David N. "Uncle Dave" Lewis was born in Cincinnati in 1961 to parents who were expert amateur musicians. He began to compose at the age of nine, and by age 14 had also written poetry, short stories, and film scenarios. Lewis refined his skills at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati, studying music composition, theory, filmmaking, and film history.
Although classically trained music and a jazz enthusiast, Lewis initiated a series of Cincinnati-based groups that combined punk, avant-garde, electronics, and free improvisation. The Hospital Records label founded by Lewis in 1980 represented such groups as 11,000 Switches and BPA. Today their work is regarded as the touchstone of an experimental music tradition that continues in Cincinnati, in part fostered by the Art Damage radio program, co-founded by Lewis in 1985. In the 1990s Lewis worked as a classical retail buyer for Virgin and Tower Records in and around Hollywood, sometimes serving as a music consultant to Hollywood studios. In 1998 Lewis returned to the Midwest, joining the staff of All Music Guide in 2001. He continues to compose, and has written more than 600 pieces of music.