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Guest Writer Brad Beneke – “IM3 Vol.81- Goodbye Tom”

It’s 9:38 pm

After a hectic and sad two days I find myself not wanting to talk about it. While I guess for a rare moment God was listening because poet/wordsmith Brad Beneke dropped this and I asked if I could run it here tonight. Graciously he said “Yes” and so what follows is his words. Thanks Brad for helping a brother out here.


My favorite radio host has his “ode to a dead guy” bit when someone famous dies, and I usually appreciate them, but the title is too uncaring and unsympathetic for my liking.

Jim Morrison has the line that lingers most in my mind… “Death Makes Angels Of Us All…”
So in my own tribute to Tom Petty I played his songs in my office yesterday, and his live rendition of Bob Dylan’s License to Kill came over the speakers on the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting killing at least 59 people and wounding some 500 plus.
It was mind numbing,poignant and more powerful than anything I could have thought of on my own.
To be honest Petty is not one of my all time favorites, but he’s someone I’ve always respected and enjoyed. He was a vital piece of the American RNR scene and sound. It’s impossible to be 44 years old in the Midwest and not be impacted on some level by The Heartbreakers; at least for me. But it still blows me away at the strength of the emotional storm this has put me through.
I’ve been burying friends, family and heroes all of my life. My soul resembles a battlefield turned graveyard, and I expected long ago to go numb to it, but the opposite seems to have happened. Tom’s death coupled with the shooting at a concert has almost hit me as hard as losing Leonard Cohen and my country last Election Day.
Each death still resonates on its own, but also has a cumulative impact much like an emotional concussion. My expectation now is that the scars will just get deeper and a little longer across my soul and through my mind.
The hand carved tattoos of a life felt at level 10 every second of the day should burn me out. Hell, they should have destroyed me a long time ago, but I keep breathing and finding myself still finding new places for my crop of scars to be sewn and fully grown with a groan and an ocean of tears.
So cut to today when I planned on writing this piece, and in the lead up I heard Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Prince’s tribute to George Harrison at the RNR HOF was played on the radio.
Prince’s guitar solo in that piece is considered among the greatest ever recorded in rock’s history (not just my opinion). Well, I am not religious, but I thank God I was parked when that came on because the waterworks opened. A stream turned into a river and left an ocean on my shirt as I felt the power, the magic, majesty and magnitude of that moment on a new ten.
I feel blessed and cursed that music can own me like this, and that a man’s death could impact me this deeply draws my awe and gratitude. How did his death impact you? Did it impact you? What songs take you to another place? What song will always make you remember? In My Musical Madness (IM3) volume 81 has been brought to you by the capital letter Q; for the questions life lessons leave, and we are looking for a Dollar Shave Club sponsorship for the razor blade that cuts these thoughts and feelings into my soul because while it matters… it’s probably not worth more than a buck to anyone else but me.


Thank you again for your words my friend.


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