Huey Lewis can pinpoint the exact moment his entire world fell apart. It was January 2018 and he was in Dallas to play a corporate gig with his longtime band the News. Opening act Pat Green was entertaining the audience and Lewis was “taking the Elvis route” to the stage through the kitchen.
“I heard this huge noise,” he says. “It sounded like warfare was going on in the other room. I yelled, ‘What is that?’ They said, ‘It’s just Pat, the opening act.’ I put in my in-ear [monitors] in and couldn’t hear anything.”
He hoped things would improve once he got onto the stage, but when the band kicked into the opening song, the sound only got worse. “I thought the bass amp had blown a speaker,” he says. “I just heard this horrible noise and I couldn’t find pitch or even hear myself. It was an absolute nightmare. The worst thing. Just horrible.”
He has a condition that makes it so his hearing is mostly or totally lost depending upon the day, which means he won’t tour again anytime soon.
Which makes me sad; I am a Huey Lewis and the News fan from way back. Sport was the first album I got for a buck at a garage sale when I lived in the trailer park. (I still have it.) His is a music of grown ups.
I say maybe about not ever seeing him because I remain optimistic about the advance of medical science. Perhaps sometime soon it will come up with a treatment or cure for what ails Huey Lewis. I hope so.
And if he never gets his hearing back and therefore never plays live again, Lewis says he’ll be OK.
“I have a great life,” he says. “I’m a lucky guy. No matter what happens, I’m a lucky guy. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. But I am.”
Still a hero of mine.