ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

This is your life

Silly young fools Is how some people see the Three Lads In Frankie Goes To Hollywood, a trio of young men who have blazed a trail of madness and mayhem across three continents. Brian Nash has always had a wicked sense of humour but as this part of our series shows, once upon a time he used to be a quiet lad too. How on earth did he change?

Part 4: Brian Nash

Full name: Brian Philip John Nash

Born: 20th May 1963, Broad Green, Liverpool

Family: Father Eddie, Mother Pat, Sister Joanne

Education: St Theresas Jnr. R.C., St. Francis Xavier College, DeLaSalle Grammer, Norris Green, Liverpool

Hobbies: Ornithology, collecting leather jackets and Harley Davidson badges, vintage guitars

Occupation: Lead guitarist with Frankie Goes To Hollywood

EARLY DAYS

Brian Philip Nash (John is his confirmation name) was born in May 1963, the same month the Beatles third single ‘From Me To You became their first number one record. According to parents Eddie and Pat: “Brian was an unbelievably big baby, a good ten-pounder. We thought hed be at least six foot six, because by the time he was two he was already three foot high! He was a lovely, placid child but not such a great looking teenager!”

Brian was a clever child. He passed his Eleven Plus with flying colours and gained entry to the prestigious St Francis Xaviers College where he was popular and punctual but easily distracted from work.

Brian remembers that, “school days are definitely the best days of your life. I liked everything about school except the lessons”.

After passing all his mock O Levels and then failing the real exams (bar one) Brian left SFX and went to DeLaSalle Grammer for a term in Norris Green—where the family live.

“The trouble was,” Eddie Nash recalls, “Brian wasnt suited for grammer school life. He would have been better in a technical environment.” So Brian followed his father into the trades, doing a 12 week YOP (Youth Opportunities Programme) course in bricklaying before going on to do a three year apprenticeship at Merseyside County Council where he learnt engineering and worked on lathes, machine tools and capstan blades.

THE DINGLE DEPOT

Brian: “Then it was off to the big wide world and a place at the Dingle Depot. Mark was there too. The apprenticeship started on simple things like fixing school fridges, mending the cookers in school kitchens, re-wiring houses.

(cont.)
A lot of it was like social work because theyd send you to do jobs for old people. After a year of that it was back to the depot full time and working on the bench as an electrician. No wonder people hated the ‘leccies. They have a reputation for being underworked and overpaid.

“A typical day was get in at 8am. Off to breakfast at 8.30 ‘til 10.30. Bit of graft ‘til dinner time. Dinner, ale house, betting shop and then back to the bench, dossing ‘til 4.30. The highlight of the day was playing 5-a-side at the local sports centre. In between I did get a good training.

“When Frankie started happening I took six months leave of absence. I went back to work when Relax became a hit so Id be skiving off sick and doing Top Of The Pops, which was a blast. Eventually it was decision time. Mum and dad werent sure but wed recorded ‘Two Tribes by then so I decided to become a full time muso.”

FAMILY TIES

Because Pat Nash and Josie OToole, (Marks mum) are sisters from a family of seven, the families were very close-knit. Brian and Vinny OToole (Marks brother) were always scrapping as kids, and later the brothers and Brian would practise together.

“Mark taught me the first seven basic chords,” remembers Brian. “We were always close. I know what hes thinking and vice-versa. Weve never had any major rows. Its give and take, and always has been. I give and he takes.

“My earliest memory of Mark is us sunbathing on top of the shed. It was like an air-raid shelter covered in HP Sauce bottles.”

Brian has never been short of sauce himself. A renowned prankster, his sister Joanne remembers him being hauled back home by three burly coppers after being caught with an air pistol at school. Pat Nash remembers him “dressing up like Batman and jumping down a full flight of stairs. His other disguises were Rupert Bear and Superman.”

He was also a gifted mimic who specialised in John Cleese and Frankie Howerd.

Brian was famous in his street for entertaining other kids with his guitar. He often organised concerts and never turned up.

Interest in pop music began when he was given a series of guitars. His best friend Mike Murphy gave him one, the OTooles lent him one, and his parents brought him two. One was an acoustic, then when he was 16, Eddie bought him an electric Ibanez from Frank Hesseys music store in town. Early bands were Sons Of Egypt and Reynard (French for fox), who played punk covers at Liverpool clubs Pickwick and Dancing Girls. He was the last to join Frankie when Gerard
OToole decided to pursue his family responsibilities.

2-4-6-8 MOTORHEAD!

Family holidays took the Nashs to Cornwall, Scotland and Scarborough. Brian remembers that “they were sometimes organised around T.U.C. conferences, ‘cos dads a keen union man. Once we went to Whitley Bay. Dad would be at meetings all day and wed be on the beach.”

When he left school, Brian and Joanne, who is two years his junior, went to stay with relatives in California, visiting L.A., San Francisco and Disneyland.

Back in Britain Brian took an active interest in rock music. His favourites were AC/DC, Motorhead, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Alice Cooper and Tom Robinson.

BLACK EYES AND BIG TIMES

Eddie Nash remembers Brian going to an under 18s gig at Erics Club one Saturday. “He was wearing a Rock Against Racism badge and these boys beat him up. Thats how he got the scar above his eye.”

There was also a shopping trip to London. “He went to buy clothes and came back with some hideous blue flowery keks, a green jacket and a psychedelic vest. He was influenced by Boy George.”

Pat and Eddies earliest recollections of Frankie were: “The outrage. The big local topic was Paul and Holly. We werent worried about Brian staying with them, or were we Pat?

(cont.)
Paul christened them the three lads and Holly calls ‘em the latent homs. Holly used to come round looking like a million dollars in his leather coat. Hed say to Pat ‘ooh make us a butty and put the kettle on girl.

“Brians attitude to stardom hasnt changed. He used to watch TOTP and say ‘Ill be on there one day but hes never been too serious. He says if it all ends tomorrow hell have had a good ride and he means it. He doesnt worry. He enjoys himself. Hes 22 and hes already realised a lot of his ambitions.”