Among the many reeling over Tom Petty‘s shocking death this week is Peter Wolf.
The J. Geils Band frontman opened some shows for Petty and his Heartbreakers during their summer 40th anniversary tour, and he tells us that there were medical issues fans did not see — although no signs of the cardiac arrest that actually killed Petty:
“He had very severe hip pain and he could hardly walk. I just admired how he just persevered. He didn’t want to move the tour; He was gonna address it after the tour, from what I know, and so just seeing him struggling to get on stage, nobody knew once he got on stage. Once he put the guitar on and he kicked in and he did his show, and I don’t think anybody had any idea how much pain he was in…It’s very tragic, very shocking and tragic…I knew he was having difficulty, but I never thought…something this dramatic would happen. That was a shock.”
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office is investigating Petty’s death as a formality, though foul play is not suspected. Wolf, meanwhile, is continuing to tour with his band the Midnight Travelers and is finishing work on a new album. He and the J. Geils Band are nominated for a fifth time for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.