Tom Petty says he and The Heartbreakers are “nearly done with” their next studio album, which he’s expecting to release sometime early next year.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says, “I’m tremendously excited about this record and it’s not like anything we’ve ever done.”

Petty points out that he decided not to play any of the new material on his recent tour because “I’ve worked so hard on the sound of the record, I don’t want people’s first impression to be over YouTube.”

Asked to explain what so different about the upcoming album, he notes that while some of the tunes are reminiscent of songs from 1979′s Damn the Torpedoes or 1994′s Wildflowers, “it’s really got its own thing.”  Petty also says the new music “comes from a blues place and it’s much more distorted.”

Petty also gushes about how creative The Heartbreakers are in the studio.  He explains that he usually introduces the new songs by playing them to his band mates on an acoustic guitar and letting them work out their own parts.

“We’ve never really had rehearsals for records,” notes the 62-year-old rocker.  “It’s gotten where it’s so instinctual.  They’re so ridiculously good.  If I play them a song that I just wrote, they’ll do the first take and it’s suddenly a whole different thing than I pictured.”

Meanwhile, Petty reveals that he’s also planning to record a sophomore album with his pre-Heartbreakers group Mudcrutch, whose lineup includes Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench.  The band, which formed in the early 1970s, reunited a few years ago and released its debut record in 2008.  Petty says he hopes to record the new Mudcrutch album sometime between releasing his next studio effort with The Heartbreakers and heading out on tour with the group.