Huey Morgan – An exclusive interview with the front man of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals
A Bounce Magazine Exclusive! We interview Huey Morgan about the new UK tour stopping in Norwich…
Rachel Ducker speaks to Huey Morgan from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals about their live shows in February 2016 to celebrate and resurrect in all its glory one of the most important albums of 1996, ‘Come Find Yourself’.
20 years on, this debut release for the group sounds as fresh and vibrant as it did that year, when it spent almost 12 months in the UK chart, becoming a soundtrack for the summer and peaking at No. 7. Huey Morgan, Brian Leiser and Frank Benbini will play the album live and in full for the very first time at O2 Academy venues in Leeds, Newcastle, and Oxford, as well as dates at Nottingham Rock City, Birmingham Institute, Manchester Cathedral and the capital’s stunning O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
R: You are celebrating your 20th Anniversary this year by touring and re-releasing your 1996 album ‘Come find yourself,’ what was the inspiration behind this?
Obviously It wasn’t for money, we sold over ten million of those things, so we’re pretty good for that. It was mostly because a number of fans got in touch with us over the last couple of years and were really interested in kind of, celebrating the idea of something that they really held in high regard, that they really loved, and something that has been with them for two decades.
As a musician you have to be humble with something like that, to the point that its not false humility, you really think about it and go ‘wow’ we’ve been apart of so many people lives for over twenty years, it would be remissible of us not to celebrate that with the people. Once you make a record and you go through all the trials of tribulations of getting a record deal, and produce a first record with a major label, you have an idea of what you want to do, but not really an idea of what is ahead in the long run.
When you look back on something like that, your really kind of, compelled to actually ‘get with the programme’ and go ‘wow yes you did do something that was pretty unique,’ and why not enjoy it, and celebrate it with the people you love.
R: I think it’s a wonderful idea and to bring back all of the old songs and perform them live again, it will be quite nostalgic for some people.
Yeah, we’re not really big on nostalgia, but we’re big on making an emotional connection with people, I think we always have been. Once this record came out it started getting well received by the listers, I mean, I’m not really to sure what critics got with it, I don’t really read press and stuff.
You cant just be flippant about making a connection with somebody, let alone millions of people around the world. With something that was part of your heart and your mind for many, many years, its beyond the world nostalgia I think, you know, especially people like us who didn’t really get into it to be a celebrity or for the money.
R: So, it’s for the love of it?
Yeah, anything that really means anything in my life I’ve done for love, you know, and its important to look at things in general that kinda transcends a lot of the nonsense and labels that you’ve been given to explain things away, its really simple and that’s why things last as long as they do.
R: Do you have a favourite track on the album and why?
I answer that question often, and I think the best way to answer that is ‘yeah I have a favourite track, but what’s your favourite track’? That’s my favourite track, because that’s important to me, if someone has created something, I might have created it to a different reason that for what you appreciate it for, but the fact someone else outside of my brain can kinda, get with something I’ve created is flattering to the point of being dumfounded.
When you’re a creative person and you come up with something that connects with somebody, be it “hello how are you,” or anything as trivial as that can, it kind of makes something a little bit more special.
So, I always think the best way to answer that is ‘yeah I do but that’s not important anymore’. When you finish making a record and we’ve made a couple, it goes to print and people buy it, its no longer yours, its no longer yours… simple as that – the person who bought it makes it part of their lives.
R: I can complete relate to that, as with Bounce Magazine it is like ‘my baby’, every page I create and design I put my whole heart into it, so I can see where your coming from, but I think its really refreshing to speak to a musician who feels like that, and its for the love not the money. You can tell you have a passion.
Well you know what, its interesting that you say that, were really kind of in the same boat, where you do what you do for love, I don’t think you did it for the money or to become famous. You did it because you were compelled to do something different and to reach people and bring a message that was a little bit different to everything else you saw and heard.
And I think that’s kind of key right there, I mean, to do something that we did, when we did it, was so unique, but we didn’t think about it that much when we did it, because that’s how we were as people and even with your publication, I think what you do is very unique because it comes directly from you and every person is different and has a different perspective on life, you know, and I think when someone picks up your magazines or one of our records, it shifts from what we thought it was, to something that it is for somebody else.
R: How would you deal with any negative aspects? – when you love something so much its hard not to take things personally.
The key thing about that is, you did the best you can, I did the best I could, there was that period of time back in 1996 when we tracked the record, but we have our whole life experience now and we put our heart and soul in into something, so even if someone can pick things apart and say bad things about it, first of all, don’t list to it, as I never really pay any attention to the press good or bad, as what I did I thought came from the right place, that means more to me than what someone could say they would have done better.
R: Speaking of love, I hear you’re a keen guitar player? When did you start playing?
I started about the age of 9 or 10 and I was listening to the stuff that was in my neighbourhood and that was a good place to start, as that’s how I got the idea of being very inclusive with my inspirations, be it music or social things that went on in my neighbourhood or just everything really. It was one of those things where I grew up there were so many different culturally diverse music and speech and just life, in my neighbourhood that I was at an early age excepting of everything and I think if your gonna be creative its really good to have that mind set of ethos.
When I first started playing guitar I was listening to all types of music it all kind of, in my mind, moved together into this single state of consciousness that made me be the person I am and therefore you can be a musician with instrument of your expression and that can be unique.
When we first came out with this record, especially in the UK where there was a lot of brit/pop, we were in the charts, that wasn’t something that was really that crazy back 20 years ago but now there’s such a rapid turn over as people are getting emotionally invested in things for lots of reasons.
I think paramount to that is when you do something that is very, very different you expose yourself to a lot of different people who feel very, very different about there role in society, and I think people gravitated towards this record as it wasn’t easily explained like anybody’s life is explained in 250 words or whatever.
R: This is usually a question I like to ask in my interviews, Van Haylen famously requested a bowl of M&Ms, with the brown ones removed as part of their rider.
I know that story, you know why they did that?
R: No but I am dying to find out?
It was kinda funny, the story goes… that they got really famous very quickly and they were opening up to Black Sabbath and bands like that.
All of a sudden they were asked what their rider should be, and essentially all these guys wanted was a bottle of Jack Daniels and like 50 beers, and they were like “ok we got that what else”?
And they were like, “uh some cigarettes”, “and what else”? Your given an open cheque and you know, I was in that position too where people were like “what do you want in your rider” and I was like “a beer”, and then they were like “what else”? “uh a sandwich” and “what else”? So they actually got to the point where they were like “uh the m&ms with the brown ones taken out” to end the conversation, and the promoters went and did that as they thought it was something the band needed to have a really good show, though essentially they just wanted to get them off the telephone!
R: So what was your most outrageous request?
Well I mean its the same old story, the reason I was talking about that is that it kinda happened to us one time, we got to the point where we had about 50 beers, a couple of bottles of liquor and then “what else” cigarettes, “yeah sure what else” “half a case of champagne”, “what kind”? “Uh Veuve Clicquot”, “what else”? OK so it got to the point, it was an open cheque.
And I was talking to the tour manager one day and he was like we leave this dressing room and there was all this stuff left behind and we end up taking it, so all the tech guys were walking round with all this champagne, liquor and beer etc.
So I said that’s good and he said why so I said because they’re happy!
So I guess the craziest thing we’ve done is as our tech guys what they want, because we can only do so much damage to ourselves and our brains in the space of a couple of hours.
It ended up turning into ‘whatever our guys want’ cos we’re all family here, we all hang out together we’ve been doing this a long time and we kind of set it up as a family business.
It now gets to the point were wanted a banana daiquiri mix so we got that!
R: So speaking of tours, your UK tour starts in February and you’ll be in Norwich (not far from us) on 13th February, what are you looking forward to the most about being on tour?
I’ll tell you, when I played Norwich last time it was kinda funny, so I left my house in London and I had to get to Norwich. It was a really fun time, so I got on the train to go up to Norwich and I was on the train and there were a bunch of people also on the train who were going to the gig and they were looking at me and eventually one lady got up and said to me ‘aw is it you’ and I said ‘I’m going to the gig in Norwich’ and they were like ‘so are we’.
They just couldn’t believe that a guy would be on the train going to a gig while they were going up to a gig while they were on a train going to a gig.
And I said to them ‘ah there is nothing separating us apart from I have some guitars waiting for me when I get there’, so we shared a cab and we get to the gig I am walking in the front door with these people with tickets and stuff, and the security guys said ‘hey you should be going to the back entrance this is safe’ and I was like what do you mean this isn’t safe I have been with these guys for two hours there my friends, we’re cool and they couldn’t get there head around it.
I thought that was funny as we as people, we always think there is a class system with bands and crew or bands and audiences, were all in this boat together as people right, and that was one of the reasons I never wanted to sign up to all this celebrity nonsense as once you do that you separate yourself from the people who are most important to you.
R: Do you ever get bored of being ‘on the road’?
Yeah I have a family and stuff I mean, I like being at home, but I also love playing with my band, these guys are some of the best musicians I have ever met in my life if not the best and its something like I was given a gift and I was able to play music for a living you know.
I love playing I never get bored as if you get bored your not playing enough.
There’s a lot to be said that if you don’t enjoy what you do you shouldn’t be doing it
If not enjoying yourself you’ve got to get more in touch with yourself, you know.
R: We are also fairly close to the Latitude Festival and a friend of mine said he bumped into you at last year’s festival and I wondered what did you think about it?
Oh, I love Latitude, I think it’s a great festival, I think we might be playing this year, so hey hopefully we will see you again soon.
R: Great well hopefully we will be covering it again then.
And if so we will do another interview then!
R: Thank you ever so much for you time its been a pleasure speaking to you.
Mine as well thank you very much Rachel.