Lewis located: Enigmatic singer found sipping coffee in Canada

Enigmatic musician Lewis has been found. Light in the Attic Records claim to have tracked down the mysterious musician whose self-released 1983 debut became a recent underground hit. Alive and well, Randall Wulff is apparently still making music and doesn’t want any money from the reissue campaign that turned his prescient early songs into contemporary cult favourites.

“We found [Lewis] looking calm, cool and collected, sitting outside a little neighbourhood coffee shop drinking a large hot coffee,” Light In The Attic said in a statement. They had apparently come looking for him in an unnamed Canadian city, following a tip from one of Lewis’s old friends. “He had no idea about the recent interest in his old records and didn’t seem to care in the slightest,” they revealed. “We had a check for him but he wasn’t interested ... [He] said, ‘I wish you guys all the best. [But] I’m not looking back.”

This past spring, Light In The Attic reissued L’Amour, a 30-year-old collection of synth-laden songs that outsider music fans had been trading online since 2012. Just two months later, crate-diggers discovered a second Lewis album, also privately-pressed: Romantic Times, from 1985, which the label released this summer. And yet despite the popularity of both LPs, nobody had been able to find Lewis. Light In The Attic uncovered only his real name, Randall Wulff, some of the places he had spent time (Los Angeles, Alberta, Hawaii), and the fact that he never paid photographer Ed Colver for L’Amour’s cover shot.

Wulff now apparently goes by “Randy”. “We brought him CDs and LPs of L’Amour,” Light In The Attic wrote. “He took a look, impressed (‘nice’), and smiled, recalling a number of positive stories from back in the day. Then handed back the CD, saying it was for us and kindly declined keeping it. Randy simply wanted to look forward with both his life and music and had no interest in any celebrity or financial gain having to do with the albums. He told us over and over again, ‘That was a long time ago.’”

In light of Wulff’s ambivalence, Light in the Attic have announced that they will not repress L’Amour or Romantic Times once their current stock runs out. “It doesn’t feel right collecting money from [Lewis’s] art and him not sharing in it regardless of how incredibly positive he was about the entire thing,” they said. His royalties will remain in escrow should he ever choose to claim them.

Wulff is now working on new music - songs that took him “40, 50 years to write,” he said. And fans have uncovered a YouTube video showing a Lewis-like “Randy Duke” working at a Vancouver studio in 2012. But there’s no word on whether these songs will ever be released. “I’m not looking into coin,” Wulff told Light In The Attic. “I’m not looking into anything. I’m just strumming my guitar.”

Contributor

Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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