Rocker Tom Petty wrote new song "Running Man's Bible" during a flood of emotions about former bandmate Howie Epstein's death. The Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers leader has often struggled with Epstein's 2003 drug-related death, admitting the bass player's narcotics use had turned him into an unpredictable band mate - but he was still devastated after hearing of his passing.
In a past interview, Petty said, "He was just degenerating on us to the point where we thought keeping Howie in the band was actually doing him more harm than getting rid of him. His personal problems were vast and serious." He adds, "We tried everything we could to reach him but it got to the point where his ability to do gigs was diminishing. Eventually, we realized that we were just contributing to the problem. When you're living a life where you really don't have any responsibilities, it's easy for evil forces to take over."
"There's a great sadness, because Howie was never not a Heartbreaker. He just got to where he couldn't do it anymore... It's like you got a tree dying in the backyard. And you're kind of used to the idea that it's dying. But you look out there one day and they cut it down. And you just can't imagine that beautiful tree isn't there anymore."
But there's a tribute to the bassist on Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' new album "Mojo". Petty tells Rolling Stone magazine, "I'd always wanted to deal with Howie's death, and there's some of that in there. It's ('Running Man's Bible') one of those embarrassingly revealing songs. It just crept into my mind one day. I was playing the guitar, and it started falling out."