Hooray for Hollywood
Are Frankie Goes To Hollywood the most outrageous new group since the Sex Pistol… or simply the new Village People? Sunie asks Holly Johnson the questions, John Stoddart takes the picture.
Holly Johnson fronts a band called Frankie Goes To Hollywood who seem determined to shock.
Dressed to kill in shiny black leather, Holly and his band buddy Paul come on in their pictures like a macho couple straight out of an Amsterdam gay bar.
They stage their interviews In London’s notorious Coleherne pub—
And now their first single ‘Relax’, produced by Trevor Horn, is nibbling the bottom of the charts with its blatantly sexual disco rhythms and unprintable lyrics. Something tells me Holly is looking for attention…
Are Frankie Goes To Hollywood this year’s Village People?
Oooh, fierce! No, we’re not. They were hand-picked models, a total product of the producer. We’re not Trevor Horn’s puppets, though certain people would like to think so.
You’ve got this very naughty image. But aren’t you just selling your gay sexuality like a girl group who pose for pictures half naked?
Yes, to a degree. We have on occasion been goaded by a photographer into… They want sexual innuendo so much, you end up giving it to them so you can go home.
But it’s not like page three stuff. I mean, Paul’s stunning looking, but I’m not.
Will you have to tone yourselves down to gain mass acceptance, Holly?
Not really, because we’re just normal people having fun. I mean, we’re not particularly weirdos or anything. We’re just scallies from Liverpool.
What else do you write songs about, besides sex?
I’ve got a great song called ‘Boyfriend 65', which is a sort of, ‘60s pastiche. There’s ‘Two Tribes’, which is Russia! America, but it’s about personal relationships as well.
I wrote a love song once called ‘Treasure Island’, about running away to one.
How important is the musical side of what you do, as opposed to fame, stardom, making videos and all that?
No two ways about it, the music it it. It’s just that I know you have to market yourself, or nobody’s interested.
I’ve had no success doing things any other way, in ten years of writing songs.
Why is the group called…
The answer to this is listen to the ‘B’ side of the single, it explains everything.
What sort of little boy were you?
A little boy with a patch over one eye, who sang and danced along the street. I had what’s called a lazy eye, so I had to wear the patch.
You tend to be a prodded kind of kid when you look like that, but it makes you much stronger in the end.
What place do women have in your life?
I get on with women particularly well, always have done. They’re really strong—
I’m not averse to women!
Who are the three most fanciable people you can think of?
Franco Nero (Italian actor), Brad Davies (star of Midnight Express)—
What do you think of Boy George and Marilyn?
Aren’t they gorgeous looking! I wish I was that pretty!
Culture Club write the best-crafted pop tunes around, they perk you up, don’t they?
I saw George’s face on the cover of Ritz, looking just absolutely… and winking at me.
I went, “Alright there, George lad! How does it feel?’