing this column. Different columnists writing on various subjects will be appearing in this space. Today’s column is written by Bill DeYoung, staff writer with The Gainesville Sun.
The completion of his solo album is going to prevent Tom Petty from playing during the University of Florida’s Homecoming Week celebrations in Gainesville.
Student Government Productions had extended an offer to Petty and the Heartbreakers to put on a show in the O’Connell during the last week in October. It would have been the first Gainesville appearance in five years for the band, which began here in the late ’60s (Petty, drummer Stan Lynch and pianist Benmont Tench are Gainesville natives; Mike Campbell was born in Jacksonville and raised here.)
Although the proposed hometown concert would not have been part of a national tour, Petty was reportedly considering pulling his bandmates together for the special, one-time-only event. His solo album, “Songs From the Garage,” was supposed to be finished and on store shelves by mid-summer.
This week, SGP was politely informed that the hometown boys would have to pass. “Tom has written some songs that he wants to commit to this new album,” Petty’s publicist, Mitch Schneider, told me on Tuesday. “As such, he is returning to the studio to record them, and because of the unknown element — the creative process — we don’t know about their completion.” In June, Petty flew to England to confer with the album’s producer, Jeff Lynne, on the new material. That’s vintage Petty — he’s still tinkering with the record, and he doesn’t think about anything else while he’s recording. That’s how it was with both “Southern Accents” and “Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough).”
And the Heartbreakers haven’t worked together since the end of their British tour with Bob Dylan last October; they’ve all got their fingers in different pies at the moment. If Petty is indeed staying true to form, they’ll probably regroup at the end of the year, cut a new album, and hit the road in the summer of ’89. Maybe they’ll make a point of doing a Gainesville show. Meanwhile, MCA Records has thrown up its hands over “Songs from the Garage.” Although it was initially touted as a July release, then for September, it is now an unknown quantity. We might not even see it before Christmas.