We recently got asked if we wanted to visit Huey Morgan (of Fun Lovin’ Criminals and BBC 6Music fame) in his “man-cave” in Kilburn, because he’s put an album together with some friends of his. It’s called Say It To My Face by Huey And The New Yorkers and comes out on 29 October. All his royalties from the album are going to the charities Help For Heroes and Wounded Warrior – what a fucking nice dude.
Hi Huey! You used to be a Marine. What was that like?
Being a Marine lets you know what you’re capable of as a man in certain situations that, if you play your cards right in life, don’t normally come up. It makes you stay clear of situations that involve physical conflict, mainly because martial arts is an art you perform for your own discipline, and your discipline guides you away from situations like going out in a bar on a Saturday night and some guy grabbing you by the back of the neck and you having to break his arm. I think my skills from that time do help out. I’m always on time. I’m good at waking up – I can snap on and be wide awake within half a second. A lot of times when I think things are bad, I think of the first time jumping out of an aeroplane. That’s some scary shit. Especially doing a HALO.
What’s doing a HALO?
High Altitude, Low Opening. So you drop a long way in free-fall. Just falling towards the Earth and hoping to God the guy who packed your chute wasn’t high and fucked up or your ass will go splat. There’s humour in being a Marine. You have to have a certain sense of morbid humour to get though that kind of job. It helps with being in the music business.
Do you still get sent stuff by dudes in the forces?
Yeah I’ve worked with them with on books, friends of mine who know guys who are in certain types of units. It’s good to know those guys are out there doing the good jobs that they do and keeping us safe here in the western democratised world. Is that a word? Democratised? That’s stoner talk. I’ve been smoking a bong all afternoon.
We’re in your man cave. It’s like half a shrine to masculinity, half a shrine to New York City…
And to being on the road. Having guitars and needing a place to put them is how this place came about. Initially it was going to be my wife’s office and I was going to have the shed but it wasn’t big enough. A guy needs his space if he’s a married dude. You need a place to go. I don’t go out drinking. I mean, I go out drinking, but I’m not down the pub every night. So I’ll come in here, have a blaze and work on music. It’s like my office, but this is where I go to get my shit together. The gadgets in here are cool. I love all this shit I find.
What’s the most ostentatious thing your position has ever got you for free?
My stereo in here is pretty dope. That’s one of the newest things. It’s pretty big. My wife wants to buy me a car because she wants my car. She can’t have it though. I once bought a helicopter for a video shoot. I had a black Amex with no limit. We had to put the deposit down on it and the deposit was the price of the helicopter so they ran it through. For an hour and a half I was £1.6 million in debt.
For this album you’ve called yourselves Huey and The New Yorkers. It seems like NYC is still a huge thing for you despite being based in sunny London…
Yeah, I still have a place there and go there all the time. Sometimes I’ll pre-record my radio show so I can go back there for a couple of weeks. Going there keeps me grounded. The guys in the band are all my New York boys. I have my London friends and my New York friends who are all musicians. Hang out with musicians and you’ll just start making music eventually.
So do you kinda have two separate existences?
Yeah, one where people know who I am. The best thing that ever happened to me was not getting famous in my hometown. I could go back and just be one of the other 10 million people in New York City. When we got the record deal I wasn’t a kid, I was 27, and I can see how a little bit of fame can get to a kid’s head. Going home and seeing my dog Sugar, God rest his soul, kept me grounded, and it was cool. I didn’t want to hang around for the fallout after going on tour and banging out the hits. We were living a really cool lifestyle because we had the money. It wasn’t gold chains or guns, but we were BMXers, so I had the best BMX bike Hoffman made. It’s over there. My wife said I have to wear a helmet if I ride so I thought fuck it and got a New York Giants helmet. I am the only guy in London riding a BMX bike wearing an American Football helmet. I don’t go fast or do tricks, I’m 44. It’s why I took the stunt pegs off. They’re in the house now, being used as doorstops.
Hey Huey, why should people buy your album?
Buy this record for the simple fact that we didn’t think y’all would hear it. It was made with no commercial intent. It’s just what we do when we’re together. Also the profits I make all go straight to charities to help soldiers coming back from fucked-up war zones. So if you don’t like the music you can buy it, give money to charity, feel good about yourself and use it as a coaster.