Fun Lovin' Criminals
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|Fun Lovin' Criminals|
Fun Lovin' Criminals live in 2005
|Origin||New York City, New York, United States|
|Past members||Steve Borgovini
Fun Lovin' Criminals is a band from New York City. Their musical style is eclectic, covering styles such as hip hop, rock, blues, jazz, and funk. They are best known for their hit "Scooby Snacks", which features samples from films by Quentin Tarantino, and the song "Love Unlimited", which recalls Barry White's backing vocal group. Their songs often focus on life in New York City, as well as urban life in general. Their lyrics can be gritty or existentialist in nature, touching on topics such as organized crime and urban violence, but they are just as often humorous or satirical. According to Huey Morgan, the band has sold approximately 10 million albums worldwide. The band gained a large following internationally, notably in northwest Europe, around the release of their first two albums in the late nineties.
Formation and first albums: 1993-1999
The band was formed in 1993 by Huey Morgan, Brian Leiser and Steve Borgovini after Leiser, who was already friends with Borgovini, met Morgan at the club where they both worked. They started playing together and would provide the entertainment for the club when a booked act failed to show up. It was during one of these stand-in gigs that they came to the attention of EMI and they were offered a record deal.
Come Find Yourself, the band's first album, was released in the summer of 1996 by Capitol Records and followed their single, "The Grave And The Constant" (UK No.72), which was released a month earlier, into the UK charts. The album also featured the UK Top 40 hits, "Scooby Snacks" (UK No.22), "The Fun Lovin' Criminal" (UK No.26) and "King Of New York" (UK No.28), a song that touched on the imprisonment of Italian-American mafioso John Gotti, the wannabe gangsters emulating his style, and his fans and followers in his community that maintained his innocence. The biggest hit, "Scooby Snacks", features samples from films by Quentin Tarantino and guitar sample from Tones On Tail, 'Movement of Fear', interspersed with rap verses and a sung, anthemic, chorus. Come Find Yourself had a slow rise up the UK Album Chart, finally peaking at No.7 (and spending well over a year in the Chart), however it failed to make any impact in the US. The success of the album prompted the re-release of "Scooby Snacks" as a single, alongside a cover of the 10cc classic "I'm Not In Love", which fared better and narrowly missed the UK Top 10 second time around by reaching UK No. 12.
100% Colombian, released in August 1998 by Virgin Records, had a far grittier sound to it tempered by three upbeat songs, and several downtempo tracks, including "Love Unlimited", a tribute to Barry White. However, "Korean Bodega", one of the aforementioned upbeat songs, was the biggest hit from the album, reaching No. 15, their second highest placing single so far after the re-release of "Scooby Snacks".
Their 1999 album Mimosa, released by EMI was a Lounge album consisting of laid back covers and different versions of earlier released tracks. It sold well enough but was their weakest selling album yet and remained so for some years. It was around this time, in 1999, that Steve Borgovini left the band. He was replaced by Maxwell Jayson aka Mackie, originally just temporarily in case Borgovini returned. It soon became clear that Borgovini was not going to return so a permanent replacement was found in the form of Mark Reid from Leicester, United Kingdom, who had previously worked with the band as Mackie's technician.
Mainstream success: 2000-2008
The band's third studio album, Loco was released in early 2001, again under EMI, which had all new songs including the eponymous single "Loco" which became their biggest hit yet, reaching No.5 in the UK Singles Chart. It was the only single release to reach the UK Top 40 from the album and its success helped send the album itself to No.5.
Their final album under EMI was a "best of" compilation called simply Bag of Hits released in 2002. It was released in both one and two disc versions, with the second disc being full of remixes of FLC songs by other artists. EMI released this album against the wishes of the band who were not happy with the two disc version. However, despite their objections it reached No. 11 in the UK Albums Chart.
After parting company with EMI they were picked up by Sanctuary Records in the UK and with them released their fourth studio album, sixth overall, Welcome to Poppy's (2003). While it got strong, but not fantastic, music reviews it failed to live up to the commercial success of any of the previous albums, peaking at No.20 in the UK Albums Chart, with the best selling single from the album only reached No.61.
EMI continued to release their back catalog and unreleased songs on two more albums but the band themselves didn't bring out a new album until 2005 when they released Livin' in the City, still under Sanctuary Records. This was very much a love letter to New York with many songs, just like in their debut album, extolling the virtues of New York.
In June 2008 they performed at the Glastonbury Festival playing on the Jazz World Stage, they last played the Festival in 1999, on the Pyramid Stage.
In April 2010 Classic Fantastic was released to commence a Europe-wide tour which kicked off in Manchester. Legal wranglings with their previous manager meant this album was their first official output in five years, although they had played live during this time. Fast and Frank had produced much of the album in London, while Huey recorded his parts in New York. Classic Fantastic was the first album on Kilohertz, their own label, and signaled a new business model for the FLC - based on touring their live shows rather than relying on dwindling record sales alone. Singles from the album were the title track "Classic Fantastic" followed by "Mr Sun". The official video for "Mr Sun" was cancelled due to volcanic ash, a montage of old home movies was used in its place. The third single was the double A-side "We the Three" and "Keep on Yellin" featuring South London's Roots Manuva, released August 16, 2010. During July 2010 the boys recorded a special series of songs with Roots Manuva the project dubbed "Criminal Manuvas" was recorded at Maida Vale studios for BBC Radio 6 Music; songs included a reggae "Scooby Snacks" and a different version of "Witness".
In September 2010 the band were touring, and they announced a live album: Fun, Live and Criminal via Pledge Music.
In March 2014 they released The Bong Remains The Same, a live concert video.
Huey Morgan is a radio personality on BBC. As well as winning Bronze for his acclaimed The Huey Show on BBC Radio 6 Music, Huey has appeared on Jack Osbourne's Adrenaline Junkie, a Boy-Racer show Slips, sat in for Jonathan Ross and Dermot O'Leary on BBC Radio 2, appeared in the Soul Boy as a Dick Van Dyke accented London record shop owner, voiced a character in the Scarface: The World Is Yours video game, and most bizarrely appeared with Liza Tarbuck on Liza & Huey's Pet Nation on primetime SKY TV.
All three band members have released side-projects. Franky's band, Uncle Frank has released an album, as has Fast, albeit some of his previous 'unreleased' work - both Fast and Frank have also collaborated on myriad remixes as well as a full remix album in a reggae-dub style under the moniker Radio Riddler. Huey, himself has released an album Say it to my Face and toured with several acquaintances, including Frank, as Huey and the New Yorkers, raising money for veterans as he did so.
Steve Borgovini has gone on to record two albums under the moniker C.C. Jones, writing, recording, performing and producing all tracks.
- Studio albums
- Come Find Yourself (1996)
- 100% Colombian (1998)
- Loco (2001)
- Welcome to Poppy's (2003)
- Livin' in the City (2005)
- Classic Fantastic (2010)
- "Huey Morgan - Musician - Talks About His Life". YouTube. 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 365–6. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
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