Fun lovin’ times

Huey Morgan
Huey Morgan

IF you had MTV in the 90s, the chances are you heard Fun Lovin’ Criminals “Scooby Snacks”.

Huey Morgan’s unmistakable baritone croon set against the dialogue of Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservior Dogs”. A track that defined a generation.

New York personified, these days Huey calls London home and although still very much a Fun Lovin’ Criminal, he has been rediscovering his love for making music through side project Huey and the New Yorkers – a Blues drenched collaboration with friends which has recently spawned the album “Say It To My Face”.

“It’s one of those things that I had always wanted to do,” said the half Puerto Rican/Irish ex-marine. “We had a break from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals but I’m a musician, so I carried on writing. I got my boys from New York to play on the album and we took it from there.

“It was just something we were doing amongst friends. Then I was doing some gig and my manager came up to me and said a label wanted to sign us up and wanted us to do a record.

“It’s made it fresh and fun again. I’m loving it.”

Having blown the roof off London’s Bush Hall in November of last year, Morgan said he was champing at the bit to get back on the road.

The band are playing Manchester Club Academy on Sunday and Preston 53 Degrees on Tuesday, March 12th as part of a UK tour – intimate venues for an intimate showcasing.

“I always want to play for the people, not to them. With the Fun Lovin’ Criminals it was always for the people. I want the venues to be small and close so the people can feel a real part of it.”

Since moving to these shores in the mid-2000s Morgan has become one of Britain’s best loved radio DJs, hosting shows on Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music – a job which has given him an even more eclectic grasp on music, old and new.

While Fun Lovin’ Criminals thrived on a diet of funk, soul and rap, the New Yorkers manage to incorporate an even more comprehensive and varied range of influences, fusing elements of rock ‘n’ roll, country, blues and swing, all wrapped up in Huey’s candid storytelling

“Blues has always been my background. I’m the one that brings the Blues to the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. There are lots of different sounds in there though because the whole process was a lot more freeing.

“This is probably more of a personal record for me. Because I was doing it with friends and I didn’t think we’d actually be releasing anything, there a lot of things on there that wouldn’t have made it through the filter.

“I’ve been able to explore my musical education more. With the radio shows I’ve listened to thousands of albums and obviously I’ve heard a lot of different things.

“Ive learnt a lot doing this record.”

Friendly, articulate and boasting an impeccable knowledge of music, his warm colloquial style complemented by that unmistakable New York twang makes interviewing him a real pleasure.

Even just speaking to Morgan over the phone for 30 minutes you get a real sense of somebody who is living life on their terms and couldn’t be happier with it.

“I’ve got my family and my friends and I’m very lucky. If people want to give me stick then let them give me stick. I really don’t care.

“Nobody is really getting paid for doing this with the New Yorkers. (Morgan is actually donating 100% of his cut to different verterans’ charities). We’re doing it because it’s what we love to do.”

There’s good news for Fun Lovin’ Criminals fans as well though.

“It’s our 20th anniversary next year so that’s when you’re most likely to hear from us again. We want to do a tour and put our new stuff though. We don’t want to be a band that just goes around playing our first album from back to front.

“We have been very lucky with the band and it’s meant that we are comfortable. We were fortunate enough to be releasing records at a time when people were actually buying records.”

For the time being though, it’s Huey and the New Yorkers who are going to be stealing the limelight.