ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Frankie go bang!

Theyre back, theyre bored with pop music, and they want to go mad again. Paul Simper found out what Frankie have been doing and what theyre going to do.



We didnt deliberately take such a long break you know. We could have worked for five years on this mythological second album, but in the end you realise you have to go with what youve got.

“With us there was that incredible piece of luck and then we worked on that incredible piece of luck. Then you become elevated in peoples eyes and it gets harder.”


“While weve been away I havent been worried about promotion and all that. Ive just tried to get into writing as much as possible because at the end of the day thats the important thing, I feel. I really have to sit myself down and do it. Otherwise Ill drift off into telly watching or shopping. Its no good waiting for the muse to kiss me.

“Ive tried to improve my writing, but basically youre stuck with what you can do. Often the raw ideas like ‘Relax and ‘Rage Hard — are the best. ‘Rage Hard just happened. There was little conscious effort.”


“Coming back doing interviews is weird. Its like an actor who takes a year off and just goes home, settles down, does some gardening, wakes up in the morning, worries about what to have for breakfast, then suddenly youre plonked back in the middle of it all.

“Im a bit of an absurdist so I find the interview situation very weird. Its the only time someone constantly asks you your opinions and its much easier not to think about it. Just switch to autodrive, which I hate doing.”


“Over the last year Ive worked on a book of poetry, which Im trying to illustrate at the moment. Thats something Ive always wanted to do. Even if it never appears its something I can always work on. It relaxes.

“Ive got this kind of old fashioned desire to create things.

“The poetrys a bit more intense than the lyrics. Its the things I cant say in songs. Some of its more introverted, that very personal crap that poets tend to write, but somes not.

“You cant usually be that indulgent with songs — although I have tried!

“Ive tried to be more quirky. Pre-Frankie I was going up me arse a bit, being a bit arty, so I restricted myself. Being more direct worked, but I dont want to do that forever.

“I do sometimes write songs that dont seem right for Frankie so they get filed away. But dont worry — anything good will be used. Im not that gifted that I can afford to throw away any good stuff.


“I dont think any of us has changed much over this last year, except Ive got a bit more defensive while the others are more confident. I tend to take criticism quite personally and I got my fingers burnt a few times last time round.”


“Thats whats happened while weve been away, isnt it? Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel put out a couple of nice albums — which I enjoyed far a couple of weeks.

“And there was Sigue Sigue Sputnik… yes…

“Actually, Im glad it was quiet while weve been away. There not being much competition is fine by me. Who wants competition?”



“The best fun last year was goin on holiday with me fiancee Laura. Shes Spanish/American but shed never been to Spain so I took her to ‘Tenner Reef. She was made up, having conversations with everybody while I stood there not understanding a word.

“We went to Florida the other week to see her mum. Everyone kept looking at me on the beach ‘cos they wear those shorts below the knees and there was me in me Nikes.

“I met Laura after one of our concerts. A mate of hers got free tickets for the show and brought her along. When we met she thought I was the sandwich boy.”


“Neither of us can cook really. I can do bacon and eggs and that, and Laura can do a bit of Spanish-style stuff — all that stuff that makes you sh*t a lot.

“We usually get cable TV nosh. These people come to the door with your food — Indian, Chinese or whatever — and say ‘do you want nosh?”


“It was me who asked Laura to marry me. I didnt do it very well, actually, but we had a good laff when we got the engagement ring in Amsterdam. We thought itd be one of those nice days, and it pissed with rain.

“We got it and went for a pizza afterwards. We just have a good laff together, which is great.”


“Right now I live in St. Johns Wood in London, but Im in the process of getting somewhere in Hampstead. It wont be a happy-home love nest though. I think Laura would leave me if I got like that. Shes a bit of a maddy as well.”


“After eight months of quiet the fans have started coming back again now. I cant say I missed all that though. It was good being able to walk out in the morning looking crap in yer slippers, going to get the milk and paper.

“Im not worried about the criticism this time. I think anyone who takes criticism personally is a bit too serious about themselves. No one should feel that important.

“You get to be wary of being stitched up though. The Sun did that to us before and you get sick of that. It doesnt really feel like a ‘comeback like everyone keeps saying. Its just weve recorded a new single, here it is…”



“Thats all Im really interested in. Thats all thats interested me while weve been away. I bought a beach buggy from some shitty gaff near Putney, which is a good laff on a sunny day. You can make the front wheels come off the ground. Add that to the Ferrari and the Ford Capri.”


“I am buying one at the moment ‘cos I want a garage. Im no tidier though now the lads live separate. I cant keep anything clean.

“My flat is shit everywhere with a phone in the middle and a ‘Scalectric in the backroom.

Im determined to keep the new place tidier. I should be able to. Theres more room. You con throw yer undies further.”


“I was dead made up when we got back after being abroad for a long time. But after a couple of months you want to go away again. I go back to Liverpool every two weeks or so and go out with me mates. I aon do that ‘cos I havent got a girlfriend now.

“If someone said it would be more beneficial for us to go away again for a year I wouldnt do it this time. But Im sure theyd try and change your mind.


“I couldnt spend a lot of time in New York like Paul does. I find you get too much out of the game. After two months youre knackered. Id just end up being a sucker to it and be gone. Its a bit scary cos everytime weve been there weve been wasted every night.

“I dont really like America. LA is alright, but its a bit posey. Im not into hanging out with Rod Stewart and all that. I dont like all those parties standing next to someone to get your picture taken.”


“We were just talkin about that, and I think we will. Weve been talkin a bit nice to everyone. Its about time we had a laff like. A bit of mischief. Its only harmless stuff. Nothing really heavy…



“Bein back, standing in front of cameras. But youve got to do them. Its part of the job.

“It was dead exciting doing all this last time: thinking that your face was going to be on a magazine. But this time its a bit strange, especially as weve pre-empted it all by starting before weve had a hit.”


“we have been working hard, you know — going through the pain barrier a bit — but even now weve nearly finished the album it just seems to be going on and on. You start becoming so close to it you dont know anymore whether its good or bad. Dead paranoid.”


“I saw an interview with the Human League and the girls were saying that after the success of ‘Dare it was horrible. You had all those material possessions youd got because of it, and youre thinking ‘God, if the next albums not a hit all thisll go.

“Maybe if it doesnt happen this time well have to sell our flats. I dunno. Its the career weve chosen, thats the chance you take.”


“Im not into playing on other peoples albums. Id be a bit embarrassed if I was asked. Its all bullshit really. No criticism, but as a point of reference that Arcadia album… getting Sting and Grace Jones to sing. Its a bit incestuous. Its all got too matey since Live Aid.

“What Id like is other guitarists to play on our album. Steve Howe played guitar on ‘Pleasuredome, which was good — except when you came to working out his guitar parts yourself!”


“I cant believe how many naff records there are now. Like that ‘So Macho and Janet Jackson. Three minutes of orchestral stabs. (He means ‘Nasty.) How can anyone call that a song? Its just technical bullshit in a studio, with her singing some garbage over the tip. I cant bear it.”


“I hope cos everything else sounds lame we dont. Obviously everythings going to be compared to ‘Relax and ‘Two Tribes, but it would have been a mistake for us to try and copy them.

“We wanted to make the new album heavier, but when we went in the engineer said, ‘its a bit Spinal Tap isnt it? It was us trying to do heavy metal, and it just didnt work.”


“Its been a pain in the arse making one for ‘Rage Hard.

Since weve been away everyones put cowbells and percussion shite on their 12 inches, so weve tried to get away from that.

“Still, I spose we killed it with 15 versions out of two singles, so we cant complain.”

Pictures by Mike Prior