It’s an understatement to say that singer/saxophonist Mike Quinn gets around. He’s made a name for himself in Charleston as a genre-bender for his celebrated work with the Motown Throwdown (soul), Doom Flamingo (synthwave), Gino Castillo and the Cuban Cowboys (Latin jazz), Shimmy Ghøster (jam/improv) and Rad Gumbo (zydeco), to cite but a few of his steady gigs.
“I have been fortunate to play with such a diverse group of musicians here in Charleston, and I mean that in every sense of the word diverse,” Quinn told the City Paper. “I, frankly, would never want to play with just one band. One of my favorite things about this music life is that I play with a different crew just about every day.”
But of all the projects he is associated with, one is particularly near and dear to Quinn’s heart: The Fake News. This local collective was specifically created by Quinn to pay tribute to 1980s icon, Huey Lewis. It turns out that Lewis had an impactful part to play in Quinn’s own development as an artist.
“My dad gave me a cassette, when I was like 7 years old. It was the Sports album by Huey Lewis & The News. That was the first item of music that belonged solely to me, and I quickly became obsessed,” Quinn said.
Sports was Quinn’s first meaningful introduction to the sound of the saxophone, an instrument that loomed large throughout all of Lewis’ work. “Plus, that record was decidedly odd, compared to what I had been used to hearing at home,” he said. “I think that’s the main reason why I took to Huey Lewis so completely.”
Quinn wasn’t the only one hooked on Huey Lewis & the News at the time. In its heyday, the audacious act delivered an abundance of catchy tunes — “Heart and Soul,” “Hip to be Square,” “If This is It,” “I Want a New Drug” and “The Heart of Rock & Roll” among them — that dominated the pop charts and radiowaves of that era and the then-new entity known as MTV.
“Only Michael Jackson and Hall & Oates were as omnipresent as Huey Lewis in that moment,” Quinn said. And even now the News’ repertoire still resonates with audiences, as Quinn has discovered for himself in a big way recently.
The Fake News, which features some of Quinn’s regular collaborators and a few of his Lewis-loving friends from Sol Driven Train and Gaslight Street, will take the stage at 9 p.m., April 7, at Charleston Pour House. $12-$15 tickets are at charlestonpourhouse.com.
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