Huey Lewis notes that over the years, he and his band, the News, "used to be a beer and hot dog band. Now we're with the wine and cheese set."
This year, however, another inebriant is part of the mix.
Lewis and company recorded the title song for "Pineapple Express," the hit summer stoner film starring (and co-written by) Seth Rogen. It came as a bit of a surprise, but it brought Lewis and the News back into the pop consciousness with the group's first new music since 2001.
"The challenges are really creative," Lewis, 58, explains. "I don't know if 'Pineapple Express' appeals to the wine and cheese crowd, anyway, so I don't think it's gonna boost the career, if you know what I mean.
"But for us it's nice. It was a creative thing, trying to write the song. They told us what they wanted and that they wanted it to be (named after) the title of the movie. And when they explained what (the movie) was about, I said, 'I can work with this. I do have some experience in that area...' "
Lewis says that he's fortunate that "the phone actually rings more than ever" with ideas for he and the band, although he adds that "80 percent of those are probably things you don't want to do" -- including a slew of reality TV shows he's been asked to host." But among those calls in the past year was one from country star Garth Brooks, who cut a version of the News' "Workin' For a Livin' " for a compilation, with Lewis guesting on the recording.
The group, meanwhile, has been writing new material, though Lewis says at this point it's more to incorporate into the live show before it winds up on a new album.
"We're at the very beginning of this process," Lewis says. "We've got three new songs we're playing, and then we've got another three coming.
"We're probably going to make a record eventually. I don't know if anybody cares, but as a storyteller you need a new story once in awhile. What you need is a new song to play in the set every so often, and we've got that, so it's fine."
Huey Lewis & the News and 9 House perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 28) at the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway at Schoenherr Road, Sterling Heights. Tickets are $51 and $41 pavilion, $13 lawn. Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net.
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