Fun Lovin' Criminals Take 100% Colombian On Tour

Normally raucous hip-hop/funk trio will take a smoother R&B sound on the road in support of new album.

New York hip-hop/funk trio Fun Lovin' Criminals have a surprise in store for old

fans when they kick off their first string of U.S. dates in February in support

of their just-released sophomore album, 100% Colombian.

The 13-track album is a surprisingly sedate, R&B-heavy batch of songs from the

traditionally raucous threesome best known for their previous rap/rock radio hit

"Scooby

Snacks" (RealAudio excerpt) from 1996's Come Find Yourself.

"We've done the smooth stuff and the rockin' stuff before," said lead

singer Huey, 30, who, like bassist Fast and drummer Steve, will only divulge his

first name. "We just got better at recording it this time around."

Again writing, arranging and producing themselves, the trio returned to the

same New York studio where their debut album was recorded. This time,

however, they took considerably longer than the five days spent recording the

previous disc, according to Huey.

The result is a collection of such bouncy funk-rock songs as the album's first

single, "Korean

Bodega" (RealAudio excerpt), a sly homage to a neighborhood corner

store that Huey said let him off easy once when he was a bit short on cash.

"It's about this store in my neighborhood that I owed some money to," Huey

said. "It was only like $2, so they said, 'Why don't you just write a song about

us?' "

The two-month stretch of recording in February and March of 1998 included a

surprising collaboration, via tape, with blues-guitar legend B.B. King, who

lends some soulful bent-note licks to the jazzy, album-ending tune, "Mini Bar Blues."

Huey said King has been a friend of the band for a short time, as well as an

"all-time" hero. The unlikely pairing developed after an English awards ceremony

two years ago when King presented the group with a Q magazine award

for best new act.

"B.B. King is a buddy of ours, and he finally broke down and gave us his

services," Huey said. "He had a day off in Chicago; he asked us to send him a

tape of what we wanted him to do, and he did his thing."

After months of European dates and press (100% Colombian was

released in England in September), the trio will hit the road in the U.S. for a

string of 10 dates, beginning Feb. 8 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and

concluding with a March 4 date in Los Angeles, after which they will return to

Europe for more dates.

Although the previously rough-edged trio will be showing fans a loungier, more

seductive face this time around, Huey said he wasn't worried that fans of such

Come Find Yourself tracks as "Bombin' the L" and "King of New York"

would be turned off by the change. "We're just doing our own thing," Huey said.

"Ninety percent of bands out there are just doing it to get paid, and there's no

value in their music. I think our fans will be surprised by the new stuff and,

if anything, they will appreciate it a bit more that we made some nice music to

listen to while they're living their lives."

The full track listing for 100% Colombian is: "Up on the Hill," "Love

Unlimited," "The View Belongs to Everyone," "Korean Bodega," "Back on the

Block," "10th Street," "Sugar," "Southside," "We Are All Very Worried About

You," "All for Self," "All My Time Is Gone," "Big Night Out" and "Mini Bar

Blues."

Fun Lovin' Criminals Tour Dates:

Feb. 8; Washington, D.C., 9:30 Club

Feb. 10; New York, N.Y., Irving Plaza

Feb. 11; Boston, Mass., Paradise

Feb. 12; Philadelphia, Pa., Theater of Living Arts

Feb. 23; Boulder, Colo., Fox Theater

Feb. 27; Seattle, Wash., Showbox

Feb. 28; Portland, Ore., La Luna Lounge

March 1; Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Starfish Room

March 3; San Francisco, Calif., Fillmore

March 4; Los Angeles, Calif., Hollywood Athletic Club