What the late singer said he thought would happen to The Heartbreakers if ‘God forbid’ one of them died

By Sarah Weldon
October 04, 2017 at 04:33 PM EDT
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Following Tom Petty’s sudden death on Monday in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times published the rock legend’s final interview. In the profile, writer Randy Lewis profoundly points out: “This is not the Tom Petty story I intended to write because I intended to write a ‘next stage’ story.”

Petty’s death certainly came as a shock to both the music community and the world, with artists and fans all paying tribute to the late singer-songwriter.

From hearing the band play one of his new songs and the power of rock & roll to his thoughts on aging and, eerily, what would happen to The Heartbreakers should one of them die, here are six of Petty’s most moving quotes from his final interview.

1. On his SiriusXM show “Buried Treasure” and his love for music:

“It keeps me listening like I used to do. I always listen. I could come home and I would spend the rest of the night just lying on the floor or the sofa listening to albums. It was like a movie to me. I still do really, and doing the radio show ensures that I’ll be sitting there listening.”

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2. On taking a break from music:

“I just have to learn to rest a little bit, like everyone’s telling me. I need to stop working for a period of time.” Still, he confessed, “It’s hard for me … If I don’t have a project going, I don’t feel like I’m connected to anything. I don’t even think it’s that healthy for me.”

3. On feeling young:

“On the back side of your 60s, most people aren’t working,” he said with pride. “This keeps us young. I think it keeps me young…When I see people I knew from earlier in life and I run into them now, they’re very different than me, and they look different. I think this has kept us all thinking young and feeling young.”

4. On the fate of The Heartbreakers should something happen to one of the band members:

“If one of us went down, or if one of us died — God forbid — or got sick,” he trailed off, before speaking softly, “We’re all older now. Then we’d stop. I think that would be the end of it, if someone couldn’t do it.”

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5. On being in the studio and hearing the band play one of his new songs:

“Yes, I love the studio. I love the studio as much as I love playing live, easily. I’m pretty much in one every day, and I’m still at that.”

6. On the longevity and power of rock & roll

“It was about moving people, and changing the world, and I really believed in rock ’n’ roll — I still do.”

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Petty died on Monday, Oct. 2 hours after he was discovered unconscious after suffering from cardiac arrest. He was 66. You can read his full interview with the Los Angeles Times here.