Huey lewis & the news power of love

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Huey Lewis may Never carry out Again. But He Refuses zu Give Up

The Eighties hitmaker on his zuerst album in a decade and the hear loss the could ende his career


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At a time wie man hearing loss has taken him off ns road, Huey Lewis zu sein about to release his zuerst album von original songs bei nearly 20 years.

Du schaust: Huey lewis & the news power of love

Deanne Fitzmaurice


Huey Lewis tun können pinpoint the exact momente his entire welt fell apart. The was january 2018 and he was bei Dallas zu play a this firm gig through his longtime maßband the News. Opening act play Green was entertaining the audience und Lewis was “taking ns Elvis route” to die stage through the kitchen.

“I heard this substantial noise,” the says. “It sounded choose warfare was going on an the various other room. Ich yelled, ‘What is that?’ castle said, ‘It’s just Pat, ns opening act.’ ich put in my in-ear in and couldn’t hear anything.”

He hoped jene would enhance once he got onto die stage, but when the band kicked into die opening song, the sound only gott worse. “I thought ns bass amp had actually blown a speaker,” the says. “I nur heard this horrible noise and I couldn’t find pitch or also hear myself. The was bei absolute nightmare. Ns worst thing. Nur horrible.”


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The last time anything like this happened was back in 1987, appropriate at the apex of Lewis’ fame, when songs like “Doing that All zum My Baby” und “Hip kommen sie Be Square” were every over top 40 radio. One day, out of nowhere, die hearing bei his best ear totally vanished. “I feeling like ich had been in a swim pool and my ear was full,” that says. “I couldn’t shake it the end or pop my ears. I went kommen sie all kinds of doctors and in EMT finally said zu me, ‘Get used kommen sie it.’ ich said, ‘Get used zu it? I’m a musician!"”


The doctor described to him that ns hearing was unlikely to return but that great artists prefer Brian Wilson got von just fine through hearing an only one ear, since die body has a remarkable way von adjusting. Lewis was ultimately diagnosed v Meniere’s disease.

“It’s a syndrome based on symptoms,” the singer says. “If you schutz fullness bei your ears, vertigo, and tinnitus, they call it Meniere’s, but they don’t recognize what the is.”

As predicted, Lewis conveniently adjusted to life through one ear und went around his life und career till that horrible night an Dallas wie his left ear dropped out too. The went to die House Ear Institute, ns Stanford Ear Institute, and the mei Clinic zu meet with the most renowned hearing specialists in the world. When they to be unable zu help, he checked out a chiropractor and in acupuncturist, und even instituted an all-organic, low-fat, caffeine-free, essential-oils diet.

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Nothing worked, und he was forced kommen sie cancel all his future reise dates. Singing had actually been at the center of Lewis’ life because he was a teenager and despair quickly collection in. “I was suicidal,” he says. “There was literally a roaring tinnitus in my head. Ich just laid in bed. There was nothing i could do. I’d nur lay an bed and contemplate mine demise.”

With the help of his children und close friends, he gradually pulled himself out von his misery.

“It transforms out you can get used to almost anything,” the says. “I said myself jene like, ‘At least ich don’t oase pancreatic cancer …"”

He deshalb realized that his condition was more facility than he originally thought. Some days he was essentially deaf, yet other days that heard fine enough kommen sie engage in conversations. He produced a scale of one kommen sie 10 to explain it kommen sie others. “Ten zu sein what it was before this happened,” he says. “I’m at a five jetzt right now, which way I kann hear decided fine v hearing aids in. Under a three, i can’t even hear ns phone ring.” (During the prozess of in hour-long conversation, Lewis hears me just fine und never asks me zu repeat also a single question.)

But even on days wherein he’s a five und can engage in conversation, listening to music is a very different story. “Music ist much more tough to aufführen to 보다 speech due to the fact that even one note occurs in all frequencies through harmonics und overtones und undertones,” he says. “I call it distortion. When ich hear a bass teil that walk ‘bump, bump, bump,’ ich just hear <imitates die sound von loud, crunchy static>. I fight weil das pitch und I can’t uncover it. If i can’t uncover pitch, i can’t sing. It’s horrible.”


“I was suicidal. … I’d just lay an bed and contemplate my demise.”

The timing of all this zu sein particularly cruel because wie it happened, Lewis was hard at work top top the erste album von original Huey Lewis und the news songs because 2001’s Plan B. Neu music hadn’t to be a priority zum him bei quite a while. His many recent top 40 hit was 1991’s “It hit Me like a Hammer,” and he had more than sufficient classics to fill the end a collection list, yet he blieb felt prefer it was time zu try again.

“As a storyteller, freundin need new stories every now und then,” that says. “But us were law 80 shows a year and we had lives, deshalb it didn’t seem prefer there was time to make an additional record. Also, a real belästigt was ns songs. We’re notfall a prolific bunch as it is, especially due to the fact that we’ve written a bunch of stuff und its hard zu write more. It’s more tough now. I can’t have a lied with ‘rock & roll’ in the title. Ich already did that!”

But gradually over ns years, prior to his hearing loss, he recorded die seven songs weil das his upcoming LP Weather, in stores February 14th. “The label initially wanted zu add more das lied ,” claims Lewis. “I said zu them, ‘Why poison ns water? This ist a body of work. Why contaminate it? that cares about the number of songs? und if it’s just seven lieder because ich can’t sing anymore, that’s a better story! and Kanye’s record just has seven songs. Instance closed!"”

Lead-off einzel “Her Love ist Killin’ Me” was written über Lewis und former nachrichten guitarist chris Hayes about 25 years ago. “It nur didn’t work weil das some reason,” he says. “We tried that onstage in all sorts von different arrangements and it never worked. 2 years ago, johnny had in idea weil das a horn chart und we re-worked it und it happened. Occasionally it takes the simplest sachen to acquire a song right.”

Another song, “While We’re Young,” was written über News bassist John Pierce together with Colla and Lewis. Die vocal was originally cut an Lewis’ shannel Diego condo und the das lied was pieced together über various members von the band over email. “We never sat an the studio to make the one,” says Lewis. “We assembled it. Und some von the vocals on die finished version were cut in my life room ~ above that first day.”

“One des the Boys” came about wie man producer dave Cobb inquiry Lewis to write a song for a Willie Nelson job that never ever came to fruition. “Now i had this song zum Willie,” states Lewis. “I imagine it as his story, yet suddenly i realized it was actually mine story. John McFee, who worked with me in Clover and is now in the Doobie Brothers, played pedal steel and we finished die tune.”

Lewis jetzt finds himself in the inexplicable position des having a neu record the he can’t tour zu support. Yet he’s filming a documentary around his life (“We’re going zu kick linda Rondstadt’s ass!” the jokes) and trying to bring his musical The Heart of Rock & roll to Broadway. It’s the fictional story von a struggling absent singer who gives hoch on his dreams von stardom kommen sie work an a cardboard-box factory, wherein he falls bei love v his boss’ daughter. Wie man his kopieren, gruppe gets an offer to offen up weil das a huge band on tour, he has actually decide if it makes sense kommen sie leave his new life behind und give music one last chance. Every song, von course, is by Huey Lewis and the News.

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The music played zu packed houses an San Diego tonnage year, but bringing it kommen sie Broadway has actually proved zu be challenging. “It’s bei interesting game, Broadway,” Lewis says. “The theatre owners very own all ns cards und you have to find die right one. That can’t be too big or auch small. Union-wise, freundin need a certain number of musicians. It’s quite complicated, but we’re navigating all that und hopefully we’ll go zu Broadway this year.”

Even v all this projects occupying his time, together with golf and spending time through his two kids, Lewis blieb yearns zu sing on stage again one day. Top top days where he’s a five or higher, the sings right into his computer nur to save his voice up. Weist two points bei the past year, he had dafür many good days in a heat that he booked a rehearsal room with his band just to see what would happen. The news flew bei from every over die country, but both times his listening dropped down listed below a 2 shortly before they might all get in the room together.

There oase been buchstabe moments of triumph, though. Bei October 2018, Lewis went zu St. Andrews, Scotland, zum a golf tournament, and he was having together a an excellent hearing day the he went onstage v a band that was playing there and sang “Hip kommen sie Be Square.” “I was able zu do it since it was as tiny place, not in arena, und the band was really quiet, he says. “It felt exceptional though. I was dafür happy.”

In theory, Lewis can play a full set on a great hearing job under die right conditions, but die logistics make it hard zu pull off. “I’d need to book the show a month bei advance,” he says, “and ich never know what I’ll be like an a pair days since it fluctuates deshalb much.”

His previous production direktor now oversees ns Buddy Holly hologram tour und they’ve joked around using ns technology zu get him back on die road. “They had to use a modell to ape friend Holly,” he says with a laugh. “I’d be die perfect model zum Huey Lewis! i could come on bolzen tunes and do shtick. The crew loves die idea.”

That’s clear out von the question, and Lewis so rejects any kind of idea that involves using pre-recorded vocals as part des a direkte show. However whatever wake up going forward, he’s refusing kommen sie give nach oben hope that sooner or later he’ll heal. “The within ear zu sein one of the jene that medical science knows the least about,” the says. “It’s cased in bone and there’s no surgery. However I’m taking stem-cell stuff and trying everything. Through my hearing constantly fluctuating, my body is doing something itself. What I oase to do ist stay healthy, exercise, und hope mine body wollen slowly take it care von itself.”