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
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
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
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
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