Huey Lewis & the News have hit the road with some intriguing tour partners over the years. But he says Joe Cocker is a particularly good fit this summer.
"He's a lovely guy, his band's great, he's a real sweetheart," says Lewis, 62, who plays harmonica for one song during Cocker's set each night. "I kind of discovered (Cocker) and Ray Charles at the same time; I knew (Cocker's) 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' and all that, and when I heard Ray Charles I said, 'Wow, that's who Cocker's listening to, too.'
"So it's a really good fit. It works out good."
The tour catches Lewis and company in a transition point. Having parted ways with its longtime manager, the group is handling its own affairs, setting up shop at a San Francisco Bay Area office/studio facility once owned by the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir. There's talk about a 30th anniversary reissue of the multi-platinum "Sports" album next year, while Lewis says the News has recorded one new track "While We're Young," which he considers a possible first step to the group's next album.
"We're working hard this year," Lewis says. "We've got a lot of shows booked, and the band is playing great. And we're putting the business back in order. It wasn't right for a long time i my mind, and you don't want to work when you don't feel right about it.
"It feels much better now. The only thing we haven't done yet is write nine new songs. But I think we're gonna try, and we're in a good place now so I'm feeling pretty optimistic."
Doug Fest 2012, with Huey Lewis & the News and Joe Cocker, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $30-$75 pavilion, $20 lawn with a $74 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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