Huey Lewis: "I Would Be Just as Content Playing the Harmonica Somewhere"

Categories: Q&A

Next thing we wrote was "Power of Love," which I didn't think would work because they'd shot some of the film and there wasn't any overt love story in it. In the end, they wanted me to be in it, a little cameo, which I thought was kind of silly, I didn't want to do that, I was just working on my music. We agreed to do it if I was uncredited. I actually adopted the persona of our record company head, and I became him for that part.

With Duets, how did you feel about being the lead? Did you enjoy the acting?
With acting, it's interesting, I really love acting, it's really fun. Most of it's just hanging around waiting and most acting you can get a couple great scenes, and there's a lot of just pushing the story along. But what's interesting, I did a musical Chicago on Broadway as Billy Flynn for 222 shows, and I did television, Hot in Cleveland, and then I did some film work, like Duets, and such. The three things are completely different, stage acting, film acting, and three camera sitcom stuff. They're just completely different and really neat.

I can see that if that were your gig, 24-7, you might be tired of that too, but for me, it was very exciting. I enjoyed it. I don't have to do it for a living, fortunately. So I don't have to take all the stuff I'm offered. I can pick and choose. Which means, I don't do very much. I want roles with real acting. They always go to real actors! (laughs)

You also did Dancing with the Stars recently...
We performed on it. I graciously did not dance.

Why did you decide to perform on that? Do you watch the show?
This is our Sports 30th anniversary tour. I have a 9-piece band. You have to make a living with my 9-piece band. If you want a good trumpet player, the difference between a good trumpet player and a not good trumpet player is huge. And if you want a good trumpet player, you've got to assure him a bunch of gigs. My trumpet player has three kids, so I have to take care of him, and we have to work.

Every year, we say: what are we going to do this year? And this is our 30th, and so it resonated with people. I had two other ideas for tours, but this one seemed to be the most popular. I'm not a backward looking guy, but this 30th Sports anniversary tour has invited a look back which is very interesting for me. I really enjoyed it, to that end, we want to promote that and Dancing with the Stars offered.

The sad part about it is it's live to track. I sing, but everything else is fake. It's on tape. All the music is. All those music shows are fake. It's all partial karaoke really. That's really what's happening. There's very few bands that just get up there and play.

How do you feel about Sports now as opposed to 30 years ago?
It's so a record of its time. Everyone asks, why'd you call it Sports? I have no idea why I called it Sports. Cause it had a lot of hits! I didn't know that, I didn't even think of that.

There aren't many albums anymore because of the internet.
The other thing about the '80s, music television changed things, and then synthesizers and drum machines. Which is insane. You never hear anyone out of tune on the radio. They use Pro Tools and then Auto Tune, and everything is very different. In our day, you needed a drummer, without speeding up or slowing down, just to pocket the beats. That was the hardest thing on the planet. Then the machines changed all that. You have the Germans (singing something Kraftwerk-ish). Very funky Germans. No German guy could play that, they cut to a drum machine. When the German's are getting funky, you know something's up! Now it's all machines, anyone can do it. Pro Tools is amazing.

It requires less skill. Do you feel like it's lesser music if someone is only using Pro Tools?
I do not. I do not. It's just different skills. It's not singing and playing like we do. It's programming. These guys are brilliant. My old man was a Jazz musician and he used to say, "What's with the drums all the time?" I said, "It's so you can hear them pops. That's just a kick drum. In your day, you didn't want to hear them." He says, "Actually the difference is, people don't listen anymore." We're both right. There's not a whole lot of melody, not a whole lot of harmony. But the beats are good! It's just different. It's not better or worse. It's like food, burgers or foie gras, it's all just different.

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