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Were all hippies at heart

Surely not! Paul Rutherford and Mark OToole spill the beans about Frankie Goes To Hollywoods new album “Liverpool”.

“Warriors Of The Wasteland”

Paul: This is our next single… it was going to be the title track of the album. It was meant to be the ‘big comeback. It was the first one written and everyone said, ‘Its brilliant! Its going to be mega! But we got really bored with it in the studio, and then we decided it was the worst track on the album.

Mark: We nearly kicked this one out. It sounded so like Spinal Tap (spoof heavy-metal film) that when we wrote it we thought ‘stuff this! Were not doing this! But then we got a different groove, so to speak, for the song. Whats it about? Well, I cant really go into it because I might upset Holly. Theyre his lyrics. I think the lyrics are good and it doesnt really bother me that I dont know what theyre about.

“Rage Hard”

Paul: It stiffed at four in the charts! Boris Gardiner was at number one! BORIS GARDINER!! That was really hurtful, but it was bound to happen. Until ‘Rage Hard we hadnt even had a near miss. We had three number ones and a number two — you cant complain about that. But I think we should always be number one. Were better than anything in the charts. Were even better than Wicksy!

Mark: I originally got the idea for this from a Led Zeppelin song. If you know Led Zeppelin (an ancient hippie group) youll know where its been ripped off from. Led Zeppelin are brilliant. Well, its a bit trendy to say theyre brilliant. Theyre alright.

But when I listen to any Frankie single next to anyone elses, ours always seems a mile apart. I couldnt really imagine anyone else getting away with bringing out a single like ‘Rage Hard. If Duran Duran brought ‘Rage Hard out people would probably say, ‘What do they think theyre doing?

Paul: When we did ‘Rage Hard on Top Of The Pops we just didnt know what to do, but we thought ‘Weve got to do something mad, because this show is just so boring.(They wore shorts, stockings on their heads and had money stuffed into their clothes which they threw out to the audience.) We just decided to do it that afternoon. The toy money was from the props department at the BBC. We decided to become Robin Hoods for the day, giving money back to the people. Thats what it was all about. It was also really sinister. We kept thinking about these kids, crying their eyes out, seeing these horrible fellas singing to them with stockings on their heads.

I bet they were horrified! We thought it would be so funny! We didnt tell anyone and they nearly died when we came on. All those people at Top Of The Pops were like… (he adopts a horrified expression).

“Kill The Pain”

Paul: This was going to be called ‘All Climb Up To Heaven, but we thought that was a bit too nicey nicey. I mean, heavens okay if you can get there, but it still seemed a bit wet.

This is the one I get least excited about. I dont know why because I do like it. The lyrics are brilliant. Theyre very romantic. There are lots of mentions of Heaven and God on the whole album. The lyrics are very baroque. Maybe Holly was going through something when he wrote them. Maybe hes going spiritual. I know theyre better than (starts singing) ‘I want to wake up with you-oo.

I couldnt ever be bothered writing lyrics myself. If Holly ever came up and hed written ‘Hey Baby, Hey Pretty Lady, wed tell him where to go. But he wouldnt do it, hes not that sort of bloke. And he trusts us not to make a bland disco song.

There wasnt any great influence behind this — it was just a series of chords that sounded nice. We wrote it in Jersey — we got so bored in Ireland we went there. We hired a hotel in Jersey. We set up our equipment where they used to have the hotel disco and there was a public bar there, so people used to get half-pissed and come and stand by the window and watch us write songs. Wed be going ‘Go on clear off! and theyd be standing there going ‘Oooharrrr!

“Maximum Joy”

Paul: It used to have a lot of guitars in it… and now theres none. I kind of miss them a bit. The demo we did of this was just the best! — it was completely off its bonce. But I like this version. Every time I hear it I think of Lionel Richie and “All Night Long” — I dont know why.

Mark: Yeah, there are a couple of lines in this that are quite poncified. I like the lyrics though because they sort of… roll. No, theyre not rude. It really does my head in when people ask ‘Whats this song about or whats that song about?

“Watching The Wildlife”

Mark: This is basically a story of someone going through their life doing the things they normally do — like the girls putting out the washing and stuff like that. Seeing the same faces on the bus every day. Everybody goes through that sort of thing, dont they? Well… alright, I dont see everyone on the bus everyday. I dont think I know how much it costs to get the bus now. 10p? I miss getting the buses though.

Paul: I really hated this at one point, but now I really like it.

“Lunar Bay”

Mark: Sounds a bit drunk-orientated this, doesnt it? Most of them are. We were totally drunk when we recorded all of them. And when we wrote them. Why? Well, if someone is buying champagne, well drink it. Im from Liverpool, for Gods sake!

Its not that we dont take all this seriously. We take it all totally seriously! But we just get pissed at the same time. Ha, ha! (?) Is there a place called Lunar Bay? Yeah. Its where you go when youre done in. Ha, ha!

Paul: I think this title is lifted from a film. Whats it called? That Nick Roeg film, Eureka. Lunar Bay is an imaginary place in the film, and thats where it came from I think.

This song is most like the old Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Well, its most like ‘The Pleasuredome thats what I should be saying. Its mad. Its just there. It just is.

“For Heavens Sake”

Mark: We were in the studio in Holland and we were really drunk. We were sitting there, me, Ped and Nash, just playing — ‘jamming, I think its called in the business. Steve Lipson (the producer) had switched the tape recorder on, and he taped all of it.

The next day we sobered up and listened to it. It was good.

Its quite obvious what its about, this song. If someone was on the dole and they listened to the lyrics theyd be quite refreshed in their outlook.

Paul: This is the best. Everyone in the band loves it. I play it all the time. Its so good Im shocked by it.

“Is There Anybody Out There?”

Mark: This was written in Ireland. I had a double bass Id just bought so I said to Nash, ‘Come on, lets write a song so I can use my bass. We just sat down, bevvied and did it in 10 minutes.

Paul: Its a bit ham, but I like it. Whats it about? Well… the worlds in such a state, theres so much crap happening, its got to get better. Theres got to be something beyond that. Id love at some point to bow out of the 20th century. I like the good things like modern technology — but there are all these really negative things like Star Wars, which is completely out of control.

I sometimes feel Id like to get away from it all and go and live on a farm somewhere. Im sure it would be lousy — youd get cheesed off with the pigs and the cows. Its really idealistic, but thats the way I feel. No matter how ‘hippie it sounds. Were all hippies at heart.

The cover design

Mark: I like the front, but the back looks a bit tacky. Its funny, I looked at it this morning — I was sitting there and I went through all my other album sleeves thinking ‘This looks like an album sleeve why doesnt ours?. I cant say why it looks like a 12" single sleeve, but it does, doesnt it?

These credits… theres a really good one in here if I can find it. ‘Pete Dick in the parmesan duck. Pete, hes a mate of mine and Peds. We were in Pizzaland in Liverpool and we said to him, ‘I bet you a fiver you wont stand up and stick your willy in the parmesan cheese. He did. So we thought wed give him a credit on the album for a laugh.”

Paul: I dont think the cover is as brilliant as it should be. I loved the last one. The title? It just made sense. We all came from Liverpool, even if we dont live there now. I suppose its just being a proud Liverpudlian. And, in a way, its also saying ‘Thank You.

Interview: Lola Borg