DJ Fast from the Fun Lovin' Criminals Interview

Stick Em’ Up Punk

Stick Em’ Up Worthing; We’re Only Here For The Scooby Snacks & Fresh Sea Air…

Continuing our series of interviews with legendary music types ( check em out here ) we caught up the legendary DJ Fast from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals for some jive talkin’, bank robbin’ & Scooby snack munching. So push the supermodel off your lap, sit back & smoke em if you got em’.

Fun Lovin’ Criminals Background

Twenty years. Twenty flaming years. That’s how long ago it has been since the Fun Lovin’ Criminals not so much sprung as coolly slouched onto the scene with their breakthrough album Come Find Yourself. 1996! Where the hell has that gone?

Fusing hip-hop, rock, blues, funk, Norwegian doom metal and soul, they were impossible to pin down, and pigeon hole. The songs about gang violence and being the king of New York shouldn’t have sat easily alongside the cover of Louis Armstrong’s ‘We Have All the Time in the World’, but they did. They must have done because tickets for this year’s tour, in which the three original members of the band will play the album in full, have been eagerly snapped up by fans still desperate to hear the tunes again two decades on.

Oh, but don’t expect the doom metal stuff, I think I got carried away with describing their eclecticism.

1996 was a funny time in music; Britpop was already waning, Take That’s split was the story of the year and Robson and flaming Jerome spent two horrendous weeks at the top of the album charts. FLC was something exotic and different, arriving fresh from the Big Apple, and it’s worth celebrating that. You wouldn’t be booking your place to see Kula Shaker stumble their way through K in 2016, would you? (Or actually, you would if you live in Worthing as they are playing the night after in the same venue.)

When the DJ Fast from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals rocks up with his mates at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing on Friday 12th February, you’ll hear the 13 tracks (15 if they do the bonus songs) as they were originally set out on shellac, before they come back for a race through the rest of the highlights of their back catalogue.

WHEN FAST MET THE BEWILDERED HYPE

DJ Fast From the Fun Lovin’ Criminals Interview

I caught up with bassist Fast, Brian Andrew Leiser to his mum, on the phone from his home in Beckenham, South East London. He started by recalling his adopted home’s connections to the recently departed David Bowie.

“Yeah, he had his art studio here and did a lot of work in Beckenham. I’ve never been the biggest Bowie fan growing up but I have such an appreciation for his music now, and it’s all across the board. Let’s Dance with Nile Rodgers, that’s just next level, but then Rebel Rebel, Fame…you now the story about that?”

Go on…

“One of James Browns’ guitarists left and joined Bowie. He played him this amazing guitar lick and Bowie loved it and put it into Fame. They played it on a TV show well before it was released. James Brown heard it, said “that’s my guitar player”, went in the studio with his band, had them play the whole song, and then James Brown’s label rushed to release it before Fame so when Fame was released Bowie was accused of ripping off James Brown. Do a search on Google, type in “James Brown Fame”. You’ll hear the track and it’s like “what the f*ck!”

Fame, Fashion, unbelievable songs. It’s so sad because his death was so sudden.”

On the theme of legends, you’re appearing at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing, where Hendrix and Deep Purple have played amongst others. Do you find that sort of legacy inspiring when you visit these places?

“Definitely man, we’ve recorded in studios that unbelievable people have gone before us. Dean Street Studios where Bowie recorded, for example. So following these big names, it just reminds us how lucky we are to still be doing this after twenty years and that people want to still see us.”

Can you believe Come Find Yourself is twenty years old? It seems like yesterday.

“I think the reality comes from my daughter who is turning five next week, and that has gone so quick, it’s very bizarre.

It does seem like yesterday that Huey (Morgan, lead singer) and I were writing this record, even though it is so long ago. But that album is always with us because whenever we play shows, most of the songs are off that record. The songs are so close to us; they are like our children, so the time doesn’t feel like it matters but it seems like a fitting tribute to play it start to finish because people are getting nostalgic, even though we don’t feel like we’ve grown up so much!

They get two sets; the second one is an hour long rather than just being an encore. They’re getting value for money. It’s cool man, we love being musicians and not having to get real jobs.

It can work two ways with bands playing their old material. Radiohead became synonymous with Creep, and they hate it now, and you will always be known for Scooby Snacks, even with your immense back catalogue. Is it a burden or do you still enjoy it?

“It’s a great song. I understand with Radiohead that it doesn’t fit into their sound, and it took them a few albums to find that. With us, we knew our sound as soon as Huey, and I met because I knew he was a guy who loved blues and rock music and he knew I was the guy who liked electronic music like Depeche Mode and shit. We both loved hip-hop, that’s our mutual ground, and we knew our sound, and we’ve stuck to it ever since. We didn’t change according to the times. We’re not Madonna.

With Radiohead, it’s cool that they changed to find their sound, but it’s silly they go out and don’t play a song people, love. I saw them in New York in the early 90s when they played Creep, and the crowd went fucking nuts for it. For us, we love playing Scooby Snacks. We had got our record deal before we wrote it. The song you don’t think will be the one ends up being the one and the crowd love hearing it, and it’s a fun song”.

What’s it like touring together twenty years on?

“You always have arguments. We’re older, we’re more opinionated nowadays, but we always have fun onstage.  The real work is the long car rides or bus rides, by the twentieth hour they get fucking annoying. But to be able to play our shows, it doesn’t get better than that.

We’ve always got along, we didn’t end up all becoming drug addicts and hating each other and beating each other up and that. There have been tough times, but we respect each other.

We want to keep it fun. Which is why we’re playing Thursday, Friday and Saturdays – so people don’t have to worry about having a good time. No one cares if they have a hangover at work on a Friday. It also means we can see our families and have a normal week once we get back on Monday.

We get two families – our dysfunctional FLC family at the weekend and our real families which give us our foundation for being real people.”

Does your daughter like having a dad in a band?

I have a reggae band with Frank, the drummer from FLC, and she’s been to one of those shows. It was awesome. She’ll probably be a bit scared with FLC because, having your first show seeing a reggae band, it’s pretty peaceful compared with being on stage at an FLC show where you have loud guitars and banging drums.

We did a show in Bristol for Grillstock a few years ago, and Huey’s son came on stage and played the drums and got the best reaction of the whole night.”

Fun Lovin’ Criminals play the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing on Friday 12th February.

This interview with DJ Fast from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals was a special guest contribution by the most excellent Jim @Bewildered_Dad –  To hear more of this interview, and loads more good stuff make sure you check out his marvellous podcast here>

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Editor | Journalist | Part-Time Revolutionary.

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