The Long Tail Sessions, Vol. IV—October 4, 2017. (Tom Petty, Las Vegas, and Living Life to the Fullest)

There was something particularly, punch-you-in-the-gut, painful about the juxtaposition of the horrible events that occurred last Sunday. First, I learned about the loss of many lives through a horrible act of cowardice at a music festival in Las Vegas. Then came the news that Tom Petty—one of the most important people in the soundtrack of my life—was hanging on by a thread, only to pass away the next day. Devastating on all fronts.

The artist and audiofile in me always turns to music when tragedy strikes. This week was no different. Passively listening to music usually gives me some head space to come to grips with the realities of our world. The true irony here is that in other troubling situations, Tom Petty was typically an artist I would regularly seek out as a way to find solace.

There have been many thoughts running through my head this week, but mostly I’ve been thinking about how weeks like this cause me to live in fear, have regrets, and think about how precious little time we have on this planet. Tom Petty had long been in my bucket list of living artists to see live and I could have easily seen him perform at the Hollywood Bowl on September 25th. I missed my opportunity, however, that paled in comparison to the thought that many of those in attendance at the performance in Las Vegas were likely listening to one of their bucket list artists when tragedy struck.

Listening to great art and hearing live performances doesn’t solve the problem, but it does give us all a time to reflect and think about ways we may be able to be a part of the solution before future violent acts strike.

As a person who is a positive force by nature, music gives me just the break I need to come back ready for action. Here is a playlist of some of the music I’ve been listening to this week. I hope it gives you a small break from our crazy world.

What songs to you turn to when you’re trying to escape from the world? Let me know in the comment section below.




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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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