For Huey Lewis, this year’s 30th anniversary of the first album he released with his band, the News, is “a good marketing opportunity,” but he’s more concerned with the present than the past.
“We sound great right now,” says Lewis, 60, who started the News during 1979 in San Francisco after he and keyboardist Sean Hopper were in the band Clover. “We’re really sounding better than ever — I mean, incrementally. I don’t think we’ve lost a step.
“Why? We’re all in pretty good shape. We get a lot more sleep than we used to. That’s not very sexy, I suppose, and although we don’t look as good, I just think we sound better. And we enjoy it.”
There’s also new music being made — or in Lewis’ case, new recordings of old music. The group convened in Memphis earlier this year to record covers of vintage soul tunes by Johnnie Taylor, Joe Tex, William Bell, Rufus Thomas and the Staple Singers, among others. Lewis and company are deciding how the album will come out, but the News is playing several of them in its concerts and Lewis thinks the material speaks to the seasoning the band has three decades on.
“We literally cut this stuff live in the studio, with a horn section, for two weeks, and it was the most fun we ever had,” Lewis recalls. “It was just a ball. We’ve flirted with this stuff before, but some of it ... you just don’t want to touch it. It’s intimidating, ’cause if you don’t do it right it’s pretty awful.
“But this is the first time we just plunged in, and it was really good. We can’t wait for it to come out.”
Huey Lewis & the News perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $45 and $25 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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