Late Tom Petty Reflects on 2010 ‘Mojo’ Album in Partly Unpublished ‘Rolling Stone’ Interview

This past Friday, October 20, would’ve been Tom Petty’s 73rd birthday and in conjunction with the milestone, posted a previously-unpublished-in-full 2010 interview with the late rock legend in which he discussed Mojo, the then-latest Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album.

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The article also coincides with the release of a Mojo reissue. The album was Petty and The Heartbreakers’ 12th studio effort, and it found the singer/guitarist and his group exploring heavier blues sounds of the late 1960s and the early ’70s.

[RELATED: Listen: Previously Unheard Songs from Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers” and ‘Mojo’ Days Released on His 73rd Birthday]

“The records I was listening to were early Jeff Beck Group, John Mayall, [founding Fleetwood Mac guitarist] Peter Green, Muddy [Waters], that kind of stuff,” Petty noted. “I wanted to make a record like that. Even a little J.J. Cale. Actually, I went and I jammed with the Allman Brothers one night.”

Petty told Rolling Stone that he wanted to capture an edgier and more spontaneous side of the band by having them play live in the studio while working on the tracks.

“I knew that there was something in the band that hadn’t been brought out, and that no one got to hear other than me,” Petty explained. “It was more an off-hours kind of thing. So I wanted to bring that out.

“We set down some rules at the beginning about going for as much of the record as we could in the [live] take itself, rather than, say, cutting a rhythm track [and overdubbing later],” he added. “We tried to get a performance out of every track. And that’s the way it went, pretty much.”

In the interview, Petty talked about feeling excited about getting to play a lot of the new material live, and he shared that if he didn’t think it would upset his fans, he’d like to drop his hits from his set lists in favor of the new songs.

“If I wasn’t worrying about that at all, I probably wouldn’t play any!” he admitted. “But I kind of feel a little obligated that people have gone through quite a bit to get to these big gigs and they have some expectations of what they’d like to hear. I think we have a lot of other songs that we can play that will be just as satisfying.”

Mojo was released in June 2010 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200; it included the single, “I Should Have Known It.” The reissue can be purchased as a limited-edition red-vinyl LP, while an expanded digital version featuring two bonus tracks, “Mystery of Love” and “Help Me,” is available for streaming.

After Mojo, Petty only released one more studio album with the Heartbreakers before his death—Hypnotic Eye in 2014. He died of an accidental drug overdose at age 67 in October 2017.

Photo by Joe Kohen/WireImage for New York Post

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