“This was in the middle of chaos. Annie and I were at the top of our game, but there was a point where she had been told that if she didn’t stop singing or talking on the telephone that she would have to have an operation on nodes on her throat. That’s why we missed doing Live Aid.
“I was writing Don’t Come Around Here No More for Stevie Nicks to sing – I had the sitar and everything. She was working with Jimmy Iovine at the time. Tom Petty came by the studio, and he said, ‘Oh, I want to cut this song.’ We went to the garage studio under his house, and we did it there. His band were like, ‘What’s this?’ It was all my backing track until the end; I had done all of that with a drum machine in a hotel room in San Francisco.
“There’s a lot on the track. I did the guitars and the sitar, some cello and viola. Tom put his vocals on in his garage, and then the band came in and did their part at the end, playing in double time. Tom and I became great friends after this, hanging out and stuff. I think he’d been having a crisis, a bit of a roadblock finishing the album. But Tom just said, ‘Oh, fuck it, let’s make a record.’ It was kind of weird, though – the album is called Southern Accents, and there’s me playing the sitar.
“The record altered Tom’s perception about being filmed, too. Before this, the band would just play in their videos, but I was like, ‘This video should be crazy, like a Mad Hatter.’
“The band might have been a little, ‘My God, what’s happening?’ at first. But you know, when the video came out and the song went ballistic on the radio, everybody felt pretty good. Suddenly, the tours were sold out, and everything went to a much bigger level.”