A conversation about Tom Petty
‘The Mind’s Eye ‘interviews Zollo on Petty
Co-author with Tom Petty of our book Interviews with Tom Petty, I have had the privilege and pleasure of being on various radio and television shows and podcasts to talk about Tom and our book. The eye of the spirit, hosted by Brian Turnof, is one of the best. We had a lively and deep conversation about Tom, and I know his fans are going to love it.
We did this in 2020 during lockdown on what would have been Tom’s 70th birthday. I appreciate any opportunity to talk about Tom, because he was a special guy in so many ways – and such a serious and diligent songwriter. But at the heart of his music there was real love and joy; he enjoyed writing songs, making records and performing with the Heartbreakers throughout their forties. This joy is preserved forever in the songs; this exhilaration of Tom crossing this muse – entering that area where his songs came from – is lovingly preserved for us forever.
It’s especially great to share that joy and to talk about the real Tom, with people who are real fans. (And as fan great Tom Petty Nation asserts, the man has a beautifully dedicated and ever-expanding fan base.)
Brian Turnof, the host of The Mind’s Eye podcast, is a fan of Tom’s, and also a gifted and caring host. It is in the tradition of the great radio hosts who were sincerely interested in their guests and would get involved, like the late great Studs Terkel. We had a captivating conversation, which was deepened by his focus and follow-up questions. I hadn’t heard this one in a long time – we did it on Tom’s 70th birthday – October 20, 2020 – and I was struck by the quality of his work.
At the time, I had not yet listened to The Mind’s Eye. Since becoming one and listening to many archival shows, I am even more grateful to have been included. His subjects are rarely music and / or entertainment, although he is a huge fan of Tom Petty. Most of the time, it tackles great new and old mysteries, well-known and unfamiliar conspiracies, cultural shifts, and other important and worldly explorations. That he brought Tom Petty into the mix is wonderful, because there are some things we’re sure about. Some things that are true. Undeniable. This is Tom’s music.
Questioning the roots of this show and its host, I invited Brian to submit a little Q&A on The Mind’s Eye – or TME as it’s called, Tom Petty and more. And he said yes.
My love for radio never stopped, so I started doing this podcast in 2014 as a way to hone my skills in the hopes of someday making it a profession.
I can say that you are a serious fan of Petty. What is special about him in your life?
I think my love for Petty comes down to her sincerity as a musician. His music never seemed forced or not true to his essence as a musician, while being indefinitely relatable.
Besides Tom, who else is on your Mt. Rushmore musical? Are there other authors – or songs – that have really marked you?
Excellent question! It’s probably a mix of cliché and non-cliché responses.
Probably Greg Graffin, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan.
Such a great question that I would love to hear your answer to the same question.
Besides interviewing writers about musicians – who else have you interviewed that meant a lot to you – and others in the future?
Two near-recent memorable interviews spoke with the relative of a victim who was likely murdered by the New Bedford Highway serial killer. It was a very raw conversation.
I also spoke to the DEA agents who helped bring down Pablo Escobar, on which the first two seasons of the Netflix show “Narcos” are based.
Are you going to continue this podcast? Do you have other projects to share?
I will always continue The Mind’s Eye one way or another. I like to learn, converse and debate with knowledgeable people. I’ll probably only do a few more episodes this year on the occasion of some big birthdays to come (eg, probably a 9/11 conspiracy debate).
I recently decided to focus on other projects that have been in the pipeline for a long time.
I wish I had had this interview when I was living in LA. It would have been great to have a beer with you and communicate in person.