There is a new album by Huey Lewis and News in progress – the first in many years – but judging by a new interview, it's probably the band's last.
That's because the front man can no longer hear safely. The group that pioneered cool-dad rock in the 1980s with hits such as "Stuck With You", "The Power of Love", "Perfect World" and "Hip to Be Square" can no longer tour or record with him because Huey Lewis, now 69, was diagnosed in 2018 with Ménière's disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes dizziness and fluctuating deafness.
The band's new song, "Her Love Is Killin & Me", is their first single in over a decade and was written and recorded before Lewis's health problems worsened. It will be released as part of a 2020 album, Weather, and the singer is happy to have some more music to share.
Lewis discussed all this in a frank new interview with Whitefish Review, a literary newspaper in Montana where Lewis has a home. (The journal made headlines with an exclusive interview with David Letterman, a Montana tourist after retiring late at night.)
Lewis spends time on his property doing conservation – clearing the forest, restoring habitats for native fauna and fishing in nearby streams. These activities are also things he can do on his own, and that's how he prefers to be when his audience is at its worst. He can still pick up sounds thanks to hearing aids and other devices that amplify the audio, and sometimes his deafness decreases significantly. But the music, he said, is gone.
"Today is a year and eight months, and it's horrible," Lewis said in the interview. "I can't hear music. It's hard to hear speech anymore. But music is impossible. Music is cacophony for me and now my hearing fluctuates. Sometimes I can improve when I think: Oh my God, I can almost sing . & # 39; & # 39; And I've sung twice in the last two years, when my hearing was better. And I sang a song acoustically. But I couldn't do it for a set. "
The band had an average of 75 shows a year, but now Lewis can't do any. Even if he is well enough to sing, he cannot plan. “If I book a show, I have to book a month in advance. And I don't know what will happen in a month. So that's the hard part, "he said.
His hearing problems have been arising for years, but when they hit the worst in 2018, he thought he had lost everything. "I try not to disappoint myself," he said. “In the first two months of this, I was suicidal. I can honestly share this with you. I thought, shit, I'm just going to commit suicide. In fact, I contemplated my death. You know, like pills. I figured the pills were the easy way out.
Lewis was summoned with the help of the fans – the "Power of Love", you might say. "The letters I get, the support I get from people, from ordinary people, are amazing," he said. "Because when you do that, you don't think about it. You do it because you're writing a song. You're having fun and you don't realize it's affecting people's lives. And I get these letters from people who have cancer or are debilitated." somehow or have life-threatening things going on. I was always going so fast that I would never have a chance to really appreciate what that means. "
Although he can't make more music, the old hits are still playing. A jukebox musical composed of the band's songs, called The Heart of Rock & Roll, aims for a Broadway performance. He also has an idea for a TV show, and the new album keeps his old bandmates busy.