One might imagine that if Tom Petty were ever written up for disturbing the peace, it would be because he was playing music too loudly. In reality, though, the reasoning was a bit more violent. Petty, who has spoken about the anger he held onto since childhood, explained that police officers took away his gun because he was disturbing the peace. He said that he thought this was a good thing.
The musician said he held on to a lot of anger
“I did go through a lot of my life with a short fuse where I could erupt into a serious rage,” he told Uncut. “I think that was a product of my childhood, where I had some serious abuse.”
He said that he was able to channel his anger into music.
“I had an explosive side,” he told Rolling Stone in 2009, per The Petty Archives. “It wasn’t that easy to set me off. But when it happened, I lost it in a big way. I’ve learned to control that. But I had a tough childhood and took a lot of abuse. That rage was in me, and when it got away from me, I didn’t know how to control it. But I could vent it in this music.”
Tom Petty said the police took his gun away because he was disturbing the peace
Petty also dealt with his anger by firing a gun.
“I can get mad. But I’m better at controlling my temper now, I think,” he told Mojo in 1999, per The Petty Archives. “Yeah, I always worry about temper. I could never have a gun in the house. They won’t let me have one. I’ve had mine taken away.”
He explained that when he got angry, he would go fire his weapon in his yard.
“Police took mine, because I’d just start shooting,” he said. “I wouldn’t shoot at people. But I’ll go out and kill a tree. My dad always had guns. I’m good with a gun. I really like shooting, and when I’d get mad, I’d take a gun and kill some inanimate object. But finally I got it taken away from me because I was disturbing the peace.”
He thought it was good that he no longer had a gun in the house.
“I think it’s good. It’s too dangerous,” he said. “You don’t need it. But I do shoot targets.”
Tom Petty said he became more inclined toward peace as he aged
While Petty often felt stressed and angry, he said he was able to better manage negative emotions as he aged. He thought of himself as a changed man.
“I’m incredibly changed,” he said in the book Conversations With Tom Petty by Paul Zollo. “I think I’m a much changed person from those days. I think I’m a lot mellower.”
How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.