Even his his final days, Tom Petty was about as busy as he’d ever been: He just finished a big tour with the Heartbreakers seven days before he died, and a couple days after that final show, he sat down for what would end up being the last interview of his life, with the Los Angeles Times.
Petty showed no signs that he knew his time was winding down. In fact, he seemed proud of how young he felt and how productive he was in his advanced age:
“On the back side of your 60s, most people aren’t working. This keeps us young. I think it keeps me young. When I see people I knew from earlier in life and I run into them now, they’re very different than me. And they look different. I think this has kept us all thinking young and feeling young.”
Aside from touring, Petty was very much looking forward to making more music, and said that even at that point, he would find himself in a studio “pretty much every day”:
“To go into a studio and hear a band play [one of my new songs] for the first time is always exciting. And usually when they play it, it became something I hadn’t even pictured. Yes, I love the studio. I love the studio as much as I love playing live, easily. I’m pretty much in one every day, and I’m still at that.”
Petty did have one health scare in recent years, when he was forced to postpone some tour dates this summer due to laryngitis. He said that the incident freaked him out, since he was always conscious about taking care of himself on the road:
“I don’t think I’ve missed a show in many, many years. It freaked me out so bad, because it came out of nowhere. […] 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.’ And I’m always like, ‘I don’t get sick.’ But, [stuff] happens.
My doctor said, ‘Despite great evidence to the contrary, it seems you’re human.’ But I take care of myself on the road. If you’re a singer, you’ve got to be responsible, it’s a physical thing, you have to be in shape. It’s athletic. I have to make sure that I get enough sleep, that I eat right, that I don’t abuse my voice. Don’t talk too much. Don’t go to the bar and talk for three hours if you have a show the next day. I’ve learned that it’s just instinct, it’s built into me from all the years of touring.”
Read the rest of Petty’s final interview here.