Huey Lewis spoke candidly about his hearing issues with his hometown paper, The San Francisco Chronicle. Huey Lewis & The News have recently signed a new recording contract with BMG to release their upcoming 10th studio album this spring featuring material the band has been recording over the past decade. Lewis’ roadwork has been indefinitely sidelined after contracting Meniere’s disease, an incurable inner ear disorder, which has rendered him unable to sing.
Lewis, who along with the News, scored a dozen Top 10 hits between 1982 and 1988, admitted to The Chronicle, “It can drive you absolutely crazy…” Lewis compared a typical day’s hearing to be “like listening to everything through a blown speaker.”
Lewis has been focusing on a Huey Lewis & The News musical, The Heart Of Rock & Roll, which had a brief run in San Diego, and he hopes will find a home on Broadway. Lewis talked about being benched due to his hearing: “I don’t miss the road at all, the plane trips, but I do miss my guys. The camaraderie, the fun we have and the laughs — yeah, that’s what I miss. And the actual live performing, which I loved to do. When you’re having a great gig, when it really sounds good and everybody is on the money, you’re in the pocket, the song sings itself. It’s the most fun thing in the world, it really is.”
Huey Lewis recalled appearing earlier this year at a charity show — and everything seemed to once again fall into place: “I realize I can hear the f***ing band! I can hear pitch! I can hear for the first time in eight months! Boom, I sang it. It was great, I could hear everything! Next day, my hearing’s still good. It’s fantastic. Huey’s back! I’m going to sing again! (But a few days later) my hearing goes to s***, and it’s that way for like a month.”
Lewis revealed that losing his ability to perform isn’t the saddest part of the situation at hand: “The worst part about this is shutting my band down, my 25 guys (in the band, the crew, and staff). It’s like a football team, we’ve been working together for 40 years. The truth is, we were still improving. (When you get older) you can be wiser in your music choices, your note choices, and you relax more. It’s not about (vocal) strength or anything like that, and the voice held out, so I think we were as good as we’ve ever been.”