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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Larks In the Parks

In 1982 Frankie Goes to Hollywood line-up was quite unstable. Holly Jonson and Peter Gill (a.k.a. Ped, drums) had just left the Sons of Egypt and teamed up with Mark O’Toole (bass) to form a new band, FGTH, using the name of Johnson’s former band (with Steve Lovell, guitar, and Ambrose Reynolds, bass).

At this point they started looking for a guitarist. Johnson recalls:

‘We tried out a few guitarists from the echelons of Mark [O’Toole]’s family. There were two brothers who could both play, Vinny and Ged, the latter becoming the guitarist for the first performances, though neither was a very important part of the sound which was dominated by the rhythm section. Ped and I had tried to get the guitarist from the Jazz [a.k.a. Jass] Babies to join, but without success.’

After having tried for a short period of time a female singer, Sonia M, Johnson finally replaced her with Paul Rutherford (former Spitfire Boys, English Opium Eaters). This line-up would eventually perform at the Larks in the Parks festival, in Sefton Park.

These are Holly Johnson’s memories about the event:

‘Soon the Larks in the Parks, an annual open-air event for the local bands, came up. We made sure we got a place on the bill, and planned our appearance down to the last detail. We should have a delayed start when we would play car crash sounds from the Mad Max soundtrack which Paul provided. I wore a pair of old leather chaps with G string, which meant that my arse was exposed at the back, and I got someone to paint one cheek pink and the other blue with oil pastel crayons. A black-and-white publicity photo by John Stoddard of this made it look as if my cheeks had been whipped with a riding crop.

Paul and I each dragged a Leather Pet on to the stage pulling at a chain attached to a dog-collar around their necks. The sisters from Kirkby (the Muscatelli sisters, Julie and Marie) posed as captive slaves for us. Slowly we chained them to the drum kit, then launched into ‘Two Tribes’. We had only about eight songs at the time, if that. We sometimes did an impromptu version of the Mickey Mouse Club song to lighten things up a bit.

‘I walked down the ramp on the lake during one of the first songs. When I turned to return to the stage there was an audible gasp from the audience, provoked by my exposed arse. Near the end of the set I asked the audience if we should release the Leather Pets. We did, and they came gyrating to the front of the stage. Dancing wasn’t their strong point we realised, so for subsequent shows we kept them tied up for as long as possible. People left the park bemused, but still talking about what they had seen.’

(Holly Johnson, A Bone in My Flute, 146-47)

Larks in the Park - Sefton Park, Liverpool - 29th July 1982

01 -Two tribes
02 - Welcome to the Pleasuredome
03 - Relax
04 - Disneyland
05 - The World is My Oyster

Click the link below to download the set list above:


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