Huey Lewis on 30 Years of ‘Sports’: ‘Our 15 Minutes Were a Real 15 Minutes’

From Rolling Stone:

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

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.

I’ve heard the story about you guys playing with Elvis Costello on My Aim Is True so many different ways. Can you just clear it up for the record?

I was in a vintage pub rock band called Clover in the 1970s. A plan was hatched for us to go to England and take the country by storm. Literally, the day we landed, Johnny Rotten spit in the face of an NME reporter, and the game was on. It was the wrong place at the wrong time. These people we had worked with started Stiff Records, and Elvis Costello was their first hire. They needed a band for Elvis, so they stuck him with us.

I remember the first rehearsal the guys had with Clover. The guys said to me, “The lyrics are incredible. I’m telling you, the guy is great.”

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