By Jeff Cornell
In a revealing interview, Warren Zanes—the author of the new Tom Petty book Petty: The Biography—dropped a bombshell. Zanes says that in interviews for the book, the rocker admitted he was addicted to heroin in the 1990s.
In the interview with the Washington Post, Zanes explains why Petty started using heroin at that point in his life, as he was going through a divorce. “That happens when the pain becomes too much and you live in a world, in a culture, where people have reached in the direction of heroin to stop the pain. He’s a rock and roller. He had had encounters with people who did heroin, and he hit a point in his life when he did not know what to do with the pain he was feeling.”
Zanes, who is not just a writer but a musician whose band—the Del Fuegos—opened for Tom Petty, was given full access to Petty and his archives for the book. The iconic rock singer and songwriter rekindled his friendship with Zanes after reading his Dusty Springfield book.
The author added that Petty was worried the news of his past would glorify the drug, saying “I am very concerned that talking about this is putting a bad example out there for young people. If anyone is going to think heroin is an option because they know my story of using heroin, I can’t do this.” Zanes explained to Petty that it would “come off as a cautionary tale rather than a romantic tale.”
The interview also shines a light into the birth of the Traveling Wilburys, why Tom Petty parted ways with Howie Epstein before he passed away and more. Read the entire interview here.
Petty: The Biography will arrive in bookstores on Nov. 10. Fans can preorder the book here.