There’s another one of Tom’s clever lyrical twists in this one, in that first verse, when he sings “I must be looking over something” rather than “overlooking something”. A simple little bit of wordplay that subtly changes the impact of the line and changes the cadence of how it bounces along. Overall though, it’s definitely a hopeful, positive song and resolves in the bridge with the line “You have pulled me from this river of loneliness”
If you want to listen to the track before we dig in, check out the official video: https://youtu.be/IljIy5lP0R4
You can check out the live performance on the French show Houba Houba here: https://youtu.be/_cwgzXXwTyo
And finally, I found an immaculate lockdown cover by The Refugees, a Tom Petty tribute from the Bay Area. Give it a listen: https://youtu.be/lqGH6oOLLfg
(* Note - the transcript is as-written before recording. I usually change a few sentences or words here and there on the hoof as I'm speaking.)
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, my fine friends. Welcome to the fourth episode of season five of the Tom Petty Project Podcast! I am your host, Kevin Brown. This is the podcast that digs into the entire Tom Petty catalog song by song, album by album and includes conversations with musicians, fans, and people connected with Tom along the way. The Tom Petty Project is a proud member of the Deep Dive Podcast network and you can check out all the shows over on the growing network on Twitter @deepdivepodnet. There are podcasts dedicated to a range of bands from Black Sabbath to Queen to Deep Purple to Van Halen, so lots of rock and metal, but always fantastic folks hosting those shows. I need to give you all a quick update on the merchandise situation to. Yesterday I was contacted by someone from the Tom Petty estate asking me to take down the products on the store as they infringe trademark. I was slightly concerned about this and mentioned when I put the store online that I’d be taking it down if it crossed any lines. I have taken everything down for now and I’m hoping to find an amicable solution that will allow me to use the designs without having them connect directly to any trademarks. The way I think this might work is to “brand” them under an 8NINETY8 label instead of the Tom Petty Project. I’ll keep you updated on whether the estate is OK with me going this route and hopefully I can get the store back online sooner rather than later. Another thing to mention is the super exciting news that dropped last week about the Fillmore box set finally being announced. Head over to store.tompetty.com to check out the various editions of that package. There are a ton of fantastic covers that we’ve all been dying to get our hands on from those shows as well as some excellent performances of originals that we know and love. I’ve ordered a copy of the 6LP vinyl set through my local record store. Supporting local business and buying great records. Two of my favourite things to do!
Anyway, today, we’re talking about the last track on side one of Long After Dark, titled Finding Out. As always, go give the song a listen before we get started. You’ll find a link to the track in the episode notes. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with it, we’ll get started.
Finding Out is one of four songs on Long After Dark that are co-written with Mike Campbell. The only album which features more collaborations between the two is Let Me Up I’ve Had Enough.
In response to Paul Zollo mentioning how good the drums sound on the song in Conversations With Tom Petty, Tom says “Yeah, great drums. Stanley played really good on that album.”
So let’s start, as the song does, with the drums. The entire rhythm section comes tearing out of the gate in this one, with Stan’s gunfire snare intro giving way to a huge kick drum sound. Through this 16-bar intro, Stan is dropping a heavy foot onto that kick pedal and Jimmy Iovine’s beffy production makes the whole kit sound like artillery crashing into enemy territory. There’s some additional tambourine which drops out as we head into the first verse. The ascending and descending bassline that Howie is playing over that root chord is quite early-beatles McCartney-esque to my ear and sets up the tempo really nicely. It’s probably Howie’s best bass work on this album for me and he really cuts loose through the intro. As a throwback to the early Heartbreakers records, the guitars on this one are panned hard left and right and you can hear Mike and Tom’s individual parts really clearly if you isolate those channels. Tom’s tone is brighter and has less distortion on it, where Mike’s has a little more grit. Tom is also playing the chords in higher positions, to really differentiate the two parts, but they blend together perfectly and with Benmont’s single-note organ line again in the high register, you really feel a sense of building to breakneck speed. You can almost imagine an F1 car heading into a turn at the limits of its safe speed and almost imperceptibly lifting onto two wheels as it careens back into the straight. Heading into that first verse, the hats close tight and that tambourine drops out, to create space for the vocals as they come in. The guitars also drop back in the mix, with Mike and Tom playing a little less in the rhythm section, but with Mike also adding in one of his trademark four note licks. I like how the structure of the verse doesn’t repeat the same phrase over the initial eight bars. The first 8 and second 8 bars mirror the chord progression of the intro, with the minor key giving way to the major and then we have a two bar lead into the chorus, in which Tom sings the lead line. We also get arpeggios in that right channel guitar to fill out the sound. The build into that chorus is again driven by a Stan drum fill and this section, which has the 8 bars of the minor key and then 4 of the major, to slightly change things up before going back into the intro progression. The chorus features a beautiful harmony from Howie Epstein, which Tom mentions to Paul Zollo, saying “I remember Howie doing the harmonies and he sang some really good harmonies on that”. Howie’s tone is so clean and pure and stands in wonderful contrast to Tom’s grittier delivery.
The second verse/chorus pair follows the first with the exception of Benmont’s organ staying higher in the mix through the minor chord first half and building back into the chorus again through the major chord second half of that verse.
The second chorus gives way to a solo which also acts as the first part of the bridge in that it changes the chord progression, alternating between two major chords with Mike adding in a soulful, simple melodic section before Stan’s drums crash like a freight train into the vocal bridge, which again changes key and stays in the major, with the melodic fills this time coming from Benmont rather than Mike. This section leads back into a final chorus and the fade out, which sees the band really light it up and go out all guns blazing. At times, Stan goes to a breakbeat for four measures, or goes to playing double time with the kick and is washing the cymbals pretty heavily. Mike is laying down his trademark licks and actually goes into a precursive runnin-down-a-dream esque progression at about the 3:20 mark. Benmont is proving a fat juicy foundation on the orgain for all this to sit on and Howie is repeating his ascending and descending runs. Tom is scatting over the lyrics and How and Tom’s I’m Finding Out refrain is added in just to bring everything to perfect crescendo.
Alright folks, it’s that time again. It is time once again, for some Petty Trivia!
Your question from last week was this; Which one of the following is not a side project for at least one of the Heartbreakers: a) Speaker Wars, b) Blue Stingrays, c) Silver (Tom Leadon) or d) The 360 Band. Well, most of you would know that Speaker Wars is Stan Lynch’s current band, who have an album dropping in the near future and are about to go out on tour. Blue Stingrays was an instrumental surf rock four piece featuring current Heartbreakers Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, and at the time former Heartbreaker, Ron Blair, and Mudcrutch drummer Randall Marsh. The 360 Band includes three former members of the Average White Band, including Heartbreakers drummer, Steve Ferrone. So the answer is, Silver, which was a 1970s country rock band featuring Mudcrutch guitarist Tom Leadon on bass.
Your question for this week is this: During the Heartbreakers 1997 Fillmore Residency, they covered a James Bond theme song on 10 of the 20 nights. Can you tell me which Bond movie that song was from: Is is a) Moonraker, b) Goldfinger, c) Live and Let Die, or d) The Spy Who Love Me?
OK, back to the song. Vocally, always get a foreshadowing of Saving Grace, from 2006’s solo effort, Highway Companion. If you listen to the phrasing and intonation on the lines “Looking over something” and “pain is so romantic”, it’s really similar to the way Tom sings “country homes and ranches” on that song. During the verses, Tom is in his upper mid register and is backing off the snarling attack that he could have employed. Instead, it’s more of a heartworn delivery than an angry or a distraught one. Again, those harmonies that Howie lays down really shine through as it’s that call and response format in the chorus so you can really hera his voice clearly. You also hear Tom double-tracking his vocal during the second verse on the line “day go by… I couldn’t understand…” etc. So that’s an interesting choice. A lot of bands and producers would have maybe added a double track or the harmony to that whole second half of that verse, but Tom and Jimmy instead restrict it to those two lines. You also get this in the first verse but on the lines “fight this emptiness” and subtly, on “something more to this”. So again, just some little arrangement choices that give the song a slightly more dynamic feel as the structure of the song is fairly straight forward.
The lyrics to this one are probably in the two two or three on the album. Up there with Straight Into Darkness,Change of Heart and maybe You Got Lucky. Tom tells Paul Zollo, “The song is about finding out and finding something you didn’t know. So maybe that was the punchline. It’s about self-realization.” Paul also comments on the line “I don’t think pain is so romantic” with Tom responding “Pain is not that romantic, though it’s certainly been romanticized.” Paul mentions that many songwriters say that when their life is in turmoil, that’s when they write their best work. Tom’s response quite surprised me because Tom definitely managed to draw deep from the well of his emotional low points, especially on later albums, but he tells Paul, “It’s not necessary. You don’t want to beat yourself up just to write a song. Even if I’m writing a sad song, I’m usually happy when I write it. When you’re sad, you don’t feel like writing. I don’t.” It’s an interesting observation and definitely wouldn’t be true of all artists, but again shows that Tom is able to look at pain somewhat objectively and use it rather than be defined by it artistically. Something Morrissey could probably learn a thing or two about!!! There’s also another one of Tom’s clever lyrical twists in this one, in that first verse, when he sings “I must be looking over something” rather than “overlooking something”. A simple little bit of wordplay that subtly changes the impact of the line and changes the cadence of how it bounces along. Overall though, it’s definitely a hopeful, positive song and resolves in the bridge with the line “You have pulled me from this river of loneliness”. So a positive love song from Tom, or if we switch it back to Tom’s frustration with the industry and the quote unquote process of rock n roll, maybe recognizing and thanking the muse when it chose to visit him. I see echoes of that in more of these songs since I chatted to Megan Volpert and it’s entirely possible that it’s not exactly the case, but it’s that wonderful duality, or multiplicity, of interpretation that Tom was so very good at building into his lyrics.
QUESTION: During the Heartbreakers 1997 Fillmore Residency, they covered a James Bond theme song on 10 of the 20 nights. Can you tell me which Bond movie that song was from: Is is a) Moonraker, b) Goldfinger, c) Live and Let Die, or d) The Spy Who Love Me?
ANSWER: The answer is b) Goldfinger. Recorded in 1964 by Dame Shirley Bassey, the track was produced by George Martin, with music by John Barry (who wrote the James Bond theme tune) and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The track is included on the upcoming Fillmore 1997 boxset, in the 4CD or 6LP editions and was played ten times during the famous residency. The Heartbreakers covered over a hundred bands during their shows through the years and as Dan Spiess remarked during last week’s episode, you could make a strong argument that they’re the greatest cover band of all time, as well as one of the greatest original bands of all time. Not many can lay claim to that sort of repertoire, that’s for sure!
There's something wrong
I can't get my finger on it
I must be looking over something
Sometimes at night
I've had to fight with this emptiness
It's been so hard to see
There's something more than this
I'm finding out, I'm finding out
Yeah, it took a little time
To get what love was about
But honey I'm coming 'round
I'm finding out
I've had enough
Of all this hardcore loneliness
I don't think pain is so romantic
I'm just a working man
I feel each day go by
I couldn't understand
I was too weak to fight
But I'm finding out, I'm finding out
It took a little time
For me to stand up and shout
But honey, I'm coming 'round
I'm finding out
I have to thank you baby
Honey I must confess
You have pulled me from
This river of loneliness
I'm finding out, baby I'm finding out
Yeah, it took a little time
To get what love was about
But honey, I'm coming 'round
I'm finding out