ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Holly Johnson


NAME: William Holly Johnson.

BORN: February 9,1960 in Khartoum, The Sudan.

FIRST RECORD BOUGHT: ‘Blackberry Way by The Move. And thats the truth. It cost 7s 6d.

FIRST CONCERT: David Bowie at the Liverpool Empire. The date was June 9, 1973. Oh it was fab. The best show ever. He came on to all these strobes and Clockwork Orange-type theme music — weve ripped that off a few times — and he had a really fab costume which these girls came on and ripped off. It was all part of the show. Mind you I did get beaten up afterwards. I was pretty outrageous for the time, with make-up and everything.

FIRST CRUSH: Miss Schofield, me infant teacher. She used to wear those really woolly jumpers and fab perfume.

DID YOU HAVE A TOUGH CHILDHOOD? Oh, incredibly. Doesnt anyone born in working class England? And then theres the brainwashing of an English education and all the power struggles of being a child.

NICKNAME AT SCHOOL: Joyful Johnson, I was such a happy child.

PREVIOUS JOBS: Pizza chef, labourer and a little bit of theatre.

PREVIOUS BANDS: I was in Big In Japan between ‘77 and ‘78. Then I went solo, releasing a couple of singles. Then I joined the Dancing Girls who turned into the Sons Of Egypt who were then whittled down into Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

WHATS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL? Success. Ill go to the end of the earth to be a success. If you reach for the stars you can always land on the moon.

WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU TRIED DRESSING UP? I was a choirboy. But only because I used to love dressing up in cassocks. It was fab. I used to go on choir outings and you used to get sixpence a show. You did! It was like being in the theatre. Later on, I got into Judy Garland. That was fab. A great big D.A. (hair-do) with a huge peak and I used to wear Forties jackets with big shoulders. It didnt last though; I was only about 14 then. I used to walk around singing ‘Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody.

WHAT OTHER POP GROUPS DO YOU LIKE? I dont like any pop groups. I dont class what we do in the same category.

DO YOU WATCH BROOKSIDE? Some friends of mine are in Brookside. I know some of the kids and Petra who was kicked out is a friend of mine. I think its getting better all the time.

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? The thought of my mother and father having a bad time. Thats worth crying for.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PEOPLE CALLING YOU OUTRAGEOUS AND SHOCKING? People shouldnt take all this too seriously.

It should make people laugh — the folk it outrages are the ones we are laughing at.

WHAT WAS “RAGE HARD” ALL ABOUT? Have you read the poem ‘Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas? It was kind of inspired by that. Its an incantation against death and lethargy, and its supposed to encourage lots of creative idealism in the listener.

DO YOU LIKE HAVING LOADS OF MONEY? I used to say when I hadnt any money that I wasnt into material things, and I did things like throw the television out of the window. As soon as I experienced money though, and I could buy some of the things I liked, I started to enjoy that. And, whatever people think, Im not a millionaire or a half-millionaire or even a quarter-millionaire. Im not stinking rich because Im not the greatest businessman on earth.

HAVE YOU DONE ANY PAINTINGS RECENTLY? Some flowers, the head of a statue, a blue man, and a woman with her head coming out of the waves.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Id like to be Jean Cocteau. I always want to be doing something creative, to do with conjuring something from nothing.

DO YOU MIND HAVING TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS? People who ask for autographs can be a bit horrible because theyre not always your fans. Some idiot in Liverpool the other day said ‘Arent you in Frankie Goes To Babylon? and in Holland I was mistaken for the lead singer of the Pet Shop Boys. I laughed me head off!

HAVE YOU GOT ANY NICE CROCKERY? I got a nice hand-painted tea set. Its lovely — its got cornflowers and poppies on it. I use it all the time.

DO YOU EVER HAVE THE OTHER MEMBERS OF FRANKIE ROUND FOR TEA? I havent asked the lads round for tea because I dont think theyd come. Thats not their idea of a good time. Theyd break the place! Well, they wouldnt, but I think theyd get pretty bored if I didnt have any blue movies.

DO YOU SOCIALISE WITH THE OTHER LADS IN FRANKIE? We only meet up for work. I think its disgusting to stick together the whole time. Each of us has his own private life.

FAVOURITE TOY: My yellow and black leather torch. Ive also got an Action Man which I like and a Superman pop-up book. Id love a black Porsche.

FAVOURITE ITEM OF CLOTHING: Brogue shoes and I mustnt forget my pair of red roller-derby shorts which I bought in the States.

BEST THING ABOUT LIVERPOOL: The people. The place is just full of really strong characters.



PETS: No. I did have a Venus fly trap but that died.