Tom Petty, Highway Companion Review
Music Incider Magazine
Tom Petty was born on October 20, 1950, originally from Gainsville, Florida. As you may have heard before from yours truly, his aunt took him to see Elvis and he fell in love and wanted to become a musician. Thank God for the King.
I was watching the Grammys and was amazed to see it made it up there with Neil Young and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The problem is they had the choice in this country to pick between the truth about the war from Neil Young and Tom Petty. Instead, they chose The Red Hot Chili Peppers because the country doesn't want to hear the truth about the war and the troops who are dying. Both CDs are mind blowing and either Tom should've gotten the Grammy or Neil Young.
So you get the Scorpio (Neil Young) and Chili Peppers – who knows what sign he is. Instead, and I love the Chili Peppers, but the country needs to be woken up; that we're not living in a fake world. Bush is trying to cover up his crap and the only two speaking the truth. In my opinion, Petty should've gotten it. Or, at least had a tie.
If you listen to Highway Companion, you will hear the true psychic that Tom is. Because, he's a natural truth-telling story-teller. It's more like psychic writing – pen to paper and it just comes out.
The album cover is everything from Katrina, from 9-11, and the war. When you compare this album to his last – The Last DJ, where he took the music industry on like he did 20 years ago. He took out against Big Corporate Joe, and how the game is running. With Highway Companion, Tom is back to his roots. He knows we only have limited time and resources, that we need to take what we have and take care of it without blowing up the world and everything in it.
Thank God he is out of the hands of MSO. And now, he's under the loving wings of Heidi Robinson Fitzgerald. She has given him the space to grow and find himself again with the freedom of speech and his musician rights. He should be with her for the rest of his career.
I know it ain't metal, but it's Tom. Tom has to go in. Musicincider respects all musicians. Petty is an original. He's not fucking Bruce Springsteen who does nothing but covers that are million-dollar winners. Out of the two Libras, Petty is more honest than Springsteen. So, let's take a look at the album my little minions. Time to get a lesson in Petty.
Imagine yourself being anywhere from 19-35. You're enlisted in the Air Force, and you're convinced you're going for college education and fucking all those benefits. Meanwhile, you're being trained to kill innocent people, and all you want to do is come home. How do I get out of this mess? Why am I here causing all of this destruction. I should be home. I should be a kid. Am I going to die today? Will I be a victim of this war? When will there be peace? This is Tom's version of Amazing Grace. This is what the pilot hears the whole time he flies. Tom's giving us a message here: too many boys are dying; too many girls are dying. But this war is not going to end. Bush is trying to clean up all of our mistakes while all these people are dying. Listen to this song and you can hear the message Tom is sending out.
He imagines families in the Middle East collecting their dead one's bodies and cleaning up whatever's left of their homes. What are the family members on both sides of the ocean supposed to do who are losing family? What about the innocent people in the Middle East who are losing their family members' souls for oil for the U.S. and the European Union. Bush may not see it but he created World War III. And he has started what I call the Fourth Reich, with the European Union. It's the truth.
Are we fighting for 9-11 or are we fighting for oil or are we fighting for Saddam's remark about Bush's dad? Here, Petty's message is that the draft is returning. And this draft is going to be different. This draft won't care if you're in college or not. They're going to take you, baby. And, he's trying to give you the hint to find that safe place to hide yourself. And, it's called Canada. The pilot is hungry and tired of killing innocent people and wants to go home and see his family. If he's young, he wants to see his siblings. If he's older, he wants to see his kids. Why is this country re-deploying 60-year-old colonels? We're losing. It's time to leave.
If I was that pilot, I'd be in Canada with Tom Petty smoking and getting high. Don't be fooled by the government, my children.
The pilot has come home. He thinks he's made peace with himself. His wife keeps asking him questions. He's explaining to his wife what he had to do to survive; how he made it home and survived. He feels his time is up and that he won't be re-deployed. If he's re-deployed, he can't go back, because he'll come back dead. He explains to his wife that the war's a farce and he is not getting dragged back into that mess again.
He tells his wife to enjoy their time together because they never know when their time together will be over. He did his job, he keeps telling himself. He's home. He's the one up at night having nightmares, coming down with reactions from the chemical bombings, and there's no way he'll let them send him back. He hopes what he's feeling is true – that he's home for good. If it isn't true, he's not going back, because if he does, he'll come back dead. His wife is trying to comfort him. But, he can't escape what he saw; his part in the infliction on the innocent people.
Flirting With Time
This is dedicated to President Bush and the U.S. Government. Try being me. Walk in my shoes, the pilot is saying. You're playing with our lives. I touched that sand and it's like an hour glass holding the sands of time. You don't know the mess you created.
And yet, the media lies to us, the government has an answer to everything. You promised us we'd be going home. I'm still sitting here waiting for my papers to set me free to go home. You're playing with the time we have in our lives – the moments we have left with our families, loved ones, children. Every time I hear this song, I think of the movie Fahrenheit 9-11, with the soldiers campaigning at the poor and middle class malls to recruit. They skipped over the rich malls. If you're going to recruit, it should include everyone.
Katrina. A young man goes home after Katrina. His parents are separated. He's going to clean up all the messes his father's made and to bring his father home to put his father at peace.
And, then we have this guy who wants to go home. He has no home. There's no place for him to stay. He sees the memories of his family. He goes to the Super Dome and sees all the destruction and wonders when the government's going to help. When will the levees be fixed? When will he find a place for his family's remains. This is for every victim from Louisiana to Mississippi. Why isn't the government doing anything to help those victims. Why was the original head of FEMA fired? What is Bush trying to cover up with the victims who are trying to rebuild their lives. If anything, the next President should be the ex-governor of Louisiana who pushed Bush to the limit between FEMA hearings and Congressional hearings to get the help for her people. The help they deserved. And we're not just talking about the famous Bourbon Street District. We're talking about Mississippi, Louisiana, parts of Georgia and Florida that were hit.
And, how many more people are you gonna pay off Bush? How many more people in your Cabinet are you gonna let go before the truth comes out? Maybe the new leader of FEMA will help these people. I know, as a personal fact (from people I know) that people in other states in this country have done more to help the victims
When you have the North Dakota willing to take the victims and give them homes and food. And all this guy wants is his home and life back. He wants answers on how his government let him down. Will somebody finally open up their mouth and give them answers? This is the message Petty is trying to send.
Do you notice he includes everything from Georgia to Florida – dogwoods blooming, childhood memories growing up in Florida. Petty is the spokesman for everything that is going on in this country right now – whether it be natural disasters, war, or terrorism.
Jack is, believe it or not, Petty's version of Springsteen's Rosalita. But in Petty's version, the father is Jack who chases off all of his children. And the one child who stands by Jack is the daughter, who falls in love.
The daughter fins a boyfriend who she fills with creativity and an enlivens his spirit.
The father calls the daughter home. He starts telling lies about the boyfriend, and the girl disappears. She doesn't answer her phone anymore when her boyfriend calls. Now, all they do is fight over the ideas her father put in her head. He goes to her home to confront Jack and tells Jack in a nice way, "You've chased away your children. You're not going to keep this one. I'm going to give her the happy life she deserves instead of nightmares of living with you. No matter what you say Jack, I'm gonna get her back."
He has everyone believing it was his fault, but it was really Jack's fault. He will find a way to find her and tell her that she shouldn't believe all of her father's lies because the boyfriend has never hurt her before in her life. Jack, you ruined every one of your kids' lives. Go find another life to pick on. She's mine.
Turn This Car Around
Katrina again. Everybody's nicely tucked in their beds at night. The mayors and governors are sleeping with their loved ones. The storm alerts start coming in. He's packed. He's got his wife and kids and is ready to get out before the disaster starts. She gets them into the car, and he says "It's just a warning. Nothing's gonna happen. Turn this car around." He wants to go back home, and he won't tell her why.
It's a lovers' quarrel amidst Katrina, and it's time to realize our lives are in our hands. We either turn back and die or we keep going. All he wants to do is go back, but she says to keep going because the government's not going to help.
Petty's finally got his wish – time off on the road, headed down South, found out where his buddies were, called Highway Companion. He knows the mistakes he made, and he's not trying to prove it to anyone but himself. And, no matter what you do, you're not going to get the corporate Tom Petty like on The Last DJ.
He got together with his buddies, and created a masterpiece. He's sending his apologies to everybody. It was the corporate world selling him out.
The driver is not Petty. The driver is the driver of his bus. He's at a concert; does his meet and greet after the show and he's very tired. He just wants to go home. He's sitting in his bus and is very tired, hungry, and he sees the satellites up in the sky. He sees the stars. And he says to himself, "You know this is for all you boys over there, and for all you who have lost someone.
He's on his way home, thinking about world events, about what's going on. He meets this woman, gives him no information about her. He's very fond of her and thinks there's this great mystery behind her. He gives her a lift, and he needs answers before he lets her into his kingdom. You gotta remember guys, it's good to be king for a day, but he's king every day. He has a big heart. He'd offer her his jacket on a puddle in New York. Who is this mystery woman he picked up and why won't she give him any answers?
He's refusing to let her be queen. The natural circumstances are when you let anyone into your life and you don't get the answers you want, you make a call to yourself. My brain is on speed dial, my tires are wearing out. I'm tired. The treads are my body. And, meanwhile, I've got this bitch who won't tell me anything but wants to give me the world. But, deep down inside, she's no good. But, he keeps her anyway. He drives along trying to figure out where she came from to keep him awake, like the angels of the night.
Damaged By Love
This is a very sensitive song. And, if you can't see the meaning behind the song, then you're an asshole.
The young man falls in love with a beautiful young girl. She feels herself getting too involved, so she walks out. She leaves her journals behind. And, he realizes why she left. All of her previous lovers were abusers and beaters, or had some kind of mental illness that they took out on her. Now comes in the normal guy, who loves her for all she is, and he finally realizes all the hell that she's been through and how damaged and broken she is. He realizes that the arguments, yelling, and bullshit have to stop, and that he has to start treating her with the respect that she deserves. She comes home crying, and tries to explain to him what has happened. He tells her he knows and that you can't forget the past, but he's the future, the present, and won't hurt her like the ones in the past. So, Cinderella and Prince Charming run off into the sunset.
This Old Town
Petty attacks the music industry again. From the psychic point of view, he's attacking his whole PR. Where there was nothing but mass confusion, couldn't be himself, had no time to breathe, and do nothing but show up for show dates. If he wanted to play Atlanta, they'd send him to New York and vice versa. They were using him like a monkey on a chain. This publicist that he was working with – not Heidi, who saved his life and career. His old publicist suffocated him. He had no time to breathe. He had no life. He loves L.A. He loves it where it's warm. But, he realized that L.A., whether he's living there or not, is a town full of liars who tell you nothing but lies. Yes, you'll have this and that, and in the meantime you get screwed and burnt. Here's an example.
He takes a young musician by the name of Jim, and he ends up killing himself. What happened to Jim? What did this PR do to Jim that woke him up and made him realize it was time to go back to his roots. His angels guided him to Heidi. He's not going back. He's going to the future, and is in the present. But, he's very upset about how the young musicians are abused, like lovers mistreated in an abusive relationship. He's taking some shit but he's not taking all of the shit. It's not Heidi giving him the shit. It's the press.
Find your place; find your space and live your own life. It's like his song, Don't Back Down. He's telling the world the truth about himself - his life, the world itself and the music industry. This is the way a true Libra would do it.
You got a horse. A nice horse. You've got a preacher from the Midwest. This man sounds like he's from the Black Hills of North Dakota. He's a good, preaching man, but he finds this fucking horse that does nothing for him but mumbles. Doesn't dance; doesn't walk; doesn't hinny-hi-ho-hi-hei. But, if you go by Indian folklore, animals know when there's a storm coming. And, they stay dormant and hide. They're quiet and they become more mild, meek, and more gentle. But, you can't go near them. So, the preacher is wondering what is wrong with his horse. He picks up a drummer from Louisiana and the drummer and the horse run away together to Louisiana. Before you know it, the horse knows the storm is coming. The horse feels the waters drowning him. He starts to get scared. And, the drummer understands the horse. He's like a natural horse whisperer. The horse tells the man the storm is coming and they must leave. They return to the preacher.
The white horse represents the white buffalo. When it is born, it means Armageddon is coming. The Sioux, Cherokee, every Indian nation believes that the animals are signal warning of danger.
The Golden Rose
Every young man has the first love of his life. And, he's so fucking in love and he gives her the world on a silver platter. And, this girl is so subtle with her tricks that the young man doesn't realize he's being conned until later. Everything this girl does and says is right. She can do no wrong, in his eyes. That is, until the day she's tired of him, and used him for what she could, and walks out the door. And he wonders, will he ever see her again. And, all this guy is to her is just another notch on her lipstick case. And, he wonders why this golden rose does this to her. He doesn't realize life is an experience, the present and does go on. We all have mistakes to learn by. He has learned from his mistake and one day he will see the light – that relationships are supposed to be an equal partnership.