Connection? I knew Huey in 1969- 71, in Ithaca, NY, when we both struggling harmonica players/ bandleaders. I should mention that his name wasn't Huey Lewis back then and that he's not struggling anymore. In fact, he's probably the second highest paid harmonica player in the world. My guess is that Stevie Wonder is the first highest paid harmonica player. Guitarist Matt Kelley reminds me that Mick Jagger also plays harmonica, but I wonder if he's really a harmonica player.
Huey does seem to value old pre- News friendships and so when his annual performance at Wolf Trap rolls around, I call him and he leaves a pass and a seat ticket at the willcall window and I attend a little meet and greet in the bowels of the Filene Center.
This time, there were lots of attractive forty- to- sixty- year- old women, with well- coiffed hair, and colorful tops, their husbands/ boyfriends/ companions, also well- coiffed w/ golf shirts (Polo shirts?) and Cargo shorts, expensive watches and year- round tans, a smattering of band members, and, briefly, Huey himself.
He left quickly as his fans drank almost all the green room beer and ate almost all the green room salads and finger foods.
I found him with his cousin in another room and he asked me to sit with them. Huey has always looked good. Back in Ithaca he had shoulder- length hair and a ready smile. Lots of charisma. Time, of course, is catching up, but he's still slim, has a full head of hair (unlike myself- I have half a full head) and an unreal amount of charm.
We sat talking with his cousin and his wife, and then Huey's "facilitator" Lol came in and diplomatically moved us on. Meanwhile, of course, all the golfers are still munching crudites in the green room.
After the show, which, by the way was excellent- top notch band with a horn section and two fine back- up singers, I went back again and this time there were even more people. Younger women who had their picture taken w/ Huey. In fact, this is a large part of what Huey Lewis does. He shmoozes his fans. Onstage, offstage, backstage.
After awhile, Lol came back through and diplomatically did his thing.
Huey didn't let me leave, though. He took me back to the now- empty green room. We cracked open a couple of beers, and sat down.
"So," he said, "how was Ithaca?"
You never really leave Ithaca.
|The author and his friend