ARTIST SNAPSHOT: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Forty years of practice has made songwriting harder, not easier, for Tom Petty.

"As life goes by, you get a little more carefree or distracted by other things and you have to really police yourself — I do — into sitting down and doing something that pleases me," the 63-year-old rocker said. "Plus, I'm trying to do things that I haven't done before and not go over the same ground."

The writer behind such hits as "American Girl," ''Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "I Need to Know" will accept the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' Founders Award on Wednesday in Los Angeles. Previous honorees include Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel.

"It's very nice to get an award for songwriting," Petty said. "I'm duly impressed."

His process is much the same as it's always been: Sit down with the guitar and see what comes. When inspiration strikes, "it's a very real magic," he said.

So magical, in fact, that he hesitates to examine it too closely.

"It's really hard to explain because I don't really understand it myself," he said. "I know that when we have time booked, like when we set aside time to make a record, that's when I usually get pretty — I guess I get on the job as far as making sure I have enough songs, you know."

He sits and plays, recording bits here and there. The next day, he listens to what he did and either develops or scraps it.

Touring takes him out of the songwriting groove: "It takes me a few months after a tour to get back into the headspace to write songs."

Petty and his band just finished their latest album, "Hypnotic Eye," set for release this summer. That allowed time for him to check out Jimmy Fallon's recent duet — as Petty — with Stevie Nicks.

"I was amazed by how well they did the Heartbreakers," he said. "It was brilliant. Very funny."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also signed on as the headliner of the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco this August, along with Kanye West.

The musicians haven't yet met, but Petty said, "Everybody loves Kanye West, right?"

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Availability: Call for Availability
http://www.tompetty.com

North American Agency
WME Entertainment LLC – Beverly Hills

9601 Wilshire Boulevard, 3rd Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 United States
Phone: 310-285-9000
Fax: 310-285-3010
http://www.wmeentertainment.com

Executive VP & Worldwide Head of Music / Agent: Peter Grosslight
Direct Phone: 310-859-4552
E-Mail: pgrosslight@wmeentertainment.com

Board of Directors / Executive VP / Head Contemporary Music Department / Agent: Marc Geiger
Direct Phone: 310-859-4425
E-Mail: mgeiger@wmeentertainment.com

Music Department / Agent: Don Muller
Direct Phone: 310-859-4058
E-Mail: dmuller@wmeentertainment.com

UK & European Agency
ITB / International Talent Booking

1st Floor Ariel House
74A Charlotte Street
London W1T 4QJ United Kingdom
Phone: 44-20-7637-6979
Fax: 44-20-7637-6978
http://www.itb.co.uk

Director / Agent: Barry Dickins
E-Mail: barry@itb.co.uk

Worldwide Management
East End Management

13721 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 2
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 United States
Phone: 818-784-9002
Fax: 818-784-9027

Owner Manager: Tony Dimitriades
E-Mail: td@eastendmgmt.com

North American Publicity
Big Hassle Media

5566 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90016 United States
Phone: 212-619-1360
Fax: 212-619-1669
http://www.bighassle.com

Responsible Publicist: Jim Merlis
E-Mail: jim@bighassle.com

North American Record Label
Reprise Records

3300 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91505-4694 United States
Phone: 818-846-9090
Fax: 818-846-8474
http://warnerbrosrecords.com

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