Tag: the outfield

Interview: Carol Lewis Discusses Tony Lewis’ Posthumous EP, ‘More Than I Dared’, The Outfield

Photo: Carol Lewis

Following his unexpected death last October, the family of Tony Lewis, lead singer and bassist of the 1980s rock band The Outfield, as well as accomplished solo artist, posthumously released his sublime new EP, More Than I Dared.

The EP follows Lewis’ acclaimed debut solo album, 2018’s Out Of The Darkness, and is rich with the spirit of The Outfield; particularly on songs like the hook-laden “Gonna Make You Love Me,” and “I Feel Alive.” Other highlights from More Than I Dared include the guitar-driven “One By One,” and the colorful “Then There Was You.” The latter of which an intriguing departure from Lewis’ signature style.

There’s a magical element to More Than I Dared that’s undeniable. A showcase of elements in Lewis’ musical arsenal as songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. With music by Lewis and lyrics contributed by his wife, Carol, More That I Dared is a welcome treat for fans and a fitting honor to the legacy of a man who’s music will live on for generations to come.

100% of net proceeds from the initial release of More Than I Dared will be donated to MusiCares, an organization Lewis was very fond of.

The Outfield [which also featured Lewis’ friend and longtime collaborator, John Spinks, who passed in 2014] took the 80s by storm with their 1985 debut, Play Deep, and songs like “Your Love,” “All The Love,” and “Say It Isn’t So.” More than thirty-five years later, “Your Love” and Lewis’ signature vocal opener: “Josie’s on a vacation far away…” continues to be featured in compilation albums and commercials as well as streamed nearly a million times a week.

I recently spoke with Carol Lewis about More Than I Dared, Tony, The Outfield and more in this exclusive new interview.

What inspired the new EP?

Carol Lewis: The EP was inspired by Tony’s newfound solo career. He wanted to show that he had grown in confidence as a composer and producer and was keen to show another side to his talent.

How would you describe More Than I Dared in terms of its sound and how it relates to some of Tony’s previous solo work or with The Outfield?

Carol Lewis: A lot of people thought Tony just sung the songs but he was so much more than just a vocalist. He was a very accomplished musician who could play lots of instruments. He had a vision of how he wanted to sound, and although there would always be Outfield influences he wanted to add a different dimension to show where his own personal influences and style came through.

What was the songwriting process like for the two of you?

CL: Tony was always producing backing tracks and working on new ideas. He would sometimes spend all day in his studio and then play them for me. Then I would ask him what he was trying to say, and he’d say something like: “I have no idea, but it should go something like this….” Then he’d sing me something that made no sense. So I’d sit and think about scenarios from life and words would generally follow. The best time for me was while I was out running. It gave me clarity to make sense of things and what he wanted to say.

Read the rest of my
With Carol Lewis by Clicking Here

Interview: The Outfield’s Tony Lewis releases ‘Into The Light’ – first single from debut solo album ‘Out of The Darkness’

Out of The Darkness is the debut solo album from The Outfield’s vocalist/bassist, Tony Lewis, and the first since the passing of his friend and longtime collaborator, John Spinks, in 2014. The Outfield took the ’80s by storm with their 1985 debut, Play Deep, and songs like “Your Love,” “All The Love” and “Say It Isn’t So”. More than thirty years later, “Your Love” is still featured prominently in compilation albums and commercials as well as streamed nearly a million times a week.

Lewis’ new album is rich with the spirit of The Outfield, particularly on songs like the catchy first single, “Into The Light” and the colorful “Here And Now”, but that’s to be expected. The Outfield’s signature sound is ingrained in Lewis’ DNA. But there’s a new magic in Out Of The Darknessthat’s undeniable. Perhaps its because Lewis showcases other strings in his musical bow as songwriter, producer, guitarist and drummer. A process Lewis himself says felt very natural. Regardless, Out of The Darkness is not only a nod to the past, it’s also welcoming wish to the future.

Out Of The Darkness will be released on Friday, June 29.

In addition to the new album, Lewis will also be part of this summer’s Retro Futura tour, which kicks off in Atlanta, GA on July 11.

AXS recently spoke with Tony Lewis about Out Of The Darkness, The Outfield, touring and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did the Out Of The Darkness album originate?

Tony Lewis: Basically, I had a four year hiatus following the passing of John. It threw me sideways. I couldn’t even pick up a guitar for a few years. Gradually, I started recording again and put some backing tracks together. I was struggling with lyrics when my wife, Carol, offered to help. She’s a great storyteller and most of her lyrics fit well. Everything just fell into place. But I didn’t set out to make an album. I just wanted it to be a body of work. They were songs I really believed in.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from the album, beginning with the first single, “Into The Light.” What can you tell me about it?

TL: The line “out of the darkness” means my venture back into the music industry after a four year hiatus. It’s about coming out of that dark period after losing John and getting back into the industry. After being known primarily as a singer in The Outfield, I wanted to re-emerge as a solo artist and show that have more than one string to my bow. It’s taken a long time but its something I really enjoy doing.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Tony Lewis by Clicking Here.

Say It Isn’t So

A few days ago a friend of mine asked me to go online and check out a new CD the band he was in had just released. I quickly pointed my web browser to the CD Baby website to give a listen to a buddy whose cover band has been tearing up the local watering holes around town for years. Finally getting to hear his own original music was really going to be a treat.

CD Baby is a gold mine for independent artists. A website most local and regional bands use to promote their new music. It’s a great way for unknowns to get the word out to people who may not even know who they are.

But I never would have guessed that the CD Baby platform would ever be used in the opposite way.

Case in point: While listening to my boy’s uptempo bar songs I happened upon a CD listing for a band whose name sounded familiar to me. The album for sale was called “Replay” and the band was “The Outfield”.

“The Outfield?? It couldn’t be”, I said to myself. But by checking the band description it didn’t take long to realize that yes, this “Outfield” was the exact same Outfield who had been all over radio and MTV and sold five million records thirty-two years ago. Riding a stream of hits including “Say It Isn’t So”, “For You” and “Your Love” (a song which ironically has been in the set list of my buddy’s band for years). What the hell were these guys doing on CD Baby?

I gave a listen to some of the preview tracks just to verify that this was the band whose catchy hooks were a staple of the mid 1980’s. The new songs I heard were actually quite good. Just as good if not better than some of the ones I had heard from them during the Reagan administration. Music that brought back memories of blaring boom boxes, feathered hair and childhood summers. Music that, in my opinion, should now still be played on Top-40 radio and what ever the alternative is for MTV.

Sadly, there was no point in me picking up the phone and calling the local radio station to request California Sun, a track from the new record. Although it would personally be cool to request “The Outfield” again what were the odds that the DJ on the other end of the line would even know who this band was?

Now, had I said Bruno Mars, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift it would be a different story. There is a plethora of songs to choose from there. “Music” that saturates radio today. Song by artists that quite honestly are completely interchangeable with each other. All manufactured with the same chords, the same beat and the same theme. The only difference being the actual lyrics of the song and even most of those are cliché’.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing about skies full of lighters, a drunk party or crying out in the yard at two in the morning because my boyfriend broke up with me. They only make me long more for the days of Josie being on a vacation far away.

Music isn’t created anymore, its manufactured on an assembly line. The songwriters are gathered together with ideas already in place by the suits at the record company and the music is programmed in a high-tech studio in some big city. It makes me wonder how many actual musicians are playing their instruments on these tracks. Finally, it’s all put together, packaged and backed by a gigantic marketing team with deals already in place with major suppliers.

The days of the public deciding what music is good and bad are over – companies now tell you what you should buy and price their product appropriately.

Want proof? Just check out in stores and digital downloads. Ever notice that some new digital music singles sell for 30% less than standard 99-cent rate? And new CDs, for certain popular artists, which normally sell for $13.99 at a store, sell for $7.99?  Not coincidence.

It’s no longer about the music or how much money sales generate, it’s only about how many physical units are sold. Selling a million physical copies of a single or a CD offsets the loss of millions of dollars in the art that created it.

Worst of all, this manufactured stuff gets top billing in stores, radio and I-Tunes while “real” new music gets pushed to Indie web sites to be stumbled upon by accident.

To help reinforce my point about the difference between real music and today’s manufactured material let’s do a quick comparison of #1 songs in the USA from the years 1982 and 2011.

Entire month of January 1982: Physical: Olivia-Newton John
Entire month of January 2011:  Grenade: Bruno Mars

Entire Month of April 1982: I Love Rock and Roll: Joan Jett and The Black Hearts
Entire Month of April 2011:
ET (Katy Perry w. Kanye West) – No, it’s not about the little alien guy who ironically, first appeared in 1982.

Half of the month of July and all of August 1982: Eye of The Tiger (Survivor)
Entire month of July and Half of August 2011: Party Rock (LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock)

Now, armed with this knowledge, ask yourself this question:

Thirty years from now, which songs will you still remember?