huey lewisHuey Lewis recently did a interview with Rollingstone reflecting on his album “Sports” with The News, being involved in Back To The Future, American Pyscho, and more.

Here’s a few highlights from the Huey Lewis / Rollingstone interview:

RS: Let’s start with Sports. What did you hope to accomplish with that album when you started it?
Huey Lewis: Well, our first album didn’t do anything. We produced the second album ourselves and kind of broke even. The third single from that was “Working for a Living.” That was a hit, but our future was anything but secure. This was the third album on our contract, and we knew we had to have a hit.

 

There was no Internet. There was no jam-band scene. FM radio was very programmed. There was only one avenue to success, and that was to have a hit record. We produced it ourselves and wanted to make sure we did it on our terms. Our style was to take something old and make it modern. Around 1980 we heard Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen,” which was cut with the LinnDrum. Our idea was to take the modern technologies of the day as kind of the cake, if you will, and then have the icing be saxophones and voices and old-school stuff. It was the old and the new at once. 

RS: Tell me the story behind “I Want a New Drug.”

Huey Lewis: I was driving to my lawyer’s office when the idea came to me. I busted in his door and said, “Bob, give me a pen and paper!” I then literally wrote down almost all the lyrics. When we tried to write music to it, we kept missing it. We had a version of it that [bassist] Mario [Cipollina] and I wrote together, but it just wasn’t good enough. One day [guitarist] Chris [Hayes] called me and said, “I got it!” He came to my house and played the lick, and I sang my little lyric and we put it on tape. It was five minutes. 

RS: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always heard that you weren’t happy with American Psycho at first. Is that true?

Huey Lewis: No, no, no, no. Thanks for asking that. I’m so glad to correct that. I read the book and it had three pages on Huey Lewis and the News. It was spot-on. The guy [Bret Easton Ellis] was clearly a fan. He knew what he was talking about. I said, “Wow, that’s uncanny.” It was like the best review ever. The guy really knew his stuff. He also wrote a great piece on Phil Collins and Whitney Houston.

When the movie came around they wanted to use “Hip to Be Square.” Willie Dafoe was in the big picture, and I’m a huge fan of his. I said, “Sure, go.” We knew it was violent and all that, but who cares? It’s art. We’re artists. No problem. They paid us for the song, and boom. Now a week before the movie premieres my manager calls me and says, “They want to do a soundtrack album.” I said, “Really? What would that look like?” He goes, “‘Hip to Be Square,’ a Phil Collins tune and a bunch of source music.” I said, “Well, that’s not right, is it? Our fans have to buy this record for one song? Can we politely decline?”

We politely declined, and they generated a press release the day before the movie came out and sent it everywhere. It was in the USA Today and everywhere else. It said, “Huey Lewis saw the movie and it was so violent that he pulled his tune from the soundtrack.” It was completely made up. So I boycotted the movie from there on. I refused to watch it. That’s it. I didn’t poo-poo it or anything. But when we did the Funny or Die video I saw the scene. I thought it was great. 

You can read more of the interview here