The name Huey Morgan means a lot of different things to a lot of different people in 2017. In the last few years he’s discussed the finer points of British politics as a guest on ‘Question Time’, lent his voice to BBC Radio 2 and endured a particularly memorable meltdown on Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
As we meet, his focus is purely on the band through which he made his name, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and the twentieth anniversary of their seminal debut album Come Find Yourself. Released during the height of Britpop, the album was inspired by tales of urban violence, sex and crime in New York City. “Twenty years ago we produced a record that people still listen to and want to hear us play”, he says with a tangible sense of pride. “That’s a gift, man”.
These days Fun Lovin’ Criminals adopt a workman-like attitude with touring – playing festivals “pretty much every weekend” during the summer and performing their vast catalogue in venues across the world. Huey is the first to admit that twenty years ago, when the band had just been signed by Capitol, his attitude couldn’t have been more different. “When you’re in the charts you’re just collecting money and banging bitches. We didn’t put nearly as much effort into our live performances”.
Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ debut has since established itself as one of the definitive albums of the nineties, and Huey is quick to acknowledge the record’s place in popular music history. “Back then it was Britpop, and us. If I’m being egotistical, I see Come Find Yourself as a really influential record. Back then mixing genres didn’t happen nearly as much as it does now”.
“We made that record (Come Find Yourself) in five days. We had to do it that fast because we were terrified the record company was going to change their mind. It was hard to believe they’d given three idiots that much money and let them produce the record themselves. We had the studio for three weeks and spent the two left over ordering takeout from Little Italy [in New York]. It’s safe to say we wouldn’t have a hope in hell of being signed today”.
Such a blasé attitude would simply not be viable in this day and age, and Huey knows better than most just how much the music industry has changed since ‘Scooby Snacks’, the band’s enduring crossover hit, was regularly played on the airwaves.
“Still to this day there are people that have never bought music in their entire lives. The industry spent so much in trying to stop file sharing instead of embracing it – all they did was lose valuable time. That’s why musicians aren’t encouraged to be creatively different – today people only care about fame, and the music is suffering for it”.
Fun Lovin’ Criminals is set to return to the UK for a nationwide tour next month.