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Press - David Letterman Interview 1984

The following is a transcript of the David Letterman interview which Huey originally did in 1984. Huey looked great in a white tee shirt, and black jacket and pants. Before the interview, Huey performed "Heart of Rock 'n' Roll" with back-up Paul Schaffer's resident combo. (Johnny was also there and played sax, but didn't take part in the subsequent interview.)

David Letterman: You sound terrific!

Huey: Thanks.

David: It's really nice to have you here and congratulations on all your success! Introduce… you brought one member of the News here, right?

Huey: Yeah, Johnny Colla, our sax player.

David: Johnny, you sound great. Thank you for being here. Now, what about the other gentlemen in the band? Are they miffed that they're not making this appearance?

Huey: Absolutely. We were told that you couldn't afford us!

David: Boy that's the truth. That's no lie.

Huey: We're from Marin County, so we had to have a band meeting and all get together, you know, and sort of talk it over, and make sure it was okay. But it's okay, only because it's Paul Schaffer and the boys.

David: Oh good. We appreciate it, thank you very much. How, how does this feel all of the sudden you've got the #1 selling album in America. You've been at it a long time, I know. And this is… is it everything you hoped it would be?

Huey: Well, next week we're gonna go to #2, which is fortunate I think, 'cause one was a little scary.

David: Yeah, yeah.

Huey: You know, it's the, the air's thin up there. A lot of pressure and it's better to be back at two.

David: Uh, Huey tell me about this great looking bar on the cover. Is this an actual bar or painting? Uh, or both?

Huey: Uh, yeah, it's both, (laughs,) actually it's the 2 a.m. Club in Mill Valley.

David: 2 a.m.?

Huey: That's right and the tee shirts are for sale. You can write to "Goose" at the 2 a.m. Club.

David: (Pointing) Is this "Goose" on the album?

Huey: No that's Mario, our bass player.

David: Oh, okay…

Huey: He looks kinda like a goose..!

David: Is Goose miffed that he's not in the picture?

Huey: No, I don't think so.

David: Oh, okay. As long as everybody's happy. And you actually go to that bar and hang around?

Huey: That's right. And needless to say, the drinks are a lot cheaper now!

David: Well, I would hope so. Uh, for folks that have been watching TV a lot tonight, this will be your second appearance. They will have seen you twice. You know what I'm talking about?

Huey: Oohh, you mean we're going to do the National Anthem… we did the National Anthem tonight.

David: That's right.

Huey: How were – how was it?

David: (laughs) Uh, it was another one of those All-Star cliffhangers. But, uh, now the whole group sings the National Anthem?

Huey: That's right. Johnny actually did the arrangement. It's kind of part Navy band, part doo-wop.

David: (laughs) That's nice.

Huey: Yeah.

David: And, uh, why do you do that? Is it a lot of fun? Seems like it would be more nervous than anything.

Huey: It's very nervous, but it's a free ticket!

David: Yeah.

Huey: And uh, when can you sit on the field?

David: Have you done other ball games?

Huey: Yeah, we've done lots. We were originally asked to do the Oakland A's, I think. Isn't it? Yeah, the Oakland A's. Then we did the Warriors, and the 49ers and the Giants, and now the St. Louis Cardinals and now the All Star Games. So we're moving right up.

David: This is a whole separate career for you.

Huey: Absolutely.

David: And people… and I don't know anything about the singing of the National Anthem in front of large groups of people, but people say that's probably one of the toughest things you can attempt.

Huey: It is. It is. Especially when you're looking at the All-Star team is five seconds away and they announce everybody on the field and they line up first and third base and then they go "And now, would you please stand?" and it gets very quiet. One microphone. An amazing slap back, like a second delay. You have to pretend it doesn't exist.

David: This is your echo coming back?

Huey: Yeah, you have to pretend it doesn't exist, so it's hard.

David: And does it bother you that the ball players are, you know, doing what ball players do? You know, chewing and this…?

Huey: (laughs) And playing with themselves?

David: Yeah, that kind of thing, a distraction there.(laughs.) Uh, what did you do before music, in uh, your days as a kid?

Huey: Um, I just fooled around actually. I tried to avoid work as best I could and had millions of odd jobs. Each of which lasted about five minutes.

David: What kind of stuff? Anything you wanna remember?

Huey: Oh, I was an encyclopedia salesman for a good day, (David laughs,) I chauffeured for another day, I had a landscape company –(mockingly)- landscape company… we weeded! (David laughs.) We had an old… that sort of stuff.

David: (laughing) And you traveled around?

Huey: That's right, yeah.

David: Where did you go?

Huey: Hitch-hiked in Europe for about a year. I took the harmonica 'cause it…

David: How old were you when you went to Europe?

Huey: I was 16.

David: And, uh, you hitchhiked in New York from uh…?

Huey: That's right, I hitchhiked to New York from San Francisco and I actually stowed away on a plane. In those days, you take a boarding pass and write seat number, destination on the outside, go into the boarding area early and sneak on. And of course, take the middle seat over the wing. Only take a different seat so if someone says, "Oh I'm sorry, this is my seat," oh, mine's actually up there. I actually stowed away for free on a plane.

David: No kidding? No problems? No questions?

Huey: No problems. I hitchhiked across the country and by the time I got there I aimed on paying for a ticket.

David: (sarcastically) Uh huh, sure. The experienced will say, "I'll buy a ticket," so you get to the airport and you got no money.

Huey: I got no money. I'd spent the money on the trip across the country, so I hung out there and befriended a ticket agent.

David: How long were you at the airport?

Huey: Three days.

David: You just lived at the airport for three days?

Huey: I lived at the airport for three days!

Huey: United Airlines, Kennedy.

David: And, uh, can this still be done? This forging of tickets?

Huey: I don't think so 'cause they do a stamp thing now and uh, I don't recommend it anyway.

David: So now you get to Europe and hitchhiked around Europe?

Huey: Hitchhiked ar… learned how to hitchhike. Which is completely different in Europe.

David: How so?

Huey: Well, here you sorta just stick your thumb out and wave. There you signal, you know, and like this sort of stuff, (waves hands wildly!) and whistle and yell, disrobe, anything, you know. They really don't…

David: (Laughs) Was it easier to get rides in Europe?

Huey: Much harder.

David: Really?

Huey: But it was good for my harmonica playing.

David: Yeah, uh did you make any money while you were in Europe? Or did you have to stow away coming back?

Huey: No, I made enough money to come back. I actually did make money in Europe just playing on street corners and bus stops and that sort of stuff.

David: That was a great life for a kid, boy, 16, 17. You can't beat it.

Huey: Yeah, yeah…

David: I mean, I mean it sounds good to me now!

Huey: You should try it!

David: I may be trying it (Huey laughs) anyway, uh, it's a real pleasure to meet you and good luck out there. They're playing it at the Candlestick?

Huey: That's right.

David: Now, uh, people say that that's a great place to see a ball game, don't they?

Huey: They played it at Candlestick!

David: Oh, that's right, they've already played it at Candlestick.

Huey: It's actually a great place to see a ball game.

David: Yeah.

Huey: But, uh, at night often times it gets very cold, but in the daytime, and this game started at five and we know the weather… well we know how it was… (laughter)

David: Anyway, give my best, give my best to the rest of the News.

Huey: I will.

David: And, uh, you couldn't have sounded better tonight. You were really terrific!

Huey: (Sincerely) Thanks very much.

David: And congratulations on all your success. You certainly deserve it… Huey Lewis, ladies and gentlemen!