Fun Lovin’ Criminals

FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS////HUEY MORGAN////JULY 2005

By now Huey Morgan and his Fun Lovin Criminal cronies should need little to no introduction, which is exactly what they is going to get. I mean, like it or not, he’s the one your Mammy dreams of having a little late night Q.T. with, and as for your Daddy, well he’d be lying if he said he didn’t want to borrow one of those tailored suits, play cards and enjoy drunken ever-so-slightly debauched stories with our aforementioned main man. Outline caught up with New York’s hippest export to talk smooth and sultry about the release of the FLC’s fifth full studio album ‘Livin in the City’, which after hearing a sneaky preview…it could well be their best to date. The phone rings, he’s on time…

Hey Mr. Morgan, how ya’ doin?
What’s up my brother? I’m good, I’m good, just chillin, no last names please…

I’ve been a big fan for ten years so thanks so much for doing this…
It’s funny you should say that cause I was doin interviews today and everyone was telling me it’s comin’ up on ten years and I was like ‘really’.

Five full albums plus Mimosa (E.P.), that’s quiet an achievement really?
Yeah, I just think it’s good we’ve stuck around this long. When we first came out all the magazines were dissin us sayin, we wouldn’t be here for long and we’d be gone in a minute, but we’re still sellin out all our concerts (he laughs).

So where are you at the moment then?
I’m in Paddington (London). We’ve been over here for about three weeks but have been doing some festivals in Europe over that time. We did some stuff in Belguim then drove through to Amsterdam and then got back to London last night.

Things have been fairly manic all in all then?
Yeah, but it’s cool though, but I have the worst hangover today like you can’t imagine. I raged last night thinking I was like some sort of indestructible force of nature, and I’m payin for it today.

Where did you end up?
I was out in London. Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! (starts laughing again).

Ok, so we interviewed you last year and you said you loved playing festivals, I wondered if we were likely to see you at any this summer?
Did you see Live8 man, what the fuck was that all about, I don’t know what people are thinking,  they let Mariah Carey up there for like a half hour, whereas they only let a band like the Killers do one song.

Yeah, I don’t think you’re the only who thought that. I was a huge Gun’s N’ Roses fan but I don’t understand why the Velvet Revolver were so high on the bill?
I’m down with Slash, but those other dudes, I dunno what their up to. It was all for a good cause though. We were watching Glastonbury on the T.V. Yeah man we love the festivals. We couldn’t do many this summer cause the timing of the record, but next summer it’s on.

So the new album is out on August 22nd, what happens for the FLC between now and then?
Well, we base ourselves in London, we’ll be doin some press stuff. On Sunday we’ll leave for Berlin, go hang with the German folks for a lil bit, then we’re back. We have a show with Echo & the Bunnymen in Scotland. My Birthday is on August 7th, so I’m gonna try and get home (NY) for that. Then back to London for rehearsals and the tour starts in September. Then we’re touring for the next (pauses)…year or so (again sniggers).

It never stops?
Yeah, but that’s cool man, if I stay at home for too long I don’t know what to do with myself. I was at home for 5 months doing this record and I became a nuisance to myself. When I wasn’t in the studio I was like ‘what do I do with myself?’My dog was lookin at me like ‘what have you become?’

From your position, how do you rate the new album?
It sounds corny, because everyone is saying that this is the shit, but this one really is the shit.

Yeah, it blew me away…
You see Franks a new member of the band. Every ten years something really good happens to me. Ten years ago we got signed and the band became what it was. Now ten years later we finally got our drummer. He’s the first member of the band. The other dudes were guys we hired to play drums, but they didn’t write, they weren’t really super involved in any of the production or singing or any other aspect of being in a band. But Frank has definitely breathed new life into the band. I think when you listen to the record we are at the top of the eschelon right now. We are so proud of the whole record when we play live we are gonna do the record in total, plus all the other songs people wanna hear obviously, but the whole record, I think people will kinda get down with that

Personally I thought it was a maturer sounding record, but equally as fresh as your first album ‘Come Find Yourself’.
Thank you, it’s definitely encouraging for us. There are a couple of songs on there that when I listen back to them, I’m really surprised it’s us.

Where was it recorded then?
It was record in London, because Fast was living here and Frank is from Leicester. Then it was mixed in Jimi Hendrix Electric Lady studios in New York, which was very inspiring.

Ok, so lets talk about some of the tracks. Firstly ‘That ain’t right’. I read it was about getting done in, causing loads of problems and then dealing with waking up and remembering what you have done the night before. I think we have all been in that boat, but I wondered when the last time you had that feeling?
Yeah, ‘once you stay up all night and start that fight, that ain’t right.’ I kinda had that this morning but cant really go into it. (More laughter)

Mi Corazon, the first single, which is out July 25th, apparently you’ve written that about a girl you were involved with who doesn’t love you anymore. Although probably a private matter, can i ask what happened between you both to make her feel like this?
She doesn’t love me  anymore cos she wanted me to be a little different than I really am. It was something I couldn’t do, you know I speak to her every once in a while and she brings up the same shit. I wasn’t that far away you know, I’m house broken, I mean I’m not a raving lunatic. I was faithful to her and everything, but she is a Doctor and I play guitar in the Fun Lovin Criminals (starts laughing), so you can  see why there was a fundamental problem, we tried to work at it but she gave up. She went to go find someone she could have a baby with…

My favourite track on the album is called ‘Gave up on God’. It’s a really big sounding track with lyrics as emotive as ‘children killing children in our own backyards’  I wondered for a genreally quite light hearted band, i wondered why you’d touch on such subject matter? 
It’s a heavy track, obviously its about the way current events are, here in the UK, Madrid and the West Bank. The apartment we’re staying in right now is 80 yards from Edgware road tube station. There are so many people out there who are a little twisted, that they think if they put gods name into the equation its ok to do this stuff. That s on all sides of crazy extremism, you know George Bush is doin it too. Doing things in gods name has become so played out. I don’t wanna get all John Lennon on anyone but, Imagine there is no heaven for just a fuckin second, people might treat each other with a little more respect. I was just on the phone to some Spanish guy who was like, lets talk about the situation, apart from the fact it stresses me cos its so emotionally charged, I don’t wanna give these fuckin jerk off’s the time or the print. So lets move it on.

I read that in the final day of the studio you destroyed a pink Stratocaster belonging to one of your friends, is this true?
Well it was the last day in the studio, it was stressful and I got a little hot headed, eh, and  its an inanimate object, so its better than hitting a human. So yeah the guitar bought it big time. What’s actually cool is that Fender are now endorsing me so we might be able to work something out (he sniggers).

You have just played a part in an independent film called ‘Headrush’ how did this come about?
Yeah its a crazy movie man, my friend directed it and asked me to be in it. And I was like yeah cool but make sure you get some FLC in the sound track, cos we like doin film scores. So we’re in Dublin and it’s the last night of our European tour for Loco, I was really worse for wear cause I had spent a year treating myself like a dog. So we  go to a party after the show and my friend says ‘so you play a transvestite who’s the head of the gay Mafia, and here are your lines.’ I was like great, I was too tired to try and argue so I said give me the high heels, lets do this. Its out in the UK now but you have to kinda look for it, its independent. It’s kinda like Cheech & Chong but Irish. We use some of our bars as locations, its cool.

Yeah, I’ve had pizza in one of your bars, it was awesome…
We just won an award for the best Pizza in Ireland so we’ve had to open another Di Fontaine’s on the other side of Dublin so we could deliver to the whole city

So anything else in the movie pipeline?
Yeah, in a movie called 36, which will be filmed in New York in November. it’s a supernatural thriller. I play a cop who’s in league with the devil

Who else is in this?
I cant really say, contracts have been signed but the director wants to keep it a bit quiet at the moment

What would be your ideal movie role?
In the video for the single Mi Carazon, I play Tony Montana but instead of bad guys we’ll have beautiful women in bikini’s…

I should be working with you, I’d be so good at that sort of thing, I could look after the bikini’s!
So check this, there was a guy on set, who’s entire job was to oil the girls. He was so happy. The director was like, that girl needs a little more oil on her chest (laughter), he was straight on it.

Moving on, how many more albums do you think you have left in you then?
Well the music press don’t really like us that much because they think we’ve been around too long. All the bands at the moment sound like the ‘Gang of Four’ and all have the same haircuts. This journalist from the NME was getting really arsey with me and tried to tell me what we sounded like. But I don’t give a fuck about what the NME thinks about me cos I know the NME doesn’t give a fuck about what I think about them. When we first came over here we didn’t understand how the press works, everyone was really nice to us and they gave us a Q Award, which is really nice and still sitting in my bathroom in New York. Then two years later they asked us to do a show for them, but we couldn’t because we had another booking, and all of a sudden it was like they hate us. It was like one guy who got all bent out of shape because we couldn’t return a favour. But when I go out to clubs people are like nice one, thank you for still doin what you’re doin, that’s what I love about us, we’re singular. No-one sounds like us, its FLC style.

When you first came out, the press tried to mimic you with the whole criminal bad boy Scooby Snacks thing. How did you feel about that?
They do that with everyone, at the moment they are trying to make out that Bloc Party are the second coming of Jesus Christ. For the band that’s cool, but its not reality, that will skew their inspiration and their music will change.

For the FLC, how does the writing process develop?
It never happens the same way twice, Fast will come up with different stuff, Frank is bringing songs in, or I’ll write a story and fast and Frank with a little beat, or we’ll all be in the studio with our instruments banging things out.

Maybe that’s what keeps it so fresh?
Yeah its not formulated. Once it becomes that way it becomes boring for the people involved and sometimes you can tell that. sometimes it can sound so clinical.

So music-wise, who and what are you into at the moment?
My man Roots Manuva.  I’m really feelin’ him with his ‘well well well’ styleee, he doesn’t come off whack like a lot of rappers do with the professional wrestling element to their music, like The Game being shot 95 times and 50 Cent being shot 55 times. All this we’re too tough for our own good, that kind of thing perpetuates ignorance. When you put on MTV now all the UK acts are trying to be American, when I grew up Britain is where all the original music came from, like Dave Edmonds, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello. Roots has got his own style and that’s what I like.

What do you think about the whole reality TV phenomenon?
Like Big Brother, oh its awful. Late at night when I’m in the UK I’ll flick on the TV and there’ll be three guys sitting around picking their nose. I’ll look in the mirror and pick my own nose. I’m trying to become an extra in Eastenders. I’ve been watching it since I was a kid, I just wanna be sitting chillin in the Vic with a pint. I don’t even want a line and I’ll do it for free.

So how do you grade your own success and celebrity then?
I value my own opinion of myself a little bit more than other peoples, but I do notice people recognise me a lot. I’ve never really gotten a negative experience. People are like ‘keep up the good work, I’ve seen you on TV, you were really funny, you were real.’ So I guess that’s what I’ll keep doin, its about an integrity level and keeping it under the radar. You can’t write music about people if you are sitting in an Ivory tower like David Bowie. You can’t write music about everyone if you’re not with everyone. Its like in the movie Devils Advocate with Al Pacino and Keanu Reaves, Keanu asks him why he rides the Subway, he says you’ve gotta be in the trenches with the people.

So you played Norwich loads of times before, do you like the area?
Yeah, I’ve four illegitimate children there (laughs).

Only four?
It’s only been ten years, give me more time dude (laughs again). Yeah, I was seeing a girl that lives out in that direction so I went there a few times without playing. I like it.

Can i ask how you got into music in your years?
I was always into music, up until the age of 14 I was in talent shows but then my life kind of turned in a different direction, then when I shared a flat with Fast his talent and enthusiasm got me back into it and dragged it back out of me.

So where did you meet Fast?
We met in a club called the Limelight in New York where we both worked. It was a predominantly gay club. I noticed through all the different parties they were the nicest folks, I’d be walking through the club with an ice bucket and they’d have the common decency to move, then they’d tap the guy next to them and say come on move, he’s gotta get  the ice for our drinks. It was cool, it was like we were on the same page.

What do you think is on the horizon for the FLC?
Well after the tour we’re gonna try and do a mini festival, like a Fun Lovin’ Festival. We’re gonna try and get that sorted for next spring, with some other bands we like on the bill. But I’m a bit worried about the whole promoting thing it’s a bit of a loose cannon…

We touched on your pizza company earlier in the interview, what’s going on with Di Fontaine at the moment? Any chance of a pizza parlour in London?
Well I really don’t know if people in London like pizza…. (pauses then laughs) they cant be pizza fans cos the pizza is so awful. There’s a place in London that I really like called Lucky 7’s, its kinda a burger joint, like Arnold’s in Happy Days, very kitsch. Something like that might work though, we’re lucky in Dublin because its very New York. Everyone there has got a relative in New York. (laughs) they always ask me to look them up like he’s called Rudi and he’ll be in a bar in the Bronx (more laughing)…

Finally, a friend asked me to ask you as you are such a ladies man, Hunter or Lancaster, which one of Rod’s women would you most want?
Who’s Lancaster, his new one? (pauses) For the sake of argument, fuck it I’ll have them both. Well if they’re both sitting round come over here honey, you’re still on the clock….

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