The Rock City archives: 2016

Fun Lovin' Criminals, Rock City Main Hall

  • Saturday 6th February 2016
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FUN LOVIN' CRIMINALS Est. 1993, NYC

They are, still, the world’s finest and only purveyors of cinematic hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll, blues-jazz, latino soul vibes. The planet’s best-loved “cousins from New York” who, through the mid-late 90s, chronicled life in their native city while bending the global ear to the sonic possibilities of exuberant hip-hop gangster-rock merged with lounge music, funk, mariachi trumpets and 'Bass-o-matic' Barry White. While possibly smoking a cheroot, in a sweat-dripped Puerto Rican nightclub, somewhere on the Lower East Side. Like The Killers and Kings of Leon today, the UK loved them first, the most; whip-smart story-tellers in smarter Saville Row suits, who told vibrant, satirical, comically tall tales of living large in the neon metropolis via music, drugs, crime and existential ennui. With a penchant for a beautiful “lady”.

Formed in New York in 1993 by nightclub-working colleagues Huey and Fast, FLC gate-crashed the euphoric Brit-pop party in 1996 and brought along some unexpectedly unique swag, the generational classic album ‘Come Find Yourself’ which gave us the cackling refrain “stick ‘em up punk, it's the Fun Lovin' Criminal” and the Pulp Fiction–sampling ‘Scooby Snacks’, the Valium assisted stick-up stunner with its immortal refrain, “Runnin’ around, robbin’ banks, all whacked on the Scooby Snacks”. Huey, at 27, was already an ex-con and Desert Storm marine veteran, a charismatic New York smooth-talker with Irish/Puerto Rican roots and immaculately tended goatee. Girls, you might say, responded. The mid-to late 90s was a twirling martini cocktail of world travel, acclaim and phenomenal album sales, including three weeks as support on the U.S PopMart tour with U2 in 1997 (Huey refers to Bono as “rich Uncle Paul”), through second album ‘100% Columbian’ (1999, featuring their Barry White eulogy ‘Love Unlimited’) and the early 2001 release of third album ‘Loco.' “1995 to 2002 was living the dream for us,” smiles Fast. “It was just non-stop fun. We were out on tour for seven years, we lived it and we don’t have any regrets.”

FLC released the albums 'Welcome To Poppy's' in 2003 and 'Livin' In The City' in 2005. The last studio album released was 'Classic Fantastic' in 2010. 2011 saw the release of their triple live album 'Fun, Live, and Criminal'. The band released a live concert film titled 'The Bong Remains The Same' in 2014 featuring 26 live songs from a performance at Shepherds Bush Empire in London on their 2010 Classic Fantastic tour. September, 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of the bands first ever live shows at The Tunnel nightclub in New York City. A world tour is currently being setup to celebrate 20 years of FLC. The band will be performing their debut album 'Come Find Yourself' in full from start to finish.

Their reputation as a live band spectacular grew, which resonates today - “anybody who ever plays after us at a festival really does not like that spot,” guffaws Huey – playing Glastonbury 2008 (on the Jazz Word Stage) to thunderous reception. “The guy who ran the Jazz/World stage at Glastonbury,” says Huey, “told us, ‘there were 40,000 people watching your set, whoever was on after you and had half that’. There’s still people who know. If they’re looking at the flyer at a festival, ‘Dude! Fun Lovin' Criminals are playing in a half hour.' And those are our people. To get to them is why we make music.”

The trio, now all relocated to the UK have left the cartoon New York netherworld behind for a colossal outdoors party, creating self-produced classics recorded in their London studio's featuring life-long “fourth member”, the Grammy-award winning hip-hop engineer Tim Latham ISP (A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Lou Reed, Citizen Cope…and Britney Spears). “Well, we’re still guys from New York,” grins the incorrigible Huey. “We keep in the forefront of our minds that any day above ground is a good day. That’s No.1. No.2, you’ve got the love of your friends and family. No.3, you have to laugh a little during the day. No one’s planting a flag here, no-one’s curing cancer but you have a hard week, you get home, whatever your poison is, have a glass of wine, smoke your spliff and go, ‘phew, I’m glad that’s over’ - that’s what we’re here for. For that exact moment when you can just put aside everyday bullshit.

 

 

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