Several days before his death, Tom Petty met with a Los Angeles Times journalist to reflect on the success of the Heartbreakers’ just-concluded 40th anniversary tour. Sadly, Petty’s untimely death earlier this week means that interview was the rock icon’s very last. During it, Petty talked about his plans for the future—writing more songs, producing an album for the Los Angeles band the Shelters, and continuing to tour. The Heartbreakers had no plans to pack it up, Petty said, unless the unthinkable happened:
“If one of us went down,” he said, “or if one of us died—God forbid—or got sick …,” letting his voice trail off at the thought of it.
“We’re all older now,” he said softly. “Then we’d stop. I think that would be the end of it, if someone couldn’t do it.”
Working and touring, Petty said, “keeps me young.” Though he’d recently recovered from laryngitis, he said he took care of his health on the road and was hardly ever ill. “My doctor said ‘I don’t think you’ve been sick—I’m looking in my records—in over 17 years, since I’ve seen you sick with anything,'” Petty recalled. “And I’m always like, ‘I don’t get sick.’”
Petty died Monday night (October 2), hours after he was discovered unconscious and in cardiac arrest. Read the full Los Angeles Times interview here, and SPIN’s remembrance here.