has a cameo in the Kevin Costner Movie “The Postman”. In a post-apocalyptic America, the postman runs into Petty as himself, as the mayor of a fortress village. The postman says to Petty, “hey I know you? you’re famous? To which Petty replies, “I was once …. sort of.” His response has always made me smile. Even with 80 million records sold, Tom Petty always had an unassuming persona, a laid-back humility, which I always liked.
When I’m asked what kind of music has influenced me, it’s an easy question to answer. For me, it’s never been about the style of music, it’s been about the passion of the voice.
I’ve always been drawn to voices; not musically excellent voices, not voices of precision but voices of passion. When friends were drawn to the pop chart songs of the moment, I found my ears tuning to Dylan, Tom Petty, Russ Taff, Michael McDonald, Joe Cocker, Dana Key, Louis Armstrong, Van Morrison, Barry McGuire, Rod Stewart and not to leave out the ladies, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Tyler, Mahalia Jackson and recently, Adel. I didn’t always agree with the message, but I always respected the passion they sang with. For me, the question was, and still is, do I believe you? Are you moving me, awakening me, angering me? I want to be affected.
I remember learning the rules of singing; the breathing, the vocal tone, shaping the mouth and vibrato. Each lesson powerful in the fundamental they shape. I break those rules, when my lack of ability or discipline to follow them erodes the passion. It all must bow to passion. Petty brought raspy passion to his hit, “I won’t back Down”. “Well I won’t back down; I won’t back down; You can stand me up at the gates of hell; but I won’t back down. No, I’ll stand my ground; won’t be turned around and I’ll keep this world from dragging me down. Gonna stand my ground - and I won’t back down.”
Achieving our created purpose, means living so the passion spills out. John Wesley said, “Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn,” and …..don’t back down.
Just a little “thoughtrock”.
David John Hensman
(Next Blog – Pirates)