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'We're playing to audiences that are really appreciative,' says musician Huey Lewis, 62.
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BY WALTER TUNIS
LEXINGTON, Ky.--It's an inevitable question, really: How can a band like Huey Lewis and The News maintain a creative drive and freshness in a pop age where its decades-old hits can't help but be viewed as old news?
"To be honest, we're having a better time now than we ever have," said Lewis, 62.
"We used to be this kind of beer and hot dog band. Now we're hanging with the wine and cheese set. And I like that," Lewis said. "We're playing to audiences that are really appreciative and knowledgeable about who we are. The whole thing gets a little better treatment now than it did when it was just the rock 'n' roll crowd that came to see us."
SILLY WITH SUCCESS
For the bulk of the 1980s, Lewis and his no-frills News-mates were an unstoppable pop force. Hit after hit--all possessing robust melodic hooks, a generous dose of pop-soul smarts and Lewis' ultra-amiable vocal cheer--ruled the airwaves.
"The Heart of Rock and Roll," "I Want a New Drug," "Heart and Soul," "The Power of Love" and more hit the charts with next to no elbow room separating them.
"It was an odd scene," Lewis said of his '80s heyday. "I felt I knew just what the people wanted, and that wasn't just with our own stuff. If you gave me a copy of someone else's album and played me the songs, I could pick out the single. I was absolutely immersed in all of it. It was all I was doing--listening to the radio, listening to and playing music, and producing our records.
"For a pop songwriter, the audience has to be involved in those days, I felt this music was very relevant. I felt like I knew what the American public was feeling somehow. I really did. So when 'Heart and Soul' became our first real hit, I thought to myself, 'Wow.' I even told the guys, 'If that one's a hit, then we've a got a few more coming here. This is going to be silly.'"
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