rip Tom Petty


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Ice climber
Oct 3, 2017 - 01:52pm PT

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 3, 2017 - 05:29pm PT
A sad day indeed. He wrote my theme song. I won't back down,...

Trad climber
Oct 3, 2017 - 06:41pm PT
Tom Petty has done some of the best chill out music ever. I always relax and smile to his songs. You could tell he was a good human being. He will be greatly missed.

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Oct 3, 2017 - 06:49pm PT
too young. He preceded Dylan, two Beatles, and Brian Wilson.

a fine fellow. I liked his music

Ice climber
Oct 3, 2017 - 06:58pm PT
And yet Jim Morrison preceded him
Jim Herrington

Mountain climber
New York, NY
Oct 3, 2017 - 07:53pm PT

I grew up in the South where rock & roll was invented. From the get-go I loved Elvis and Carl and Jerry Lee and a lot of other musicians like that, from that era, from that place. But by the late ‘70s “Southern Rock”, with a few exceptions, became a kind of redneck thing that I didn’t much care for, the image or the sound. All rock, no roll. Then, out of Gainesville, Florida, came Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers who looked cool, sounded cool, were cool. Even though his music was being made in LA, via a brief but important pit stop in Tulsa, there was no mistaking where he was from. And he had obviously been influenced by all of the good stuff. I’m no ardent defender of the South except when it comes to the music that came out of there and I always appreciated that Tom was a guy from the South making good rock & roll. It would be hard to overstate the impression that Petty’s first albums made on me and my, at that time, small circle of music manic friends.

Change Eddie to Jimmy and it could be me:

Eddie waited til he finished high school
He went to Hollywood, got a tattoo
He met a girl out there with a tattoo too
The future was wide open

I moved to Hollywood with a camera and 20 bucks and was trying to make it as a photographer somehow. In ’87 or ’88 a friend of mine was doing some work with Petty and one afternoon he asked me if I wanted to ride over with him and watch Tom and the band rehearse. Uh, yeah I would. They were at Joe’s Garage, Frank Zappa’s rehearsal room over in the Valley. We walked in the back door, my friend introduced us and Tom said, “AwwwRIGHT… a fellow Southerner!” We got high, Tom and Benmont and Mike and Stan and Howie started playing around with a bunch of cool covers… Charlie Rich songs, Bobby Darin’s ‘Splish-Splash’, Eddie Cochran. They were already one of my favorite bands and here they were doing covers of all the other records I owned. I took some pictures. Finally it was the end of the day and I was already thinking how lucky I was to spend just one day with them and watch them play in a small room. As we were all leaving and saying goodbye Tom said, “See you tomorrow Jim?” Indeed you will, Tom.

Thus began a couple of years photographing them. When I think back of what a young greenhorn I was at the time it astounds me that they brought me into the fold so warmly and frequently. They were also Southerners that had, earlier, moved to Hollywood as relative unknowns and maybe they saw that in me, I don’t know. But the fact is, even though I’d already been shooting music for years, this was the absolute, undisputed fork in the road of my music photography career. Almost all of my photos of them were behind the scenes, hanging-out photos. The powers that be, that eventually saw the photos I’d taken, must have thought that I was something I was not, with such unguarded access. “Who’s the new guy that gets in so deep with all the big guys?” Petty was at his zenith then, as a star, a maker of hits — hell, Bob Dylan and George Harrison and Roy Orbison wanted HIM around — and it’s a testament to his coolness, generosity and realness that has never been lost on me, the way he treated me and allowed me in. I was a bona-fide, card carrying nobody at that point and by Petty (and Ben, Mike, Stan, Howie) allowing me to hang out for a couple years and get real photos, the kind I like to take, not just “photo shoots”… well, suddenly I was on the radar and it was because of them.

Lots of good memories — Akira Kurosawa movies on LaserDisc… the luxury! (exactly the first thing I remembering thinking that I’d buy if I was a rock star) at Benmont’s house, rooftop debauchery and rare Edward S. Curtis photos at Howie’s — and first meeting Carlene, Mike in his front yard making the most god-awful racket on his brand new first-ever violin and the requisite Jack Benny jokes — oh, and putting him in a garbage can on the beach in Santa Monica. Stan’s coveted Billy Beer six pack and the general Stan-ness of Stan. Tom and I riding his skateboard in his driveway, “Hey, I’m from Florida, what’d you expect?”, Tom picking me up at my apartment in Los Feliz, the car door of his Jaguar opening up and a thick cloud of pot smoke and Sun-era Elvis Presley billowing out over the yard.

I could write 10 more paragraphs but I have work to do today. Tom was the real deal, no doubt about it. He rooted for the underdog, didn’t suffer fools, didn’t take any sh#t, especially from the record companies that he famously stood up to when he stood to lose a lot by doing it. He always seemed to be on the good side of whatever it was. Fame never seemed to go to his head, he was eternally cool, eternally liked (ever meet anyone who DIDN’T like him or his music?) He’s in the same league as Dolly Parton… if you don’t like him you must have a bone missing.

RIP to a major talent and human. And thanks.

Tom and his daughter, 1989.
Photo © Jim Herrington

Tom Petty and his daughter, 1989.  <br/>
Photo © Jim Herrington
Tom Petty and his daughter, 1989.
Photo © Jim Herrington
Credit: Jim Herrington

Oct 3, 2017 - 07:57pm PT
Jim Herrington -- "I could write 10 more paragraphs ...."

And they would be just as good as the ones you already wrote .....
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Oct 3, 2017 - 08:05pm PT
Way cool Jim,
thanks for the share!

When you find some time the next 10 paragraphs and a few more pics please. :)


away from the ground
Oct 3, 2017 - 08:24pm PT
Right on, Jim.
RIP Tom. You were the man in your time and place.

Sport climber
Oct 3, 2017 - 11:56pm PT


Thanks for the share. We'll wait for one more of the 10 paragraphs...

Balcarce, Argentina
Oct 4, 2017 - 06:44am PT


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 4, 2017 - 07:25am PT
Credit: Jaybro

Oct 4, 2017 - 08:03am PT
Thanks, Jim.

climber a single wide......
Oct 4, 2017 - 08:07am PT
+1 what Dirtbag said..
Jim Herrington

Mountain climber
New York, NY
Oct 4, 2017 - 10:59am PT

Thanks ya'll.

Here's one of my tip top favorites by Petty:


Sport climber
Oct 4, 2017 - 11:03am PT

The vid doesn't play on this side of the pond, so here's an addition that plays...

The Warbler

the edge of America
Oct 4, 2017 - 11:55am PT

Stripped to the bone rock n roll
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 4, 2017 - 01:22pm PT
Some arsonist burned down his house while he was asleep inside with his wife and kid.

They never caught the guy, but people all over the country confessed to doing it.


Social climber
great white north
Oct 4, 2017 - 01:50pm PT
Righteous man! Thanks for the memories, which brought back a few of mine and the all important job of not just kicking back when belaying on a wall, but manning the cassette deck to match the tone of the pitch and encouraging the head space of the leader. Along with Air from the heads, Won't Back Down, learning to fly and Free Falling were all time Favs to punch out loud and proud when the leader needed all manner of support to stand straight and true in the aiders and tap it out to the station.

Tiptoeing through the chilly waters of life
Oct 4, 2017 - 02:49pm PT
I've been listening to Tom Petty Radio on Siriusxm all last night and most of today.

It's an awe inspiring outpouring of love and admiration for who Tom Petty was, from hundreds of thousands of fans.

And then to read Jim Herrington's wonderful memoir.......seriously, this is the most amazing wake I've ever attended.

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