ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Frankie goes to war


Frankie Goes To Hollywood Soap, Episode One: ‘Relax: sexcess… sex sells… excellent. Excel at selling sex… fetish fun gay flirtation shock horror controversy… top of the prurient pops… platinum platter.

Frankie Soap, Episode Two: ‘Two Tribes: postcoital outrage? Of course—violence! Militaristic chic… wargames… Russkies vs Yanks… guns… bazookas… phallic symbolism… dontcha just love a man in uniform…? power equals sex equals power… into battle.

Frankie on the front line… whos in my firing line? Paul Rutherford, perhaps the man most responsible for summing up the visual sauciness of ‘Relax, has hidden his backless leather bondage chaps beneath a gabardine trenchcoat—another classic macho image turned topsy turvy.

The campaign to set public tongues a-wagging as to what naughty Frankie will do next has been carefully orchestrated, with—yes!—military precision. So, Paul, are we still, shockable? Are we to be titillated, enraged, provoked, amused or frustrated?

Forget the pipes of peace, its once more into the breach, dear friends. Fire!


A silken white shirt, black buckled chic. A delicate handshake, a nice smile, a warm nature. Thats Paul Rutherford—the sweetest thing. On a sun-drenched patio, we sit on suitably delicate white garden furniture to discuss something much heavier—Frankies latest battle plans for their May 14 released, much awaited second single, ‘Two Tribes. Theyre having a war, but they dont want you to come…

Was it difficult to decide how to follow the last look—is the military style a conscious effort to totally depart from what youve done before?

I think we try to do that anyway. Like when we were on ORS, we basically wore our own stuff, but everyone thought wed planned that cos everyone looked similar—we obviously share the same taste! Just cos the singles called Two Tribes, it obviously had to be something strong, and its about war, so… it had to be that kind of thing.

I think its really boring all this leather bit, it just gets shoved down your throat all the time, everyone determines your whole life by it. I really like all that stuff, but they just think thats it, the top and bottom of it. Im not saying I wont wear it ever again, but we always wanted to change, to come up with something different, Im sure well do it again. We dont wanna get bored.

It sounds silly saying it wasnt an image, cos it is such a strong image, but it wasnt a conscious effort to say were like this heavy S&M band, ‘cos its just not like that at all. They were just clothes, very trendy this year, too!

Its just when you hit people with that image first of all…

I think weve done it harder than anyone else, more believable. People were a bit more scared of it cos it looked more honest. Theyre so used to women wearing thigh length boots and showing a bit of body, but theyre not really used to guys…

It mustve been unbelievable when it did all work out exactly as youd imagined…

It was in the back of our minds all the way along, obviously, it was in mine and Trevors anyway. So when it was banned we were really shocked, cos wed got away with it for so long no-one noticed what it was on about. It didnt upset me, Im really not bothered, personally I dont give a f**k about it. Basically cos my taste lies in line with things like that, that would get banned most probably or wouldnt get airplay… the only thing that upset us was that we didnt get to go on TOTP! The first time we did it was a good laugh, dead funny, wed just like to have done it again.

Probably everyone thought youd ticked off a box on the masterplan when it got banned.

If they wanna feel that they can, but we were surprised.

It was obvious people were looking for something exciting to happen, because of the reaction it provoked.

I think music has got a bit staid again—once again. It goes in very short cycles—it gets exciting for six months and then it disappears. This whole white funk trip everyone got on, everyone decided to go a bit dancey, a bit happy—and its just not really that real, its great at first cos it makes you smile—Kid Creole, great, then it does grate on your teeth after a while. So I think we came along at a really good time—thats why we worked so well—a lot of it was luck for us, the timing was perfect.


I think everyone thought after ‘Relax that thered be this big explosion of bands dressed up in bondage gear!

They were expecting this drastic change in 1984, were all waiting for it, this bloody big change, everyones still thinking like that. But its a bit of a laugh, its fun.

But what happened—‘Relax was a monster, and then nothing! So now everyones watching your every step cos theres no-one else.

Theyre all expecting us to do it again. I hope we do. Its a good single, the covers good. It steps on toes, which is quite good. This time its really moral, though, its anti-war—so moral its untrue. Theres a great picture of Reagan and Thatcher on the back of the sleeve and one of Lennon on the front, and underneath the picture it says ‘We dont want to die. And there are all the nuclear statistics on the back, where all the weapons are placed and all that.

So its still going to upset people?

Hopefully—it wont upset mothers this time, hopefully itll upset people in much higher places. Apparently theres going to be a real heavy campaign on it, Pauls got some real heavy slogans.

Itll be interesting to see how the BBC react this time.

I think theyll try to be so f**king liberal this time itll be sickening. Theyre all really apologetic now, which is dead nice of them, fine, but theyre going to do their best this time, theyre going to play it. Itll probably get about 900 plays a day to cover up their embarrassment, people will sicken of it in a week!

Its quite exciting, aggressive. I know when we used to play it live it was like the most manic number in the set.

(cont.)
We used to do a short version at the beginning, it used to knacker us, but it was such a good opener, and we used to do the long version at the end cos everyone could give it everything and leave the stage. Cos its about 100mph, its great. Weve always seen it as our anthem, the boys and Holly and I.

Well, the next thing that upsets people after sex is violence, guns, quite a logical step really.

Where do we move after that!

The danger is that people think youre doing it deliberately to outrage, which in a way I suppose you are.

Its something were obviously worried about, that we think about, were not trying to worry the public. Its more to do with them up there, getting up their noses.

Thats always sparked peoples imaginations, the fact that theyre in on something thats a bit naughty.

Its always been like that with artists, stepping on their elders toes, being reactionary.

I suppose dressing up in Russian uniforms is quite reactionary!

Specially when youve got New York as a backdrop! I felt really stupid in that Russian coat, it felt like I was wearing my mothers coat, I hated it. I managed to get the smallest bloody one, and no-one would swop with me, it was really short on me and dead long on them. That hat was so dirty as well. But we had a good laugh.


Presumably the Russians vs Americans aspect is just one of the many meanings you can take from ‘Two Tribes.

Oh yeah, its about any confrontation. To give you the glorious saying ‘we won is really shallow. Its far more noble to be able to say were not offended by you and we dont really want to fight with you. We value our lives much more than we value an argument. But it can mean many things, it can mean relationships as well.

Someone I knows got this letter, a declaration of peace that Yoko Ono wrote just after Lennon died, its really quite moving, saying how strong it is to be able to lay your weapon down.

The whole thing is so basic—literally, stop, it doesnt matter, we can work it out, it is that simple. But they say its not—its basically all money thats the problem. Ive always said better Red than dead, Im afraid I believe that, Id rather live.

Im sure I can find my little room somewhere and have my little good time, no matter if they take my stereo away, Im sure Ill find something even if its gazing at bloody walls.


Paul asks what music I like. I say everything from Prince to Eno and back again. Im not a snob. I dont say ‘God its them, it must be awful.

Im like that with Kajagoogoo actually. I cant bear them. He doesnt like us, Nick Beggs, he thinks were morally wrong. I think hes a f**king idiot, the guys a fool, I think he should go and give himself to God totally and prove hes really a man. If hes pushing his values at people, he should become a monk or a priest or something, if Gods the closest thing to him, he should do the closest thing to him.

You can use God as a ploy, and Catholics dont really buy records, you dont get many priests buying records. And I suggest he puts his head in the lions mouth cos its f**king ugly. No, I dont like the guy at all—who is he to pass judgment on anybody? He isnt the Lord, if there is such a thing. He should realise all this is not evil at all.

I dont think you can corrupt people, really.

I dont think you can at all. I think people have pretty much made their minds up—musics only a small part of it, what about the rest of the media? The papers are more poisonous than anything. Its hard to say whats wrong and whats right. Obviously you do draw the line at certain things, but its hard to say whos moral and whos immoral.

Censorships really strange, its a weird one.

(cont.)
Another person who doesnt like us is Boy George. The guys an idiot. If overt things freak him out… how can he say that if hes got bloody eye make-up on.

I dont think he can say hes moral—tell that to a nun, Im sure shed think he was the oddest ball that ever roamed the earth. If theyre so bloody moral why dont they make a true stance and be so honest with the rest of the world? Thats not helping anybody along.

The music business is well weird, very strange. Theyve all become little judges. Its all sour grapes as well cos ultimately youre stealing their audience—the reason a lot of them dont like us now is because we did that, theyre buying our records now as well, were a little threat to them. They should just say well yeah, theres a lot of money in the world, let somebody else have a share of it, you can only spend so much in your bloody life. He never need work again, he doesnt need to bring another record out.

I think the note youve struck with people is that they realise the same thing—that the button could be pushed any day, so you might as well enjoy yourself.

Relax!

Everyones got this unspoken fear and no ones provided a channel for peoples feelings on that score.

I hope ‘Two Tribes helps that along. You need the whole world behind you on something like this, you need every person, every household, not in a high position, but everyone who matters in between. Like that old slogan what would happen if they threw a war and nobody came. Well, lets find out! We need everyone behind us.