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 Theresa’s 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
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 he’d 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 Xavier’s 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—
“The trouble was,” Eddie Nash recalls, “Brian wasn’t 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.
“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 I’d be skiving off sick and doing Top Of The Pops, which was a blast. Eventually it was decision time. Mum and dad weren’t sure but we’d recorded ‘Two Tribes’ by then so I decided to become a full time muso.”
Because Pat Nash and Josie O’Toole, (Mark’s mum) are sisters from a family of seven, the families were very close-knit. Brian and Vinny O’Toole (Mark’s 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 he’s thinking and vice-versa. We’ve never had any major rows. It’s 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 O’Tooles 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 Hessey’s 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
O’Toole decided to pursue his family responsibilities.
Family holidays took the Nash’s to Cornwall, Scotland and Scarborough. Brian remembers that “they were sometimes organised around T.U.C. conferences, ‘cos dad’s a keen union man. Once we went to Whitley Bay. Dad would be at meetings all day and we’d 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 Eric’s Club one Saturday. “He was wearing a Rock Against Racism badge and these boys beat him up. That’s 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 Eddie’s earliest recollections of Frankie were: “The outrage. The big local topic was Paul and Holly. We weren’t worried about Brian staying with them, or were we Pat? Continue »
“Brian’s attitude to stardom hasn’t changed. He used to watch TOTP and say ‘I’ll be on there one day’ but he’s never been too serious. He says if it all ends tomorrow he’ll have had a good ride and he means it. He doesn’t worry. He enjoys himself. He’s 22 and he’s already realised a lot of his ambitions.”