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Hooray for Hollywood

Are Frankie Goes To Hollywood the most outrageous new group since the Sex Pistol… or simply the new Village People? Sunie asks Holly Johnson the questions, John Stoddart takes the picture.

Holly Johnson fronts a band called Frankie Goes To Hollywood who seem determined to shock.

Dressed to kill in shiny black leather, Holly and his band buddy Paul come on in their pictures like a macho couple straight out of an Amsterdam gay bar.

They stage their interviews In Londons notorious Coleherne pub — a venue to unsettle even the most blasé rock journalist.

And now their first single ‘Relax, produced by Trevor Horn, is nibbling the bottom of the charts with its blatantly sexual disco rhythms and unprintable lyrics. Something tells me Holly is looking for attention…

Are Frankie Goes To Hollywood this years Village People?

Oooh, fierce! No, were not. They were hand-picked models, a total product of the producer. Were not Trevor Horns puppets, though certain people would like to think so.

Youve got this very naughty image. But arent you just selling your gay sexuality like a girl group who pose for pictures half naked?

Yes, to a degree. We have on occasion been goaded by a photographer into… They want sexual innuendo so much, you end up giving it to them so you can go home.

But its not like page three stuff. I mean, Pauls stunning looking, but Im not.

Will you have to tone yourselves down to gain mass acceptance, Holly?

Not really, because were just normal people having fun. I mean, were not particularly weirdos or anything. Were just scallies from Liverpool.

What else do you write songs about, besides sex?

Ive got a great song called ‘Boyfriend 65', which is a sort of, ‘60s pastiche. Theres ‘Two Tribes, which is Russia! America, but its about personal relationships as well.

I wrote a love song once called ‘Treasure Island, about running away to one.

How important is the musical side of what you do, as opposed to fame, stardom, making videos and all that?

No two ways about it, the music it it. Its just that I know you have to market yourself, or nobodys interested.

Ive had no success doing things any other way, in ten years of writing songs.

Why is the group called…

The answer to this is listen to the ‘B side of the single, it explains everything.

(I did.

Although there doesnt seem to ,be any reference on it to a song by Deaf School — another ‘legendary Scouse group called ‘Frankie Goes To Nashville, I reckon thats where the name came from.)

What sort of little boy were you?

A little boy with a patch over one eye, who sang and danced along the street. I had whats called a lazy eye, so I had to wear the patch.

You tend to be a prodded kind of kid when you look like that, but it makes you much stronger in the end.

What place do women have in your life?

I get on with women particularly well, always have done. Theyre really strong — they scare me as well, actually, cos I know how one or two steps ahead of men they can be, and can manipulate them quite wickedly for their own ends.

Im not averse to women!

Who are the three most fanciable people you can think of?

Franco Nero (Italian actor), Brad Davies (star of Midnight Express) — theyre both in the new Fassbinder movie, Querelle. And Doris Day.

What do you think of Boy George and Marilyn?

Arent they gorgeous looking! I wish I was that pretty!

Culture Club write the best-crafted pop tunes around, they perk you up, dont they?

I saw Georges face on the cover of Ritz, looking just absolutely… and winking at me.

I went, “Alright there, George lad! How does it feel?