Published Jul 01, 2015When Lewis' stunning 1983 album L'Amour was rescued from obscurity by Light in the Attic Records last year, a big part of its appeal was that so little was known about the man that created it. Since then, the veil of mystery has gradually been lifted: the man was discovered to be alive and well, and a few more archival albums trickled out. Now, the songwriter — also known as Randall Wulff or Randy Duke — has granted an interview.
He spoke with Maxim at a Vancouver coffee shop where he is apparently a regular. He reportedly brushed off most of the magazine's questions, but he added to the legends of his glamorous life in the '80s: he claimed to have lived with heiress Doris Duke, have had tea with director David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai), and have given George Harrison fashion advice. He even spent some time making music at New York's Hotel Chelsea.
Beyond that, Wulff did shed light on a couple of notable mysteries. He said that, when playing hockey as a youngster growing up in Calgary, he wore entirely white, and his teammates "wouldn't go near me; they thought I was so strange." His outfit at the time included a white scarf bearing his great-grandmother's last name, Lewis, which presumably explains how he picked up the name for L'Amour.
And as for why he left Los Angeles — where L'Amour was recorded and his promotional photos from the era were shot — so abruptly and mysteriously, it was because his father had become wheelchair-bound after a motorcycle crash. "I had to take care of my father, and I tried to bring girlfriends with me," he said. "But it was tough. There's nothing to do in Calgary! Nothing like New York." These days, he lives with his girlfriend and his cat. He's reportedly well over six feet fall and carries a cane that he doesn't actually use.
Maxim also reiterated many of the details that have previously leaked out about Wulff: he was born in 1954 in Calgary, was successful on Wall Street, and mingled with models during his heyday.
There's also an intriguing hint of more music from Wulff. He said, "I play music all night. That's what I care about." He suggested that he might release new material in a few months.
Furthermore, there are apparently 10 albums' worth of songs in the vaults. Maxim wrote that these unheard albums are "just as striking and raw as his earlier work." In other words, the material is very different from the late-era Lewis album Hawaiian Breeze, with all of its gauzy instrumentation. Len Osanic, who owns the Fiasco Bros. studio in New Westminster, BC, admitted to adding that extra instrumentation himself with a hired backing band, which explains why it sounds so different from Wulff's other work.
Given how much light has now been shed on Lewis' life, don't be surprised if we hear more from the enigmatic songwriter before too long.