ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

A lot of talk about kinky clothing, tigers, moon landings and strange happenings in the Court of Nero. What are these people on about? Peter Martin finds out.

Sex and leather seem to go hand in glove with the image of Liverpools latest ‘hot property, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Its no surprise to see the five lads clad only in skimpy plastic undies and little else.

“I know it totally detracts from the music,” explains lead singer Holly, “but theres loads of competition and youve got to hit hard. Anyway, were not doing anything Hot Gossip didnt do years ago.”

Like Gary Numan they “got the image from Mad Max 2, but we got it first. God, everybodys doin it now—I believe even Bucks Fizz are givin it much bondage lately!”

This extreme image is actively encouraged by their record company, Zang Tuum Tumb, co-owned by house producer Trevor Horn (of ABC fame). Formed exactly a year ago, they were signed up after a prestige appearance on The Tube. Then they were backed up by The Leatherpets—a couple of females in kinky garb who, with alarming regularity, were tied up onstage. Theyve since been replaced by a drag queen duo made up of Juicy Lucy and Mark Time.

“But you shouldnt take all this too seriously. It should make people laugh—the people it outrages are the ones were laughing at.”

In fact, the video for their debut single “Relax”—“a hard dancefloor number”—sounds pretty funny. In involves this “virginal character” Frankie, played by our hero Holly, who takes up the story. “I get lured into this Court Of Nero by this bit fat man we got from the Ugly Agency (a place where you can hire ‘unusual looking people—great for weddings, church fetes and office parties, ring 01-67… sorry) and theres all these characters in leather and bondage and Frankies in a suit and he wont salute him. So Nero gets really freaked out and feeds him to the tiger—daughter of the Esso one—which gets dropped on me over and over again and it really did me ‘ead in. Anyway I befriend it in the end. Thats Frankie. Thats the story of the vid.”

So what does Holly hope to get from all this grand image building?

“Success. Look, Ill got to the end of the earth to be a success. It took Culture Club three or four goes before they had a hit. If we dont do it with ‘Relax well do it with the next one ‘Two Tribes or the one after that, ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome. Im just dead into having a good time and we want a hit so we can have a better pa-aarty. If you reach for the stars you can always land on the moon.”