Looks like Petty will cash in

SATURDAY, JAN. 26, 2008

Tom Petty says he’s not much of a football fan, but playing the Super Bowl halftime show was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“It’s quite an honor to be asked,” Petty says. “If you look at the people who have done it, it’s a very elite crowd. … It’s a great opportunity to play for the whole world at once.”

It’s also a great way to promote a tour. Tickets for Petty and the Heartbreakers’ upcoming North American concerts – including Aug. 15-16 dates at The Gorge – go on sale Feb. 4, the day after the game.

They last went on tour in 2006, and Petty said at the time it could be their last.

However, he says, “The band wants to go really bad, so we had a meeting about it, and we decided, ‘Why not?’ “

While there’s no new Heartbreakers album on the horizon, Petty just finished a reunion disc with his early ‘70s group, Mudcrutch (which included Heartbreakers-to-be Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell).

“We just thought it would be fun; we’ve stayed in touch over the years,” he says.

“It went far better than expected. … it was so much fun that it should be illegal.”

No ropin’ those winds

Country superstar Garth Brooks came out of retirement Friday for the first two of five L.A. concerts to benefit victims of last year’s Southern California wildfires and firefighters.

“I’m from Oklahoma. I know a lot about grass fires. I know a lot about wind and fire. I’ve never, ever seen wind and fire like I saw on the television,” said Brooks, who’ll do three more sold-out shows today.

Two thumbs up

Movie critic Roger Ebert was recovering Friday following yet another surgery to address complications from previous cancer operations.

Though he’s been unable to appear on his TV show, “At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper,” for more than a year, Ebert, 65, has been writing reviews regularly for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Making the aaay! list

The Fonz will be returning to Milwaukee later this year – permanently, and in bronze.

Civic leaders said Friday they had raised the $85,000 needed to erect a statue of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, the leather-jacketed biker from the Milwaukee-set sitcom “Happy Days.”

Said Henry Winkler, who played the character: “It’s not often you have a dream when you’re 7 lying in your bed, you get to live your dream out and then someone is going to erect a life-size statue of your creation.”

Irish eyes are laughing

Comic actor Will Ferrell is the rather unlikely winner of this year’s James Joyce award from the University College Dublin.

In his acceptance speech, Ferrell deadpanned: “As I perused my leatherbound volumes of ‘Ulysses,’ ‘Finnegans Wake,’ ‘Dubliners,’ ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,’ standing in my mahogany library, a lot of feelings ran across my mind. Like: ‘Damn, I should have read these books.’ “

The birthday bunch

Actor Paul Newman is 83. Sports announcer/actor Bob Uecker is 73. Actor Scott Glenn is 69. Actor David Strathairn is 59. Singer Lucinda Williams is 55. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen is 53. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is 50. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 38.


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