We’re all hippies at heart
Surely not! Paul Rutherford and Mark O’Toole spill the beans about Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s new album “Liverpool”.
“Warriors Of The Wasteland”
Paul: This is our next single… it was going to be the title track of the album. It was meant to be the ‘big comeback’. It was the first one written and everyone said, ‘It’s brilliant! It’s going to be mega!’ But we got really bored with it in the studio, and then we decided it was the worst track on the album.
Mark: We nearly kicked this one out. It sounded so like Spinal Tap (spoof heavy-metal film) that when we wrote it we thought ‘stuff this! We’re not doing this!’ But then we got a different groove, so to speak, for the song. What’s it about? Well, I can’t really go into it because I might upset Holly. They’re his lyrics. I think the lyrics are good and it doesn’t really bother me that I don’t know what they’re about.
Paul: It stiffed at four in the charts! Boris Gardiner was at number one! BORIS GARDINER!! That was really hurtful, but it was bound to happen. Until ‘Rage Hard’ we hadn’t even had a near miss. We had three number ones and a number two—
Mark: I originally got the idea for this from a Led Zeppelin song. If you know Led Zeppelin (an ancient hippie group) you’ll know where it’s been ripped off from. Led Zeppelin are brilliant. Well, it’s a bit trendy to say they’re brilliant. They’re alright.
But when I listen to any Frankie single next to anyone else’s, ours always seems a mile apart. I couldn’t really imagine anyone else getting away with bringing out a single like ‘Rage Hard’. If Duran Duran brought ‘Rage Hard’ out people would probably say, ‘What do they think they’re doing?’
Paul: When we did ‘Rage Hard’ on Top Of The Pops we just didn’t know what to do, but we thought ‘We’ve got to do something mad, because this show is just so boring.’” (They wore shorts, stockings on their heads and had money stuffed into their clothes which they threw out to the audience.) We just decided to do it that afternoon. The toy money was from the props department at the BBC. We decided to become Robin Hoods for the day, giving money back to the people. That’s what it was all about. It was also really sinister. We kept thinking about these kids, crying their eyes out, seeing these horrible fellas singing to them with stockings on their heads.
“Kill The Pain”
Paul: This was going to be called ‘All Climb Up To Heaven’, but we thought that was a bit too nicey nicey. I mean, heaven’s okay if you can get there, but it still seemed a bit wet.
This is the one I get least excited about. I don’t know why because I do like it. The lyrics are brilliant. They’re very romantic. There are lots of mentions of Heaven and God on the whole album. The lyrics are very baroque. Maybe Holly was going through something when he wrote them. Maybe he’s going spiritual. I know they’re better than (starts singing) ‘I want to wake up with you-oo.’
I couldn’t ever be bothered writing lyrics myself. If Holly ever came up and he’d written ‘Hey Baby, Hey Pretty Lady,’ we’d tell him where to go. But he wouldn’t do it, he’s not that sort of bloke. And he trusts us not to make a bland disco song.
There wasn’t any great influence behind this—
Paul: It used to have a lot of guitars in it… and now there’s none. I kind of miss them a bit. The demo we did of this was just the best!—
Mark: Yeah, there are a couple of lines in this that are quite poncified. I like the lyrics though because they sort of… roll. No, they’re not rude. It really does my head in when people ask ‘What’s this song about or what’s that song about?’
“Watching The Wildlife”
Mark: This is basically a story of someone going through their life doing the things they normally do—
Paul: I really hated this at one point, but now I really like it.
Mark: Sounds a bit drunk-orientated this, doesn’t it? Most of them are. We were totally drunk when we recorded all of them. And when we wrote them. Why? Well, if someone is buying champagne, we’ll drink it. I’m from Liverpool, for God’s sake!
It’s not that we don’t take all this seriously. We take it all totally seriously! But we just get pissed at the same time. Ha, ha! (?) Is there a place called Lunar Bay? Yeah. It’s where you go when you’re done in. Ha, ha!
Paul: I think this title is lifted from a film. What’s it called? That Nick Roeg film, Eureka. Lunar Bay is an imaginary place in the film, and that’s where it came from I think.
This song is most like the old Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Well, it’s most like ‘The Pleasuredome’ that’s what I should be saying. It’s mad. It’s just there. It just is.
“For Heaven’s Sake”
Mark: We were in the studio in Holland and we were really drunk. We were sitting there, me, Ped and Nash, just playing—
It’s quite obvious what it’s about, this song. If someone was on the dole and they listened to the lyrics they’d be quite refreshed in their outlook.
Paul: This is the best. Everyone in the band loves it. I play it all the time. It’s so good I’m shocked by it.
“Is There Anybody Out There?”
Mark: This was written in Ireland. I had a double bass I’d just bought so I said to Nash, ‘Come on, let’s write a song so I can use my bass.’ We just sat down, bevvied and did it in 10 minutes.
Paul: It’s a bit ham, but I like it. What’s it about? Well… the world’s in such a state, there’s so much crap happening, it’s got to get better. There’s got to be something beyond that. I’d love at some point to bow out of the 20th century. I like the good things like modern technology—
I sometimes feel I’d like to get away from it all and go and live on a farm somewhere. I’m sure it would be lousy—
The cover design
Mark: I like the front, but the back looks a bit tacky. It’s funny, I looked at it this morning—
These credits… there’s a really good one in here if I can find it. ‘Pete Dick in the parmesan duck.’ Pete, he’s a mate of mine and Ped’s. We were in Pizzaland in Liverpool and we said to him, ‘I bet you a fiver you won’t stand up and stick your willy in the parmesan cheese.’ He did. So we thought we’d give him a credit on the album for a laugh.”
Paul: I don’t think the cover is as brilliant as it should be. I loved the last one. The title? It just made sense. We all came from Liverpool, even if we don’t live there now. I suppose it’s just being a proud Liverpudlian. And, in a way, it’s also saying ‘Thank You’.
Interview: Lola Borg