ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

The wild boys

Pedro, Nasher and Mark are not quiet types. “Getting absolutely bladdered and smashing the place up”, is a little more their line. That and slagging off other groups. Frankie Goes To Hollywoods terrible trio tell all to Tom Hibbert.

Do I have my wild moments?” snarls Nasher. “Itd be better to ask if I have any quiet moments. Lifes one big continuous party — specially when Im with Mark and Pedro.”

Which is rather often these days. The shifty trio, Frankies second tribe, the ones who bash abouton instruments while Holy and Paul camp it up at he front, have left their Liverpool homes and now share a flat in Londons Maida Vale. And here they whilr away their few spare hours “mucking about listening to Bob Marley” and engaging in various ‘lad-ish leisure pursuits such as, in the immortal words of Nasher, “getting absolutely bladdered and smashing the place up.”

The notorious rise of Frankie is already part of pop history; their record label ZTT, “Relax”, Mike Read, “Two Tribes”, ZTT ‘spokesman Paul Morley, a load of t-shirts, you know the tale. Its been the two singers, the one with the cane and the one with the moustache, who have grabbed most of the attention: the Other Three have remained in the background all shadowy and scruffy.

But now it can be told! The guitarist ‘digs Black Sabbath! The drummers father works in double-glazing! The bass player is a motorcar model kit enthusiast! These astonishing facts, and more, were gleaned under laboratory conditions; sitting on cardboard boxes in a cramped storeroom in photographer Peter Ashworths studio, Nasher, Mark and Pedro talked about themselves and other things, starting with Frankie Goes To School.

Back then, Pedro “wasnt a tearaway but wasnt a goody-goody”, Mark was “well behaved most of the time but got a bit out of hand near the end”, while Nasher got booted out for irregular attendance. What were their choicest pranks?

Nasher: “Sticking bunsen burners in the fish tanks and gasssing the fish.” Mark: “Taking screwdrivers from woodwork class and unscrewing the school clocks off the walls.” Pedro: “Pinching the teachers cane, not doing homework, copying other peoples homework, bunking off, coming in late… Nothing special.”

The TV set, it would seem, played a greater role than the classroom in the trios development.

“I used to like The Avengers and The Champions” says Mark. “The Champions were the ones who used to wear polo necks.

They crashed in the Himalayas and they had superpowers. And then there was the Jacksons cartoon. I liked that. You were either a Jacksons cartoon fan or an Osmonds cartoon fan — I was a Jacksons cartoon fan. Michael Jackson hadnt had a nose-job then and The Osmonds were a bit pearly-white teeth for me. Also you were either a Blue Peter fan or a Magpie fan — J was always a bit Blue Peterish.”

“Magpie was crap” growls Nasher, “but John Noakes (Blue Peter presenter) was brilliant. He had loads of bottle doing all these things that no-onell do anymore like jumping out of planes and getting stuck on mountains in Scotland. He was a bit of a plank, like, but he was dead funny. But then his dog died and he went weird. He was never the same after the dog died.”

Did you ever try to make any of the cheapneasy model ‘ideas the Blue Peter team are so fond of demonstrating?

“No,”snaps Nasher, “because they usually made such a cock-up of it themselves it was never worth trying. It ws like, ‘We were going to make an album but we just happen to have one here we made this morning. All you need is 18 boxes of Rice Krispies and a bar of chocolate. It was a joke.”

Mark wasnt too impressed with Blue Peters modelling skills either.

“The things they made were always dead boring. But I started making proper models about a year ago. I make radio controlled cars and when Ive finished them I give them to my nephew Michael and he smashes them up.”

While Mark and Nasher were busy not making any of Blue Peters crafty nick-nacks, Pedro was engaged in not becoming a guitar hero. “I used to watch a lot of bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin on the television and I wished I could be there. I tried to play the guitar but my hands were too little, so after six months I went onto bashing thing.”

After leaving school and bagging jobs, the Other Three played in a succession of ropey groups. Then they met local hero Holly Johnson.

“When Holly was in Big In Japan, I used to think ‘God, he must be dead famous,” says Mark. “He wasnt really but when I first met him I was a bit in awe. He was a bit eccentric but he helped me with this girl who worked in a shop in Liverpools city centre. I fancied her but was too shy to go in and ask her out. Holly made me go in. And she turned me down.

“Nasher thought Holly was rather odd at first, too: “I met him after he left Big In Japan and was rehearsing with this other group, singing Caribbean rhythm songs. He was a skinhead and I thought ‘Oooh! Hes weird! He had this blond skinhead cut with ‘PSYCHO sprayed in black on his head. I hated that. He was wild but hes not anymore. Hes been tamed by age.”

Only Pedro appears to have been unaffected by his first glimpse of Holly: “I didnt really think anything. He was just another feller. Now he just another feller that sings.”

To Frankies critics, however, Hollys just another feller who cant sing for toffee while the Other Three are a bunch of incompetents who dont even play on the record. Pedro is not fond of such critics: “I dont think that anyone genuinely doesnt like us. But theres been a lot of people — naming no names — whove just got really jealous and so they have to say Frankie are a load of prats. I cant stand people like that.”

And who else cant the Other Three stand?

“It would be too easy to say Culture Club, wouldnt it?” barks Nasher. “Theyd only start writing bitchy little letters. But like everyone else, Culture Club have definitely wimped out. The Thompson Twins are really wimpy. Duran Duran used to be really brilliant but theyve wimped out too.”

“I dont despise anybody” says Mark, the most ‘mellow and gentle of the Other Three. “Oh, yes I do. Cyndi Lauper.

I think shes the worst thing ever. Her squeaky voice is so annoying and the way she carries on…”

“Cyndi Laupers really obnoxious,” yelps Nasher. She stands for everything that is bad in America. Shes ugly too.”

“Oh, and I dont like Lloyd Cole & The Commotions because they dont like us,” says Mark. “The singer thinks hes really smart. Ive never heard any of their records. In fact, dont put this in because I dont want to give them free publicity.”

“I really despise Sade,” whines Nasher. “Trying to write an album round three chords and this new jazz movement…”

“I used to really hate Prince,” says Mark, “But then I got brainwashed.”

Once the fuming has drawn to a close, I mention t-shirts. What, in the opinions of The Other Three, is the ideal Frankie slogan?

Pedro: “Frankie Say Arent You Sick Of These T-shirts”. Mark: “Frankie Say We Cant Play”. Nasher: “Frankie Say Hang Paul Morley”. No, “Frankie Say The Three Lads Are Great”.

And with that, the three lads go off to get “absolutely bladdered” or whatever. As they say, lifes just one big continuous party.