-photo via Light In The Attic Records
Randall Wulff, the man known to his fans across the globe as Lewis, is alive and living in Canada. The discovery is documented a blog post from Light In The Attic Records, who handle reissues of Lewis's material.
It offers a degree of closure on a story swamped in mystery. Lewis's first record L'amour was recorded in Los Angeles in 1983 and fell into obscurity until it was discovered decades later in a flea market. The record's alien levels of tenderness heaped onto its velvety ballads quickly led to the Internet revival of an artist with little to no solid history. Light In The Attic Records hired a writer named Jack Fleischer to track down Lewis, and what he found only fanned the unreality surrounding the crooner: Rumours of drug addiction, a life as a con-artist, and a romance with Christie Brinkley all came up. And although he had family, no one seemed to know where he might be due in part to the many pseudonyms Wulff went by. The resulting attention on Lewis also soon led to the emergence of a second album Romantic Times, a sealed copy of which was sold on eBay for over $1000.
But the label's two and half year long search for the artist ended last week, when they received a tip from a friend of Lewis's that the man was alive and living in Canada. Two days of search led to a man dressed exactly as you'd picture older Lewis, wearing "classic blond hair, white shorts, white, billowy dress shirt (confidently unbuttoned to the navel), shiny white tennis shoes, and a wooden cane."
But apparently Lewis has no interest in collecting profits from his old records or even engaging with new fans:
"Randy had no idea about the recent interest in his old records and didn’t seem to care in the slightest. We had a check for him but he wasn’t interested. We brought him CDs and LPs of L’Amour. 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' and that we should 'have a ball' with the reissues. When we mentioned that we’d been looking for him for years, he was surprised, responding that he’s been right there all along and shops for groceries at his neighborhood store."
The mystery of his fate has been solved, and reveals even more questions. It's the most Lewis ending you could have predicted. Listen to Fleischer and Weird Canada's Aaron Levin discuss Lewis last week on CBC.