One of the more colourful characters from the players that moved through the ranks of Eddie & The Hot Rods and Dr Feelgood was Canvey Island’s Lew Lewis. The bluesy harmonica player first appeared as a Hot Rod on their debut single Writing On The Wall in 1976. From there he signed to Stiff in his own right, releasing his debut solo single – Boogie On The Street (BUY 5) – the same year.
Lewis had been inspired at take up the harmonica at just 13, when he heard the blues player Johnny Nightingale in Basildon town square. “It was like nothing I’d ever heard before,” he later recalled. “I bought a harmonica and spent the whole summer listening to people like John Lee Hooker and (his most audible influence) Little Walter, playing along to the songs as best I could.”
As a Hot Rod and as Lew Lewis Reformer, he has trod an unlikely path. The Sex Pistols once supported the Hot Rods, for their second ever gig. And by the late 70s, Lewis once played more than 300 gigs in one year, with everyone from Peter Gabriel to The Clash popping up in support. He continued to appear throughout Stiff’s early years, releasing a follow-up - Win Or Lose (BUY 48) - later that year. Next came the more sophisticated and less pub-rock oriented 1-30 2-30 3-35 (BUY 68) in 1980, and his only album to date, Save The Wail (SEEZ 17).