Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! prefaced her Tom Petty cover onstage at the House of Blues in Cleveland with a touching anecdote: “All of my first live performances, technically, were me strumming a tennis racket, dancing in front of my bedroom mirror, lip-synching along to that record,” she says, referencing presumably 1989’s Full Moon Fever. “I didn’t know what was in store for me down the road, I just knew I loved that record.”
Grace says she didn’t even know who the Heartbreakers were until her life unfolded in moving to Gainesville, Fla. (where the Heartbreakers are originally from), and receiving a Rickenbacker guitar from her father (Petty was a vintage guitar aficionado). It’s a unique and nearly universal love for Tom Petty that’s spurred so many artists to honor and praise his work.
Watch fan-shot video of Against Me! doing “Runnin’ Down a Dream” in the player below, and further down, watch Petty himself perform the song circa 1994.