In an interview with Rolling Stone, Joe Walsh’s drummer Joe Vitale talked about his experience with The Heartbreaker’s late singer Tom Petty during his final tour and revealed whether there were any signals about his health problems.
As you may recall, the lead singer and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty sadly passed away on October 2, 2017, at the age of 66. Petty was found unconscious at his home. The cause of his death later revealed as multisystem organ failure due to mixed drug toxicity.
Just a week before his death, Tom Petty completed which turned out to be his final tour which he conducted with The Eagles icon Joe Walsh back in 2017.
Recently, Joe Walsh drummer Joe Vitale joined an interview with Rolling Stone to talk about his experience with Tom Petty during his final performances. During the conversation, Vitale mentioned how devastated he was to hear the news of Tom’s death only a week later they finalized the ’40th Anniversary Tour’ of The Heartbreakers.
Here’s how Joe Vitale reacted to teh news of Tom Petty’s sudden death:
“Oh, my God. That was heartbreaking. We had just finished a tour and one week later, Tom died. It was like, ‘Oh, my God. What’s going on?’ He was just so wonderful to tour with. That was his 40th-anniversary tour.
We had so much fun with those guys. They are such a great rock ‘n’ roll band. They tell little jokes. They are little pranksters. They are a lot of fun.”
Furthermore, Joe revealed that Tom’s health was almost perfect during the tour which made his death even more shocking for everyone. He mentioned the fact that Tom was using a golf cart to go to the stage from his dressing room since he had a hip problem.
Here’s how Vitale explained the reason why everyone was so shocked to hear Tom’s death just a week after their final show on the tour:
“He seemed perfect. The only issue was that… in these arenas, the dressing rooms are quite a good distance to the stage, maybe 150 yards. He would get picked up in a golf cart and walk to the stage. Then he’d walk up the steps to the stage.
That wasn’t a health thing. What happened is he had problems with one of his hips. Why put the guy through 150 yards of walking? Once he got on stage, he was fine. He was running around like he always did and it was a great rock ‘n’ roll show.
He only took that drive to the stage because of his hip problems. It had nothing to do with what was going on inside of him. It was a hip problem.
Nobody would have ever thought he had health problems on that tour. It was very sad. I was driving in my car when it came on the news. I had to pull over. I had to call somebody to find out, ‘Is this on the level?’ I couldn’t believe it.”
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