Current in Carmel exclusive: Huey Lewis & the News talk about playing Palladium
By Joseph Knoop
Anyone having flashbacks about life in the 1980s surely will have an accompanying mental soundtrack filled with songs by Huey Lewis & the News playing right along.
They were virtually synonymous with the time – their music could be heard all over the radio, in movie soundtracks and even on the fledgling MTV station. But time never stopped ticking for the country or the band, which has continued to fill concert halls and record new music ever since.
Now Huey Lewis & the News are ready to return to our consciousness again when they play the Palladium in Carmel on June 11.
The band, entering their 35th year together, is most known for their 80’s rock hits “Back in Time” and “The Power of Love,” both featured in the iconic movie “Back to the Future.” But their new set-list is sure to include songs like “Workin’ for a Livin’” and “Hip to be Square.”
In an exclusive interview with Current, Lewis took the time to tell people what to expect.
“Everyone loves the hits of course, but we try to mix it up a bit and play some different stuff to keep it fresh,” he said. “I’ve also changed the style of my shirt at least twice now!”
Formed from two San Francisco Bay-area bands that often acted as rivals in 1979, the News went on to create a uniquely ’80s sound, by combining R&B and soul with a rock influence and their indelible saxophone section.
Lewis developed a love of music early on and began playing the harmonica at the age of 13. After graduating boarding school, he hitchhiked through Western Europe for a year while playing his music. His former band Clover played three to four sets a night for five or more nights a week for six years before they were signed onto Phonogram Records in London.
It wasn’t until Clover’s disbandment that Lewis moved to San Francisco. In 1977, he began forming what would become the News, which released their first record in 1980.
Lewis said he considers himself a showman, and he has acted on Broadway, filmed the 2000 movie “Duets” with Gwenyth Paltrow and has even guest-starred on the TV Land sitcom “Hot in Cleveland.”
But the spontaneous nature of the stage is where he keeps returning.
“In the old days, music performances were live and used to be captured on record,” Lewis said. “Now performances tend to be created – pieced together. The waistlines have also changed a little since the ’80s!”
The band loves to play for every type of crowd, certainly an indicator of each member’s modest origins.
“I’ve never really thought of Huey Lewis & The News as an ’80s band, but people do like to categorize,” Lewis said. “We love to play for the fans everywhere. You never know what you might find on any given night.”
Saxophonist and founding member Johnny Colla developed his chops in the San Francisco music scene for years, inspired and drawn in by the 1960s “Summer of Love” movement. And he said he remains driven by a fervent News fanbase.
“Sure, we’re the Tony Bennetts of our generation,” Colla said in a statement. “But it’s not such a bad way to go. I can think of worse jobs.”
As a band that has stood the test of time, Lewis believes there’s one thing that fans might not anticipate.
“We all still like each other!” Lewis said.
Huey Lewis & the News in concert ● 7:30 p.m. June 11 ● The Palladium in Carmel ● Tickets start at $75 ● For more information call 843-3800 or visit www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org