How success has saved Holly Johnson
SUCCESS has saved Holly Johnson. In just one year he has moved from the bleak prospect of a Liverpool social security office to wearing top designer clothes and lunching in top London restaurants.
It is thirteen months since Relax seduced its way to the top of the pops and Frankie Goes To Hollywood became overnight superstars.
Holly says cheerfully: “I know it’s a bit melodramatic, but we were on a downward trail of death and destruction.
“If Frankie hadn’t taken off, I and the other members of the band could easily have been dragged into the sewer. We were teetering on the edge.”
When Relax was first released Holly was living the song’s philosophy to the hilt. He was totally promiscuous and proud of it.
“I am searching for the ultimate erotic experience,” he said just before Christmas, 1983. The life of a heterosexual is a dull and boring one. I’m open to all offers.”
Today, behind his tortoiseshell glasses he just smiles at the memory and says: “I’ve had to become a lot more stable in my personal relations.
“Then I was exploring the seedier side of life trying anything and everything. But being in a band on the wave of a giant success I knew it was very dangerous.
“I suppose success saved us all. It threw us into a maelstrom. We have to survive.”
A friend gave Holly a portable filing cabinet last April. He laughs as he recalls the cabinet’s little tags marked Bank, Insurance and Mortgage. That was when, aged 24, he decided to grow up.
“Now my lifestyle is very different, almost traditional. I go to bed before one in the morning and get up early. There are NO drugs around.
“I only go out to nlghtclubs occasionally… I like to celebrate my birthday.”
Back in the days before Relax, Holly was afraid of nothing.
“AIDS doesn’t frighten me,” he said. “It is an overrated danger.”
Things have changed now and Holly has the courage to admit it.
“AIDS ss frightening because it will spread. We are all at risk.
“It has certainly helped to calm down my excesses. Last summer I saw a friend of mine die of AIDS. It freaked me out totally.
“It was enough to make me cry —
Although Holly is open and honest about the knife edge he walked he clams up tight about his home life. He has a friend Wolfgang, who travels with the Frankies group.
“I don’t like to talk about it, but I do have an anchor in my life now. A partner who is a bit older than me and a lot more sensible.”
Frankie Goes To Hollywood know that they still have a lot to prove. They still have to get an Amercian hit.
“Just imagine if we had arrived in America to a Beatles type welcome,” says Holly.
“We would have become hideously arrogant. You’d be talking to an absolute monster.”
Holly Johnson has conquered that. Fame and fortune suit him.Continue »