The recent passing of Tom Petty (more on him at the end of this column) certainly reminded all of us music lovers how important it is to appreciate our favorite musicians while we have them, for we never know when they will be gone.

Indeed, the last few years have been rough ones for fans of all music genres, with the loss of Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and now Petty.

Even fans of the legendary San Francisco-based classic-rock group Jefferson Starship have grieved last year with the deaths of Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson, both founding members of Starship's preceding band, Jefferson Starship (who both died Jan. 28, 2016).

Kantner stayed with the group through its transition into Jefferson Starship, left the group when it became Starship, returned to the group when Jefferson Starship reformed, and stayed with the group until he passed away last year.

Yet, the group endures with original member David Freiberg and Donny Baldwin. They will perform at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury on Friday, Oct. 20, with Mark Farner supporting. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $79.50 and $69.


Tom Petty at the 2002 induction of him and his band, the Heart Breakers, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. AP FILE PHOTO
Tom Petty at the 2002 induction of him and his band, the Heart Breakers, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. AP FILE PHOTO
60 and are available at

Farner, of course, is best known for the many years he spent as lead singer and guitarist with Grand Funk Railroad. He was responsible for their biggest hits, including "Closer to Home," "We're an American Band," "Some Kind of Wonderful" and "Bad Time."

You'll have anything but a bad time at this show. Don't miss out!

RIP, Charlie T. Wilbury Jr.

You've probably read and heard countless tributes to the great Tom Petty, who passed away last week after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Petty fronted Mudcrutch and then the group that carried his name -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- for decades, with a brief detour in the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys alongside George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

Now that he's gone (perhaps ironically of a broken heart), all we have left are the memories.

But for me, having seen Petty many times over the years, I have a lot of great ones.

I'm a child of the MTV Generation. I remember going to my cousin's house in Rhode Island to watch cable TV (amazingly, back in the mid-1980s, some towns had cable while others still hadn't been wired yet), and the three channels I always watched were ESPN, MTV and The Weather Channel.

Live sports fascinated me, the ability to see weather maps in motion intrigued me, but music videos captivated me. I spent seemingly endless hours in my cousin's living room watching The Scorpions ("Rock You Like a Hurricane"), Michael Jackson ("Billie Jean") and Duran Duran ("Hungry Like a Wolf").

But it was a couple of Tom Petty videos that weren't played quite as often, that got me off the MTV '80s sound into more of a rock vibe: "You Got Lucky" (with its futuristic Mad Max vibe) and "Don't Come Around Here No More" (with the Alice in Wonderland tones). I started looking for more of his videos when they came out, and that led me to the ultimate MTV-era video, "Jammin' Me."

When I went to college, he released his "solo" album "Full Moon Fever" (it had tons of contributions from fellow Heartbreakers and was co-produced by fellow Wilbury Lynne), cable was everywhere, and so was he.

But I still hadn't seen him live. That didn't actually happen until I started dating my then-future/now-current wife. We saw him tons of times in many different venues all over New England. He wasn't the hitmaking machine he had been years earlier, but his live shows became not just a summer concert staple, but also a highlight on our summer calendar. We'd trek down to Great Woods knowing he'd give us all of his hits (he never skimped) on a warm summer night.

He never disappointed. I have my theory as to why that was. Perhaps it's summed up best in his song, "You Don't Know How it Feels," when he sings, "Let's get to the point. Let's roll another joint."

Every time I saw him, I think he'd rolled one ... or several.

Except one time. And he wasn't as good.

In a lot of ways, Tom Petty has been the soundtrack of my life. At least the last 30 years of it. RIP, Tom. You left so much behind, and for that, we will always be grateful.