ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Frankie speaking or are they?

Frankie speaking or are they? Carole Linfield tries to find out what Frankie say…

ITS A seemingly impossible task, getting an interview with the elusive Holly Johnson. Theres a slim chance youll be offered Paul, or Ped, or Mark… but never the man with the most to say.

Backstage at Paris pleasuredome, courtesy of “accidentally” aquiring a VIP pass, we give it a go. The recently bleached singer stands apart from the rest with his boyfriend, an incredible hunk of masculinity called Wolfgang. Horse sized guard dogs patrol. A minder with no discernible neck keep a blank but beady eye on his stars. Gulp.

He turns his back for a second and I make my bid. OK Holly, can we have an interview?

“Sure. No problem.” Slightly startled, but composed. “Just ring the press office…”

Ah, yes. The press office. You see, weve been trying that old tack for six weeks now. They agree to it in principle but then decline to arrange it. How about a quick chat after the gig?

“Well,” lilts Holly, deliciously deliberately. “I dont like to do interviews after the show because of, well…” He indicates his throat. “The voice…” he mouths.

Fair enough. Ive got some time before leaving tomorrow — how about then?

“No…” Its hard to see if theres a glint in his eye — all I can see is my own reflection in oddly shaped shades. “I like to… lie in in the mornings. Why not arrange a phoner?”

Hmmm. Not quite as good as face to face combat. When are you next back on old Blightys shores?

“Let me see… I think were back for a couple of days in — when is it?”

“October,” confirms Wolfgang.

October…? Will Frankie Goes To Hollywood still be around by then?

“Oh yeah. We all get on very well together… and theres at least three albums in Frankie.”

So what are you doing till October?

“Were hoping to go to Nassau to record the next album in the summer, because…”

“…you can sun yourself on the beach?

“Yeah, that too. But mainly cos loads of people have recorded there that we really admire, like the B52s.”

So therell be some new material soon?

“Yeah, but were going to sit on it for a while so that it doesnt come out in November, when everyone releases records. Itd be too late for Christmas. So well hold it and release it early in ‘86.”

You see?

There doesnt seem to be a problem. I thought perhaps Holly was shy of interviews after a vicious, puerile attack from the Sun recently.

“Oh, no…” he grins. “Its a real compliment when a paper like the Sun slags you off!”

A call from onstage.

“Excuse me. I have to go know.” Smiles sweetly.

So many questions, so little time. So many rumours rife. Like, is it true that the band make Holly and his boyfriend travel in a separate tour bus? And that the so-called lads pelt Holly with abuse every time he walks past their bus? Or that Holly doesnt travel by tour bus at all but turns his back on the “team spirit” and flies to each destination? Because if any of them have a hint of truth, it doesnt sound like a band with enough time left for three albums…

Despite Hollys personal approval, were still told through the formal channels that theres “little hope” of them arranging even a phoner. “You see, theyre doing so many international interviews.”

But Frankie dont need protecting. By all accounts, theyve been helpful, generous and co-operative to a fault with their support act. Even Plonker Ped (“I may be the ugliest man in rock but I can still pull”) apologised to a female press officer who hed vocally abused throughout their tour. Well, its a start.

One theory from a cynical colleague is that ZTT are only concentrating on the overseas market now that theyve saturated the UK with ‘Welcome…. Its an interesting theory. And isnt it nice to know they care about those of you who actually bought the album?

Whichever way, somebody somewhere is keeping us vampires from their door when a bit of healthy bloodletting is in order. And that sucks.