The Traveling Wilburys, 1988; photographed by Neal Preston.
“[Preston] remembers being called by a contact to go to a house in Encino, California, for some shots of Tom Petty and a few friends. ‘Tom’s gonna call you and he’ll give you the details,’ she said.
When Petty called, Preston asked for directions. ‘“Well, it’s er, it’s um, er… here, talk to George.” So he hands the phone over to a guy named George, and this guy says “Hi, this is George.”
‘I ask what’s the address and it’s a distinctly Liverpudlian accent and I suddenly realize it’s #GeorgeHarrison and he telling me what exit to get off the 101.
‘I’m in a haze now. I remember nothing about the rest of that phone call, but I managed to write the address.’
When he got to the house he found Petty not only with George Harrison, but also Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. They were just forming the #TravelingWilburys.
‘I get to the house about an hour later, knock on the door and a roadie lets me in and I walk in and George is sitting at the table and I see Roy in the kitchen mixing some tea or something and I think this is pretty wild.’
But while Preston was in awe of Harrison — ‘in my world, a Beatle trumps anyone,’ he said — the musicians were more worried about Dylan.
‘George pulls me aside and takes me in this small room, closes the door and says: “Now, listen to me, Bob is in a pretty good mood. I’ll let you know when the mood is just right, I’ll give you a sign and then we’ll shoot, But we won’t shoot until Bob is ready.”
‘Then Tom Petty walks in, gives me a hug and says: “Now, Bob’s in an ok mood.” It’s all the same thing. They’re walking on eggshells around Bob Dylan.’
He got the picture he wanted of the five Wilburys together, but not before another shot of four of the supergroup with Dylan way in the background, hunched over playing pinball before he would join his bandmates.
Many years later, after George’s 2001 death, his widow Olivia visited Preston with a documentary about the Traveling Wilburys. She had wanted him to see that it opened with a picture the roadie had taken of Preston’s shoot.” – Daily Mail, 17 October 2017