Kevin Hewick was one of the lesser-known but more interesting figures to emerge from Britain's post-punk landscape, crafting spare, simple music in stark opposition to the angular noise of his contemporaries but still earning a spot on the famed Factory Records roster. Hewick was born in Leicester, England, in 1957 -- infatuated by the Beatles, he received his first guitar at the age of six but did not learn to play until his teens while a student at Countesthorpe College. After splitting with his first band, Life, Hewick worked in a social security office following graduation, making solo recordings he mailed to various independent labels including Stiff and Radar; in 1979 he sent a tape to Tony Wilson, head of the fledgling Factory imprint, who declared it the best demo he'd heard all year and extended a contract offer.
It would prove several months before Hewick entered the studio, however, although in the interim he regularly opened for Factory acts including A Certain Ratio, the Durutti Column, and Section 25. Most notably, he opened for Joy Division at the now-legendary "Factory By Moonlight" concert, his performance later constituting one-quarter of the much-maligned Factory Quartet compilation issued in late 1980. Following the suicide of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, Hewick was contacted to record with the surviving members of the band, who rechristened themselves New Order just hours before entering the studio -- except for "Haystack," which later surfaced on the From Brussels With Love compilation, nothing substantial resulted from the session, although it's been much-theorized that Hewick was in fact unwittingly auditioning to replace Curtis.
After just one subsequent Factory single, "Ophelia's Drinking Song," Hewick left the label, signing to rival Cherry Red to release his first full-length effort, 1983's Such Hunger for Love. The 1984 EP This Cover Keeps Reality Unreal, a collaboration with members of the Sound, brought his Cherry Red deal to a close, and -- reeling from the simultaneous dissolution of his romantic and professional relationships -- Hewick disappeared from sight, moving back into his parents' home and dropping out of music entirely for five years while beginning a career teaching adults with learning disabilities.
He began making a tentative comeback in 1989, regularly playing live near his Leicester home, and in 1992 self-released a cassette entitled An Unlikely Source, followed a year later by In an Open-Air Surgery. In 1999 the Sorted label issued Helpline, Hewick's first official LP in more than a decade. ~ Jason Ankeny