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First NZ solo show for star

DIANA WORTHY
Last updated 08:59 05/06/2014
Frankie
Diana Worthy
TIME OUT: Former Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer and dancer, Paul Rutherford, relaxes with dog Lucy at Oneroa beach reserve.

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Former Frankie Goes to Hollywood member Paul Rutherford is marking the 30th anniversary of the band's controversial hit Relax with gigs and the writing of new solo material.

The UK music industry is also gearing up to celebrate the band's 80s successes, with lead singer Holly Johnson embarking on a British tour in October.

"There's a number of things going on," Rutherford says.

Relax rocketed to the top of the UK charts in 1984 after being banned by the BBC for what it saw as homo-erotic content.

Further chart-topping success with Two Tribes and The Power of Love brought world tours and heady days but the band split in 1987, right after playing to 65,000 people at Wembley Arena.

Oneroa resident Rutherford remembers the time with affection but has preferred to keep a low profile since arriving on the island with partner Perry Newton eight years ago.

But on Monday he gave a first solo New Zealand performance to a packed crowd at The Oyster Inn.

He kept residents and visitors enthralled at the PA gig, with live songs performed over three programmed electronic tracks he wrote with Simply Red keyboard player David Clayton.

"Dave Clayton is a super musician, a great dude and one of my best friends," he says.

"I'm godfather to his first son. And I'm really comfortable writing with him. The last track, Oh, World, is a remix of an earlier release.

"The Cowboy Years was released a few years ago but I've not released anything since. Dave and I are writing but not ready yet."

Rutherford says he and Newton, who used to manage top London club Heaven, visit the UK at least once a year to catch up with London music industry mates and family in Liverpool.

He'll be heading there this August to record a new track and is also hoping to play on party club island Ibiza.

He's unlikely to see Frankie Goes to Hollywood lead vocalist Holly Johnson though.

The band split because Johnson grew apart from the other members, Rutherford says, and little has changed since.

"I don't really see Holly. I'd like to see him but I'm not too bothered. I've still got fantastic memories that will always be part of our lives."

Rutherford will be back on the decks at The Oyster Inn on June 26.

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