Exclusive: Jon Scott talks breaking Tom Petty | The Music Universe

Scott talks to us completely about his new Tom Petty ebook

If it weren’t for Jon Scott, two America’s most interesting musicians could by no means have achieved the success they’ve. The former DJ-turned-radio promoter is chargeable for launching John Mellencamp’s and Tom Petty’s careers, regardless of the backlash his bosses at MCA and ABC Records in the course of the 70’s. Scott, who has been buddies with Petty for greater than 40 years, has authored Tom Petty and Me: My Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventures with Tom Petty that provides followers a glance contained in the life and profession Petty.

The ebook’s ahead is written by Mellencamp, who was referred to as Johnny Cougar within the 70’s when he was attempting to breakthrough as a singer/songwriter. Scott was working as a radio promotions man (aka promo man) for MCA Records on the time, and was in the end fired as a result of he wouldn’t take no for a solution when it got here to supporting the then 22-year-old from Indiana. The label needed nothing to do with Mellencamp, however Scott didn’t care. He was decided to get his music seen, however was fired earlier than Mellencamp gained success on a nationwide stage. After MCA, Charlie Minor, who was head ABC Records on the time, employed Scott to be their new promo man the place curiosity practically received the very best him there, too.

After discovering Petty’s iconic debut album eight months after it had been launched, Scott pulled one other “Johnny Cougar factor” and was relentless at getting Petty’s music heard. The album was launched alongside thirty-two different albums in 1976 and was disregarded as punk as a result of album’s art work that includes Petty in a leather-based jacket draped with bullets throughout his chest. Punk wasn’t common but, so many stations didn’t even take heed to the album, not to mention play it. That’s when Scott stepped in and practically misplaced his job a second time as a result of his unintentional discovery that grew to become a ardour for Petty’s music.

I spoke with Scott final month cellphone from Los Angeles. He tells me that he had six weeks and completely no cash to interrupt the band that was about to be dropped by ABC on account of its lack help.

“I seen it in ’76. It got here out in October. I didn’t see a canopy. It was white, and one thing informed me to take a seat down and take heed to it. When I did, the primary music ‘Rockin’ Around (With You),’ the hair on my arm stood up at consideration. And then ‘Breakdown,’ the identical factor occurred. I’m like ‘Damn, that is actually good.’ I listened to the entire thing. It closes with ‘American Girl’ I feel. What I heard was unbelievable. I bear in mind telling my assistant to carry my calls and I put the headphones on.

“The manufacturing on that first album. The producers had the background] voices flying left and proper and Mike Campbell’s guitar flying from one aspect and switching it over to the opposite aspect. Hearing it on headphones is sort of a deal with. That’s after I jumped up, and it was like I jumped out a trance. I bumped into Charlie’s fice and stated ‘Who are these guys?’ He couldn’t inform by the file as a result of it had nothing on it, so he put it on, and stated, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s that punk band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.’ I stated, ‘Punk band? You didn’t take heed to it, did you?’ He goes, ‘Jon, I didn’t need to. Look at this man.’ He pulls the precise album out, ‘Look at this man, you’ve got blond hair — streaky blond hair — bullets round his neck and lights within the background, he’s a punk. Radio stations aren’t taking part in punk bands.’

“My thoughts was blown. I had heard punk bands, however punk band? I used to be like, ‘There’s no means.’ Something inside me stated, ‘Just go for it, ask him. Give me an opportunity.’ When I first labored there, he made me increase my proper hand and swear I cannot do a ‘Johnny Cougar factor’ once more. He stated] ‘If we don’t work them, you can not work them.’ I had my fingers crossed behind my again. I’m a DJ, I’ll play good music.

“I knew what I heard, little doubt. There’s no mistaking. First all, I stated, ‘Charlie, give me a shot at this file.’ He stated, ‘You’re doing the identical factor you probably did at MCA, Jon. You received fired over there, don’t get fired right here. I such as you. I do know you bought an ear for music, however no.’ I stated, ‘Please, I’ve nothing to do for 2 weeks.’ He goes, ‘You gained’t spend one dime on this. You can’t purchase an advert, you possibly can’t do something. You’re by yourself.’ I began making cellphone calls. Most them by no means heard the band]. I stated ‘I ship you a file tomorrow.’

“I imagine we simply despatched 100 data out the subsequent day. Most stated they’d by no means heard him. I began calling native guys and one other man dwelling in Boston, and he stated, ‘Jon, we’re getting a response right here. He’s large right here.’ Right then at that time, I knew I used to be onto one thing. The similar factor occurred in San Francisco. They began taking part in it there and received a response. He would play small golf equipment there, however I noticed a glimmer hope and that’s after I stated, ‘Charlie, I’m into this factor, I’m gonna do it.’ I sat there at some point, considering ‘I don’t know. I feel possibly I’m in a much bigger gap than I can get out ’ as a result of the bulk the stations stated no when in truth they by no means even listened to it. He was neglected and below appreciated as a result of the file cowl.

“I nonetheless don’t perceive why he had a black leather-based jacket on and bullets round his neck, however I by no means did discover that out. Because ’76, he hadn’t made it large in Europe or actually signed and made it large in Europe on the time. There’s not been a canopy like that. That cowl threw so many individuals f. Radio stations wouldn’t even take heed to the file. They perceived it to be a punk file and no one was taking part in punk data.”

Petty died immediately after going into cardiac arrest at his dwelling in Malibu in the course of the early hours October 2, 2017. He handed later that night UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Scott was devastated and dumbfounded like the remainder the world Petty’s passing. He stated it wasn’t till after Petty’s passing that he began writing the ebook to honor him.

“I began making notes about possibly a month after he died. I didn’t need to write something and put it out earlier than Christmas as a cash grabber or one thing, as a result of I all the time see these sorts issues. I need my story out. I need my grand children to have the ability to learn it and my daughter, particularly my grand children. Some the tales got here out higher than the others.

“I needed it to return out on four/20 truly. I knew he would admire that. I by no means actually knew Tom to be a drinker, besides one time once we went on a Christmas cruise, he was going, ‘These are simply too bland.’ I by no means actually noticed him drink. We made no bones about it, we’d smoke 5 blunts]. That’s the factor about Tom, I attempted to carry out his humorous aspect as a lot as I might. It’s not a intercourse and medicines story. I feel it’s a feel-good story. Someone described it like sitting round a campfire telling tales. That’s how I needed it to be.”

Scott was in attendance what grew to become Petty’s closing present on September 25, 2017 on the Hollywood Bowl. It was there when Petty himself, acknowledged Scott’s work from the stage the bought out live performance.

“There’s one specific pal I need to dedicate this subsequent music to,” he tells the group. “This is for Jon Scott. And six weeks earlier than we have been going to be dropped from ABC Records, he went to the radio stations…and received that sucker performed and, on the charts, and we’re ceaselessly grateful to him.”

Although Petty is one the best entrance males within the historical past American rock ‘n’ roll, Scott claims the singer/songwriter wasn’t too eager on public appearances.

“Whenever he discovered about texting, and realized that he didn’t have to speak to someone in one who was going by way of one thing or no matter, he would simply textual content folks. It took him awhile to get into it, however he’d begin texting folks. It was his type communication.

“He was a shy man. He actually was shy, I all the time need folks to know that. He didn’t prefer to be round large crowds folks, but when he needed to do it, he’d do it. He was all the time uncomfortable. At most live shows, he would pull it proper earlier than the present began and possibly an hour earlier than the present began, he’d stroll f the streets and be the primary one inside. He could be bugged. He simply didn’t need to be round as a result of he knew folks needed his autograph. After two-three hours efficiency, you understand how it’s after you try this, you’re spent.”

I’m not a lot a reader myself, however this ebook actually stored my curiosity. The chapters are quick and really visible with rather a lot incite into the music enterprise. I can see this ebook being made right into a film and Scott confirmed I’m the second particular person to inform him that. Hmm.. Maybe at some point it is going to be.