Sunday, November 9, 2014

Traveling Wilburys on Cloud 9

This photo was taken in October of 1987 and here is what Tom Petty had to say about it in an interview:

Questions:   Was it while touring with Dylan that you heard an advance tape of George Harrison’s Cloud Nine, produced by Jeff Lynne?

  Tom:  Yeah. And I loved it. We played in Birmingham [England] with Bob and then a few weeks later we played London for a few nights. I think we were there for three or four nights in Wembley. On the first night in Birmingham, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne came to visit. And Bob was not feeling well. He was not really around before the show, and then he didn’t want to hang around afterwards too much.

It was funny—that first night we were in London, when we had that great time, a hurricane hit. In London. Completely unannounced and unpredicted by the weather bureau. I always thought that [hurricane] had something to do with changing my life. This literal hurricane.

The Hindus think that when you meet someone and you feel really close to them immediately, that maybe you knew them in a past life. And that was how it was with George. We met each other and instantly became really close. Instantly we became very close. And I remember him saying to me, ‘You know, I’m not going to let you out of my life now.’ And it wasn’t about The Beatles or anything
like that. We really got along well. And shared a sense of humor. And we became very close friends. And Jeff, too.

So we hung out, and one night we really had a nice time, after the gig we hung out for hours with George, and Ringo was there and Derek Taylor [music journalist, former Beatles publicist, and collaborator on George Harrison’s autobiography, I, Me, Mine]. And all of their wives. And we hung out, and we had a lot of laughs. And then the next night was my birthday. I have a photo.

They brought me a little birthday cake. And there’s a photo of me and George and McGuinn and Bob and Mike, and we’re all backstage laughing. And it looks pretty accurate. Victor Maymudes, who was Bob’s roadie, was there. We had a really good time. And George gave me this cassette, and said, ‘This is the album. Let me know if you like it.’

So I took it home. That was the last gig of the tour, London. And that was when I told Bob, I can’t carry on because I have to go home and rebuild my life. The house had burnt down and all of this, and I’ve kind of got to put my life back together, so I’m going to have to bow out. Which I think he understood, but he was kind of sad about it.

So I came back, and it was Thanksgiving Day. I was at the house in Beverly Hills, and some people were coming over. And I like to have softball games. And so I was going to have a softball game at the house. But I didn’t have enough mitts to play ball. So I was going to drive down to the Sav-On in Beverly Hills and buy a dozen ball mitts so everybody could play ball. Which was the only place open on Thanksgiving Day. So I’m at the traffic light, and I look over to my left, and there’s Jeff Lynne. Who I’d only just recently seen in England. So I honked my horn, and he turned around, and we pulled over. And I said, ‘Wow, what are you doing here? And I love that album; the album’s great.’

He said, ‘I’m working with Brian Wilson.’ And he said, ‘Where do you live?’

I told him where I lived, and he said, ‘That’s weird. I live really close to there.
So we should get together.’

‘Okay, let’s do—let’s get together.’ Because I really liked Jeff—he’s a great guy. And very warm, and has a really great sense of humor.

So we fast-forward a little bit. And I think Jeff probably came over after that in a day or two. And we hung out a little bit. And fast-forward a little more and it was right before Christmas. And there were a lot of magical things going on in my life. I was with my daughter Adria, and we were out Christmas shopping. We had driven over to Studio City, there was this one restaurant there on Ventura called Le Seur, a French restaurant that was a really good restaurant. It was really good, and it was the kind of place you went to on special evenings. It was kind of our special night restaurant. And I wanted to give Adria a big afternoon out. And we were shopping and buying gifts. And we were driving past Le Seur and she said, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if you could just eat lunch at Le Seur?’

And I said, ‘Why not, let’s go.’

She said, ‘You’re kidding.’

I pulled in the parking lot and we came in. I sat down in my chair, and the waiter came over and he said, ‘There’s a friend of your’s here and he’d like you to come over to the table.’ And that’s all he said.

I said, ‘Oh,’ and I got up and walked around—there was kind of this private dining room—and as I walk in, there’s George [Harrison]. And he was having lunch with some people from Warner Brothers. And Jeff. And as I walked into the room, Jeff was writing my number down for George. And George said, ‘How strange, I’d just gotten your number and somebody told me you’d walked into the restaurant at the same time.’

I said, ‘Yeah, that’s far out.’

He said, ‘Where are you going?’

I said, ‘Well, I was just gonna eat.’

He said, ‘Where are you going after you eat?’

And I said I was going home, and he said, ‘Can I come with you?’

‘Well, I guess so, why not?’

And he said, ‘Well, I’ve got my car but I’ll follow you to your house.’ He said, ‘I’m staying at the Hotel Bel-Air,’ which wasn’t too far away. He said, ‘We’ll just hang out, okay?’

And I said okay. He followed me to my house, and we hung out that afternoon. And this is kind of strange, because when I talk about George, he’s so famous, and so much of an icon. But he really had the ability to make you forget about that and be a real good friend, and we had a lot of fun. A lot of laughs, a lot of playing the guitars.

The next day, the door rings, and George is back with his family. We spent Christmas Eve together. Actually, we spent several Christmases to come. He would usually be on his way to Hawaii at Christmas, and he would stop in L.A. And our two families became close. Dhani [George’s son] became a close friend of Adria’s, and they’re still good pals.

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