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Fun Lovin' Criminals

The Fun Lovin' Criminals (often referred to by their initials, FLC) are an American alternative rap / alternative rock group from New York City. Their musical style is eclectic, covering such styles as hip hop, rock, blues and jazz. Their songs often deal with life in a city, often explicitly New York City, but just as often urban life in general. They cover such issues as organized crime, drugs, violence, poverty and politics. Their songs are often gritty or existentialist in nature but are just as often humorous or satirical. They are probably best known for their hit Scooby Snacks which features samples from films by Quentin Tarantino.

In their native US they have something of a cult following. However the band gained a large following internationally, notably in northwest Europe, especially around the release of their first two albums in the late nineties. Their success has waned in recent years, their last album only reaching #57 in the UK charts, but they are still active and a new album is due out later this year.

History

The band was formed in 1993 by Hugh 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.

Their debut album, Come Find Yourself, was released in 1995 and while it was a commercial flop in the US it sold very well internationally, reaching #7 in the UK album charts. It was thanks to their success in the UK that they weren't dropped from their record label and instead, while still touring extensively, recorded their second album, 100% Colombian. However this also performed poorly in the US and they were subsequently dropped from their domestic contract but retained internationally.

It was around this time, in 1999, that Steve Borgovini left the band (after he, in the words of Huey: "went a little crazy and departed to Peru"). He was replaced by Maxwell Jayson aka Mackie, originally just temporarily in case Borgovini returned. The band's third studio album, Loco was released in early 2001 and by this time it was clear that Borgovini was not going to return so a permanent replacement was found in the form of Mark Reid from Leicester, UK, who had previously worked with the band as Mackie's technician.

The line up has been stable since. And while their subsequent albums haven't reached the successes of their earlier work - their next studio album was their first to chart outside the UK top 20 and even their "best of" compilation only reached #11 - they are occasionally touring and they have recorded new material. A new album is expected later this year.

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.

Music

Come Find Yourself, the band's first album, was released in 1995 by Capitol Records and included Scooby Snacks, the band's biggest hit single to date. It features samples from films by Quentin Tarantino, interspersed with rap verses and a sung, anthemic, chorus. The album is very New York-centric, including tracks about the L-train (Bombin' The L), Coney Island (Coney Island Girl) and Mafia crimelord John Gotti (King Of New York), with many smaller references in other songs. Come Find Yourself had a slow rise up the UK album charts, finally peaking at #7. But as discussed above it failed to make any impact in the US. The success of the album prompted the re-release of Scooby Snacks as a single. It faired much better on the second time around, reaching #12 when previously it had peaked at #22.

100% Colombian, released in 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 #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.

But two years later the band released Loco, again under EMI, which had all new songs including the epnymous single Loco which became their biggest hit yet, reaching #5 in the UK singles chart. It was the only single release from the album but was popular enough that it helped the album also reach #5, albeit obviously in the album chart.

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 #11 in the UK album charts.

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. 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 #20 in the UK album charts and the best selling single from the album only reached #61.

EMI continued to release their back catalogue 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. The title track itself has the repeated lyric "I love livin' in the city, give it up for New York City!".

Discography

Studio albums

Compilation albums

EPs

Singles/EPs

From Come Find Yourself:

  • 1996 "The Grave And The Constant EP" #72 UK
  • 1996 "Scooby Snacks" #22 UK
  • 1996 "The Fun Lovin' Criminal" #26 UK
  • 1997 "King Of New York" #28 UK

From Mimosa/Come Find Yourself:

  • 1997 "I'm Not In Love"/"Scooby Snacks" #12 UK

From 100% Colombian:

  • 1998 "Love Unlimited" #18 UK
  • 1998 "Big Night Out" #29 UK
  • 1999 "Korean Bodega" #15 UK

From Loco:

  • 2001 "Loco" #5 UK
  • 2001 "Bump"/"Run Daddy Run" #50 UK

From Welcome To Poppy's:

  • 2003 "Too Hot" #61 UK
  • 2003 "Beautiful" #132 UK

From Livin' In The City:

  • 2005 "Mi Corazon" #182 UK

External links

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