Fun Lovin' Criminals

Interview by Rada Djurica

There were just few of us in a small room where the interview and the press conference was held, ready to meet the band. Fun Lovin’ Criminals are groovy fellows, with lots of flair, lots of charm, that what Fun Lovin’ Criminals are. The band is from New York, believe it or not, an American band with lots of fans outside of New York and USA, but almost not known in America. Why? God only knows why.
This is a band with a fantastic attitude and great interaction with the crowd. Communication on the level with, let's say, the Rolling Stones. Born to become big; yet, somehow they are still existing in the shadows. Almost as if on purpose.

They are the image of the elegant man in suits with flair and the attitude of someone who has just come from a really cool party. Yes, FLC are hot, but they also seem to be genuinely nice people. A Walking contradiction, really, with the attitude of being your best friend or next door neighbor and a star at the same time.

And yet, vocalist Huey Morgan once said:

Black Grape were the toughest group of guys I've ever met but the biggest group of gentlemen. And if they ever need anybody killed in the US, they can always call us.

Luckily I was right up the front and the crowd behaved well, but when I looked behind me, I saw a big crowd going wild!

The band FCL began in 1993 when Huey "DiFontaine" Morgan, and Brian "Fast, Fisty, etc" Leiser, had a few drinks in a bar, where they met Steve Borovini, who was working in that bar. Steve and Fast were already playing in a techno band, and knew well the production and electronic side of the job. At the time, Huey was playing blues guitar and writing with Fast.

Huey and Fast engaged Steve to drum and assist with the programming, and the Fun Lovin’ Criminals were born. Two years later, the album Come Find Yourself produced the singles "The Fun Lovin’ Criminal," "King of New York" and "Scooby Snacks."

Fun Lovin' Criminals combines funky guitar riffs, trumpets, harmonicas, a catchy bass line and good drumming. If the "King of New York" shows a slightly more political side to the trio, it's also true this band normally has nothing to do with politics: it's only fun, fun, fun.

Huey’s rapping is fantastic white blues, with soul and charm that every rapper in America should envy. The ensemble also includes a piano, played by Fast, the Australian bloke, and a flute.

The single "Scooby Snacks" hit number one in the UK. It is a humorous confession of a drug induced bank robbery, with samples from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Originally it was written for the 1999 Reading Festival. It's success in the UK, paid their rent for the next four years.

This was a small triumph for a band of great promise, whose originality goes deeper than a one-hit wonder. Fun Lovin' Criminals is a New York City-based funky, groovy, soul hybrid band, which is promising for their future.

FLC's first single was "Love Unlimited," a tribute to Barry White, who introduced Huey to the ways of handling women, "the most beautiful things on God’s green earth." Groovy and cynical at the same time, in the company of Huey’s rather sexy voice, the song is musically original, part rap, part a sampling of popular songs. The single is an exciting mixture, difficult to define.

FCL shows that they are capable of doing virtually anything: playing blues songs, or maybe rap, or R&B. They sound brilliant, combining hip-hop and jazz rhythms with more traditional rock techniques, textured with a mixture of beats, rap and aggressive guitar to achieve a brand new style of music.

"Barry White saved my life," FLC teases the audience, who loves this song, a laid-back lounge rap of the first order, a funny hymn calling listeners to "get you back with your ex-wife." I went to this concert just to hear how the singer would look like while singing this song.

Who are FLC, then? Imagine guitar blazes in the background, police sirens while the guys slip unnoticed into a diner for some pancakes, in New York. Big city boys getting lost in traffic, then appearing again with a new song. Sounds of the streets of New York. Next time we're gonna have a drink together, boys!

So, here we are in the small stuffy room, a few of us from the press. Fun Lovin’ Criminals are ready to go, entering the room. Heaven bless them…


How did you come up with album title Welcome to Poppies?

Huey: It's about the store in New York City and I liked the idea. The guy put sign on the window “Welcome to Poppies,” and I liked the idea; it’s a good store with good food.


Tell us something about your collaboration with other musicians in your record.

Huey: It started with our first deal record. We were doing not so well and had to have back up plan. We had to have deal with different kind of companies: first a garbage company, a production company, a film company, then the company that we are working with now.


What are your plans with your label company?

Huey: We have our original songs now. We originally started our small label so we do not have to take shit from the guys from the big labels. Whenever we have our art plan worked out, there was a problem, which is why we started our own label. So that we can now only yell at ourselves for failing.


Can you define your music?

Huey (pointing his finger at Rada): No that’s your job.