TOM PETTY and HEARTBREAKERS: Benmont Talks to Fans

In an emotional session, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench took questions from fans on the band's Facebook page yesterday (Tuesday).

Although he spent much of the time discussing the songs on the new An American Treasure album, questions about the future really brought out how devastated he still is by Tom Petty's more than a year ago.

"What am I supposed to say? My friend died who I really loved and who I played music with from the time I was about 18 years old and who I’d seen around town from the time I was 13. I will not get over that ever and I will do what I’m doing, put one foot in front of the other. [Tom was] emotionally, love-wise, soul-wise, my actual brother. It was blood with The Heartbreakers and it still is. I don’t have any idea. How can I? We’re all still reeling. It is such a huge, unbelievable vacuum in our lives. So I can’t say anything about the future."

Asked about a possible tribute show, he replied, "I can’t get there emotionally. I can’t even consider it." He gave pretty much the same answer about a new Heartbreakers album. And when fans tried to get more specific, asking if the Heartbreakers would back Stevie Nicks or Eddie Vedder, he stuck to his guns, saying simply, "I can never consider touring with another lead singer myself, but I have no idea of the future... I love Eddie Vedder, but…" 

A few other things we learned:

  • There's still music in the vault: "[There's] lots I hope still to come from the vaults. I'm going to push for it."
  • On solo albums: "I'm going to try and make another one."
  • On his favorite Petty albums: "Wildflowers, Mojo and the Mudcrutch records, especially the first one."
  • On the new tradition of 90,000 Florida Gators fans singing “I Won’t Back Down” during their games: "There are not words for it. My parents’ house was shouting distance from the stadium and I could hear everything coming from it when I was there."

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