October 20, 2010

Huey Lewis's drummer teaches Native kids

Eviction looms for musician who chose to help kids

By Kevin FaganKevin Wells has known the roar of the crowd while pounding drums for rocker Huey Lewis, country star Carlene Carter and other powerhouse acts, and as a songwriter his hits include Lewis' "Walking on a Thin Line."

But that's not what thrills him these days.

He'd rather show a kid how to sing. Or drum. Or strum.

And that's chiefly why he's broke and about to be evicted from his funky, forested, 10-acre ranch.

Wells, 56, chucked the glamorous rock life a few years ago and devoted himself to teaching music to impoverished American Indian children in Round Valley, one of the prettiest, poorest and most isolated spreads in the Mendocino County mountains. His 64-year-old wife, Ronnelle Wells, took the couple's hippie altruism a step further by turning their yard into a rescue center for scores of abandoned and disabled horses and wolf-dog hybrids popular with people around here.
Comment:  For more related subjects, see Seminoles Influence Florida Musician and Steve Miller's Guitarist Helps Visions.

Below:  "Kevin Wells introduces kindergartners to the drums in the music room at Round Valley High School in Covelo." (Brant Ward/The Chronicle)

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