Music interview: Huey Morgan on the return of Fun Lovin’ Criminals

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Fun Lovin' Criminals
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With its heady cocktail of hip-hop, rock, blues, jazz, funk and soul, Come Find Yourself was the album that introduced Fun Lovin’ Criminals to a British audience.

While the battle of Britpop raged around them, Huey Morgan, Brian ‘Fast’ Leiser and Co stole a march on the nation’s hearts with the insistent groove of Scooby Snacks and King of New York.

Next month the band will mark Come Find Yourself’s 20th anniversary with a UK tour that opens in Leeds.

Huey Morgan, now 47 and an award-winning DJ for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, recalls the making of the album with fondness.

“I got all the memories, man,” he says. “I got the memory of the gig before we went in the studio, where the head of EMI came up and produced his business card that said ‘President CEO’ and asked if we wanted to make a record. I got the whole meeting minutes in my mind about how we went about getting full creative control and production of our first record on a major label – we had an eight-record deal. I got the memory of tracking the whole record in about five days so the record company wouldn’t change their minds. I got it all, man, how much do you want to hear?”

Come Find Yourself has been described as a love letter to New York, where Morgan was born and raised. The singer himself considers: “I think it was a love letter to the fact that we as musicians actually got to make an album.

“It was something that kind of transcended a city, it was more of a feeling, like a snapshot of who we were at that particular point in time, our strong sense of self as people and I think that as a band we brought that to the table.

“We insisted on being producers and that’s not something that happens nowdays where a band gets signed on an eight-record deal to a major label and produces their debut record that goes on to sell millions of copies so I guess it’s a vindication in a certain way in hindsight but it was something that we knew that we could do if we were left alone to do it and it proved the test of time – when it first came out it was in the charts for a little bit over a year in the UK. If you look at those charts it was pretty much Britpop then whatever we were doing, I don’t even know how to describe the music we were making as Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

“Now you look at the charts and it’s easy to see how we’ve influenced a generation of musicians where having different ideas about genre is now commonplace.”

Before forming Fun Lovin’ Criminals in 1993, Morgan served as a US Marine. He says music wasn’t an obvious career choice after the Army.

“To be honest with you I’d probably be doing something else if that guy from EMI didn’t pop by that night,” he says. “I’m not the kind of person that really would go out of their way to be popular, be it as a musician or just as a person. I had an idea of who I wanted to be and I think I achieved that, I definitely like who I am and I think that’s an idea that’s not really fosttered in popular music or popular art. I was 27 when we eventually got a record deal so I was a grown man and I think now we see a lot of young people – very young – trying to reflect society to a certain degree and I don’t know if a lot of people who maybe have more life experience or have seen different things in their life can really emotionally invest in that. I think why people made a connection with our music was that it was honest and that it wasn’t something that was deluded by a lot of different things that it could have been deluded in.”

Fun Lovin’ Criminals play at O2 Academy Leeds on Thursday February 4. For details visit https://www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academyleeds/events/621531/evening-fun-lovin-criminals-tickets

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