RIFFS 2009




Published October 14, 2009
Prince Lewis Packs Up
Lewis Foremaster 1932 - 2006

His Lordship's last aide de camp, has packed up the van and taken off to his final gig. Details are very sketchy at the time of this Riffs annoucement. Prince Lewis as Lord Buckley dubbed him, and everyone called him, struggled along life's path with a dicey ticker for many years prior to his passing. This news comes to us with a maddening digital delay of nearly three years as the good Prince left us on December 20, 2006.

A high school football star and budding Hollywood player, Lewis met Lord Buckley in Las Vegas in 1959 and the two just never look backed. In a 2001 interview with Roger Mexico and Michael Monteleone Lewis recalled,

"I was a theatrical agent down in Hollywood. And that's where I heard his album. And I was aware of him. And then I met him at The El Rancho when he was in Vegas. And he, you know, he needed a chauffeur. He had a driver's license but I don't think he had a car. So, I was - I volunteered because I was looking for some action, pretty bored with the scene. My main motive for being with Lord Buckley was belly laughs all day long. We were having a good time. We were having a fun time, you know, it was a gas."

It was Lewis and his bright red VW van that accompanied His Lordship to Cleveland and Chicago and eventually on to New York City in the fall of 1960 on what turned out to the final adventure of Lord Buckley's life. Buckley had declared this "The Cosmic Tour", and we now know that the Good Lord was prophetic as well as profound. But they nonetheless had great success on the gigs they did and Buckley seemed to be at the top of his game. In New York City it was the police department and their soon to be discredited Cabaret Card licensing policy that proved Buckley's undoing. His card was taken away he could not work. Somehow this lead to Buckley falling victim to The Bugbird. Though it proved to be too late, Lewis was the person that called Ed Sullivan when Lord Buckley took sick. Ed Sulivan arranged for an ambulance to take Buckley to Columbus Hospital just a few block away from where Buckley and Lewis were staying at the Gramercy Arms apartments. Lewis was also one of the last people who knew Buckley to see him alive.

After Buckley died, Lewis made his way back to California via Nevada and spent the rest of his life in pursuit of the truth and more belly laughs. He assisted Hollywood movie star Scott Brady. He spent time working the boards doing his own tribute to Lord Buckley. He did a stint as a Yogic guru (doing headstands in front of crowds in Las Vegas casinos.) He got deeply into various Indian philosophical treatsie. His last stand was at the Klondike Hotel on the petticoats of Las Vegas. He was a one of kind hipster, good natured and always ready for one more belly laugh.