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After The Gig, The Interview: Huey Morgan

Sareda Dirir meets a Fun Lovin' Criminal...

Published on September 2nd 2011.

After The Gig, The Interview: Huey Morgan

THE DOOR to the dressing room  bursts open and Huey Morgan, lead singer of the '90s super group Fun Lovin' Criminals ambles out, muttering in his laconic, lower East Side drawl about the cashew nuts that one of his band-mates has just thrown against the wall. It's hardly rock 'n' roll but that's Huey all over... a New York bundle of unfathomable idiosyncrasies.  

When we first came out, people would put us up on the bill because we'd kind of hype it up but now we play a lot of earlier festivals because people and their kids gotta got their sleep.....but we still party

At Thursday's Ruby Lounge gig the fun lovin' crowd was just as hard to define....office legends with  loosened ties, model types, dripping with gloss, young parents grooving with the baby-sitter's mates....  

Huey and his guys got them all head-nodding and arm-cranking like one big happy family.  

Previously one of the '90s biggest hell raisers, FLC were  behind some of the funkiest anthems of the decade. The instantly memorable 'Scooby Snacks', the eponymous theme tune 'Fun Lovin' Criminals' and the cheekily penned 'Big Night Out' - an ode to the many women that  the band reputedly 'acquainted themselves with' in their early days of stardom.  

These old favourites and more were delivered up last night, carrying a rawness and earthiness that you just don't hear in their studio sound. The band has a commanding presence on stage, (in-between the riffs and banter they could easily pass for hard-as-nails door-staff) but it's their front-man that we're all looking at. 

A clunking Rolex Submariner weighing down his guitar wrist, his trademark goatee and rare vintage sneakers, Huey Morgan is one of the few men who can artlessly carry off 'bling' and 'street'. Consistently polled as 'one of the coolest menon the planet' in UK magazine surveys does the label ever get to him? 

"No-one's ever gotten mean on me or anything so it's all good...they're always like hey y'all and I'm like hey y'all. We really took off over here and it's always been really positive."

At 42, ex US Marine, Huey still carries a barely-hidden, mischievous sex appeal. The kind of man capable of both corrupting and charming with just the arching of an eyebrow- a ghetto Terry Thomas in limited edition trainers. 

Does he still relish his reputation as a ladies man?

"I was raised by a feminist, a strong, strong woman. Sure we had some crazy times in the band, on tour, but I like to listen to women, I like to talk and learn, I work with a lot of women now, and you just grow and change..."

At this point, with impeccable timing, the interview breaks off for Huey to take a call from his wife. Now a doting husband, has this newer, more mature perspective changed the bands direction at all? 

"I always knew that if we got the guys back in a room with their instruments, something would happen that was gonna be fun. It's kind of like that old movie, with Burt Lancaster about the safe crackers, you know when they're all, hey we got a 580 22....and the guys are like okay well we gotta deal with that.....We're kinda like that bunch of safe-crackers... we've been doing these gigs for like fifteen years now and you gotta keep up..."

With this gradual evolution have the band remained true to their original fan-base? 

"When we first came out, people would put us up on the bill because we'd kind of hype it up but now we play a lot of earlier festivals because people and their kids gotta got their sleep.....but we still party- I mean we're musicians man. I want to go out there and shout 'hey y'all it's a Bank Holiday Monday let's everybody take the day off..." 

The last few months have seen the band taking in an astonishing number of UK cities and towns, but it would appear that the North West venues are amongst their favourites... 

"We love coming up here...we've played Manchester and Liverpool many many times. People up here they get our jokes man and at first we couldn't believe that...I still have a lot of friends up here, and it feels like it's one of those places that we're all in it together, no matter where you come from what you do, what colour you're at. Who you are is where you're at."

And how do people deal with his fame? 

"Well, when we first started out we played The Apollo in Manchester and Mary who used to work in the pub next door, let me work behind the bar because I used to be a bartender. On the quiet I started pouring so heavy and she found out and started yellin' and screamin' get that kid outta here, he's a liability...but make sure you get a picture of me and him first!"

And with a cheeky grin and a New York shrug, Huey's outta there.

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