Title: Frankie go bang!
Author: Paul Simper
FRANKIE GO BANG!
They’re back, they’re bored with pop music, and they want to go mad again. Paul Simper found out what Frankie have been doing and what they’re going to do.
Pictures by Mike Prior
THIS MYTHOLOGICAL SECOND ALBUM
We didn’t 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 you’ve 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 people’s eyes and it gets harder.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
“While we’ve been away I haven’t been worried about promotion and all that. I’ve just tried to get into writing as much as possible because at the end of the day that’s the important thing, I feel. I really have to sit myself down and do it. Otherwise I’ll drift off into telly watching or shopping. It’s no good waiting for the muse to kiss me.
“I’ve tried to improve my writing, but basically you’re 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.”
A SPOT OF GARDENING
“Coming back doing interviews is weird. It’s 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 you’re plonked back in the middle of it all.
“I’m a bit of an absurdist so I find the interview situation very weird. It’s the only time someone constantly asks you your opinions and it’s much easier not to think about it. Just switch to autodrive, which I hate doing.”
ARTY UP ME ARSE
“Over the last year I’ve worked on a book of poetry, which I’m trying to illustrate at the moment. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Even if it never appears it’s something I can always work on. It relaxes.
“I’ve got this kind of old fashioned desire to create things.
“The poetry’s a bit more intense than the lyrics. It’s the things I can’t say in songs. Some of it’s more introverted, that very personal crap that poets tend to write, but some’s not.
“You can’t usually be that indulgent with songs - although I have tried!
“I’ve 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 don’t want to do that forever.
“I do sometimes write songs that don’t seem right for Frankie so they get filed away. But don’t worry - anything good will be used. I’m not that gifted that I can afford to throw away any good stuff.
ON THE DEFENSIVE!
“I don’t think any of us has changed much over this last year, except I’ve 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.”
A COUPLE OF NICE ALBUMS
“That’s what’s happened while we’ve been away, isn’t 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, I’m glad it was quiet while we’ve been away. There not being much competition is fine by me. Who wants competition?”
FLASHIN’ ME NINE KEKS
“The best fun last year was goin’ on holiday with me fiancee Laura. She’s Spanish/American but she’d never been to Spain so I took her to ‘Tenner Reef’. She was mode 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?”
AN ENGAGEMENT PIZZA
“It was me who asked Laura to marry me. I didn’t do it very well, actually, but we had a good laff when we got the engagement ring in Amsterdam. We thought it’d 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.”
THE LOVE GAFF
“Right now I live in St. John’s Wood in London, but I’m in the process of getting somewhere in Hampstead. It won’t be a happy-home love nest though. I think Laura would leave me if I got like that. She’s a bit of a maddy as well.”
“After eight months of quiet the fans have started coming back again now. I can’t 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.
“I’m 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 doesn’t really feel like a ‘comeback’ like everyone keeps saying. It’s just we’ve recorded a new single, here it is…”
MUSIC AND CARS. THAT’S IT.
“That’s all I’m really interested in. That’s all that’s interested me while we’ve 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.”
THE NEW GAFF
“I am buying one at the moment ‘cos I want a garage. I’m no tidier though now the lads live separate. I can’t keep anything clean.
“My flat is shit everywhere with a phone in the middle and a ‘Scalectric’ in the backroom. I’m determined to keep the new place tidier. I should be able to. There’s 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 haven’t got a girlfriend now.
“If someone said it would be more beneficial for us to go away again for a year I wouldn’t do it this time. But I’m sure they’d try and change your mind.
OUT OF THE GAME
“I couldn’t spend a lot of time in New York like Paul does. I find you get too much out of the game. After two months you’re knackered. I’d just end up being a sucker to it and be gone. It’s a bit scary’ cos everytime we’ve been there we’ve been wasted every night.
“I don’t really like America. LA is alright, but it’s a bit posey. I’m not into hanging out with Rod Stewart and all that. I don’t like all those parties standing next to someone to get your picture taken.”
GOIN’ MAD AGAIN
“We were just talkin’ about that, and I think we will. We’ve been talkin’ a bit nice to everyone. It’s about time we had a laff like. A bit of mischief. It’s only harmless stuff. Nothing really heavy…
IT’S A BIT OF A PAIN IN THE ARSE, LIKE…
“Bein’ back, standing in front of cameras. But you’ve got to do them. It’s 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 it’s a bit strange, especially as we’ve pre-empted it all by starting before we’ve had a hit.”
GOIN’ THROUGH THE PAIN BARRIER
“we have been working hard, you know – going through the pain barrier a bit – but even now we’ve nearly finished the album it just seems to be going on and on. You start becoming so close to it you don’t know anymore whether it’s good or bad. Dead paranoid.”
BANG! GOES THE FLAT
“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 you’d got because of it, and you’re thinking ‘God, if the next album’s not a hit all this’ll go’.
“Maybe if it doesn’t happen this time we’ll have to sell our flats. I dunno. It’s the career we’ve chosen, that’s the chance you take.”
“I’m not into playing on other people’s albums. I’d be a bit embarrassed if I was asked. It’s all bullshit really. No criticism, but as a point of reference that Arcadia album… getting Sting and Grace Jones to sing. It’s a bit incestuous. It’s all got too matey since Live Aid.
“What I’d 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 can’t 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? It’s just technical bullshit in a studio, with her singing some garbage over the tip. I can’t bear it.”
“I hope cos everything else sounds lame we don’t. Obviously everything’s 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, ‘it’s a bit Spinal Tap isn’t it?’ It was us trying to do heavy metal, and it just didn’t work.”
12 INCHES ARE DEAD
“It’s been a pain in the arse making one for ‘Rage Hard’. Since we’ve been away everyone’s put cowbells and percussion shite on their 12 inches, so we’ve tried to get away from that.
“Still, I s’pose we killed it with 15 versions out of two singles, so we can’t complain.”