Tom Petty getting back to his roots
Santa Monica Daily Press — September 23, 2006
Tom Petty has come home.
“Every corner you turn is some kind of memory,” said the 55-year-old rocker, who grew up in Gainesville and hasn’t played here in 13 years.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ concert at the O’Connell Center on the University of Florida campus Thursday night sold out in 10 minutes.
The long delay between Gainesville concerts was the result of the band’s summer tour schedule, Petty said. He said the band decided to expand its tour schedule his year.
Guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench were born and raised in and around Gainesville, and bassist Ron Blair lived in the area for many years.
Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan presented each band member with a key to the city and proclaimed Sept. 21 as “Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Day.”
“It’s a lot nicer than the one we got in Chicago,” Petty quipped while holding his key.
Although he never attended the University of Florida, Petty was once a member of the grounds crew. While working at the school, he planted a tree that is now called the Tom Petty tree.