Title: This is your life part 2: Paul Rutherford
Author: Max Bell and Paul Bursche
Source: No. 1
Publish date: Sept 28 1985
Style, grace and elegance. These are the qualities that go hand In hand with the name Paul Rutherford. Yet, as everyone knows, you can’t pick these gifts up overnight. So when we went back to Liverpool to visit Paul’s sister Monica and her family it was no surprise to discover he’s been exhibiting these qualities all his life. In the second part of our five part series, we present the life and times of Paul Rutherford.
Interviews: Max Bell and Paul Bursche. Pictures: Mike Prior and John Stoddart.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – This is your life part 2: Paul Rutherford
Full name: Paul Steven Rutherford
Born: 8th December 1959, Whiston Hospital, Liverpool
Family: Father John, Mother Sarah, died seven years ago. Brother Joe. Sister Maureen, Angela, Monica and Carol (his twin)
Education: St. Peter’s School, Hunts Cross, Liverpool. St. Andrew’s, Hunts Cross. St. Domonic’s, Huyton, Liverpool. St. Helens College Of Art and Design
Hobbies: Clothes and clothes design
Occupation: Vocalist with Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Carol and Paul Rutherford were born December 8, 1959, as twins. Their mother and father already had four children. The youngest, Monica, was 12 years older than the new arrivals.
Twins Paul and Carol may have been; lookalikes they most certainly were not. Carol was fair, Paul much, much darker.
“He looked like a little halfcaste, “laughs Monica.
Nevertheless the twins were (and still are) very close to one another with Carol being the bossier of the pair. Monica’s fondest memory of the two is from this stage in their lives.
“My mother was ill and my father was looking after the twins. He’d take them to a nursery and I had to go and collect them. I’d take them to the park.
“I was 12 years older and to me they were like little dolls — I’d keep on changing their clothes.”
Even from this early age Paul was displaying certain characteristics that were never to leave him… “He was always dancing,” says Monica. “Even at a really young age he’d just dance around the living room, a really young age he’d just dance around the living room, even if there wasn’t any music!”
Paul freely admits school was not a happy time for him.
“I was good at swimming, art and geography but I was very, very quiet. I got a lot of flak, got called poof and stuff like that. I hated it.”
“The teachers didn’t like Paul,” says Monica, “because he didn’t like football. He got on OK with his music teacher, though, because he was musical, more artistic. But that’s the way he was brought up.
“The twins were innocent and protected; their mum and dad were always with them. So they were a bit more sensible, had different views and were artistic.”
Meanwhile Paul was continuing his hobby: “He and Holly actually went to a dancing school,” remembers Monica. “But the teacher didn’t like them. They used to meet a couple of girls down there and do their own thing. So that was the end of that.”
Paul’s talents had been developing more successfully in other areas, though. From the age of 14 he had been making clothes. “He used to make them for Carol, friends of hers and his own friends,” says Monica. “And they were really good. You can tell he has something in him for that whole thing. I think it’s. something he could still do.”
Unfortunately, Paul was so busy making clothes for others that he didn’t always have enough for himself. He used to borrow clothes off Monica’s boyfriend (now husband), George.
“George was very fashionable,” says Monica. “Paul used to borrow his clothes, American Ben Sherman shirts and so on.”
“I’ve still got this great navy blue and orange one,” says Paul. “But they can borrow from me now…”
By the age of 16 Paul had emerged as something of a free spirit.
“It’s amazing,” says Monica. “He used to go into town with his mates all afternoon, come home and rush some food, and then get back into town again. He was never in properly, just always going back and forth!”
“It was odd,” says Paul. “I’d been the baby of the family and when my sisters got married I was the one who stayed closest to my father; yet I was the first to pack my bags.
“I went hitch hiking around the country with some of my friends when I was at school. Then I moved up and down from London a few times.
“I’m not one of those people who say Liverpool’s the greatest place ever. I had some good times there — I went to a great training ground called Eric’s (the club in the late 70s) — but I just don’t want to be rooted really.
“For me, home is where your friends are. I find it particularly hard to go home now. I’ve seen so much, we’ve been to so many places. I get bored -I prefer to go home when the lads are there, otherwise it’s a pressure.”
There was a time when Paul found going home even harder still: “I used to love The Slits and I found out they were supporting The Clash in Manchester 47 miles away. I went with a friend called Robbie — he was a huge guy, a punk, but really placid, a gentle giant — and we hitched.
“But after the concert we couldn’t get a lift back. I had a Seditionary suit on — all chains and zips — and Robbie was similarly dressed. It was no wonder, really. Anyway we just walked back the whole way AND IT WAS FREEZING! It was so dark I was sure we were going to be murdered, but it was alright.
“Now I can say I enjoyed it but we didn’t get back ‘til 7 in the morning and I was knackered.”
THE SPITFIRE BOY
Paul’s first band were The Spitfire Boys, who formed while he was at college. They included Budgie, now drummer in Siouxsie And The Banshees.
“After that came loads of bands,” says Paul, “but none of them amounted to much. One of them was called the English Opium Eaters. That was me, Holly and Jamie who’s now in Ellery Bop. Mick Jones of The Clash thought up the name.
“Then I was in London, doing nothing, when Hambi out of Hambi And The Dance asked me if I wanted to do backing vocals for them on their tour, so I said ‘yeah’. We went on tourto Coventry, Leeds and Liverpool and supporting us were Holly, Mark and Ped; the early Frankie. After a bit I joined up with them.”
TUBE TO GLORY
“The first time they were on the Tube,” says Monica, “I was in the bathroom and George was on the landing shouting ‘Your brother’s on the telly’. It was really weird seeing him then but I’m a bit more used to it now.
“Of the rest of the group I think I know Holly best. He’s had his dinner here a few times. Paul used to bring him and Pete Burns round a lot. I think Mark’s a very nice lad, very outgoing. Brian and Peter I hardly know at all.
“We really support Paul and what he’s done for himself. He used to get on the bus in ripped jeans and get stared at and the old ‘uns would even hit him with their umbrellas. And the boys his age would skit him because he wore tight trousers. But a couple of years later so were they. He was first!”
FAME AND FAMILIES
Now, when Paul’s niece, Jane, goes to a disco she usually has Frankie’s records played especially for her. The tape in Monica and George’s stereo is ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’. It’s hard to even begin to describe their pride.
“The best thing about Paul,” states Monica, “is that he’s happy and that affects the people around him. Sometimes he’s a real pest when he comes home and teases our kids but that’s his humour. He used to throw jelly at Carol.
“We’ve always agreed with Paul’s ways, with whatever he wanted to do. He’s proved himself right, and good luck to him. He says ‘enjoy yourself while you can’ and that’s exactly right.
“If everything with Frankie ended tomorrow Paul would be alright, he could cope. In the end he’s a good person. He’ll overcome anything that comes his way.”