Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Limahl, Kajagoogoo

In Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: Kajagoogoo hero and solo star Limahl

In Netflix’s Stranger Things, which two characters duet your 1984 solo hit ‘The NeverEnding Story’?

“I don’t know because I don’t watch Stranger Things. There might be someone on the show called Ryan? I’ve seen the clip.”

WRONG. It was Dustin Henderson and Suzie.

“Oh Effin’ hell! It’s all so clear now! I thought it was cute and it made me want to watch a series that everyone’s been raving about. It meant a lot because ‘The NeverEnding Story’ went Top 10 all over the world, and in America it only went to Number 17, so it felt like validation for it to be used in a big US TV show 35 years later.”


In American Horror Story: 1984, which famous real-life serial killer murders Kajagoogoo?

“Another recent question! I don’t know. I’ve seen the scene and think it’s hysterical. But that’s another nil-points!”

WRONG. It’s Richard Ramirez, aka the ‘Night Stalker’.

“OK! My 21-year-old nephew sent me a WhatsApp video of him watching it where his reaction is: ‘Uncle C! No way! They’re going to kill you! THEY’RE GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU!’. And then he bursts out laughing. I thought the actor playing me sounded a bit like he was from Liverpool (Laughs). Look, I was chuffed and flattered for them to not only use the Kajagoogoo song ‘Too Shy’, but to have us also feature in the storyline and an actor playing me. I’ve been watching [American Horror Story creator] Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood and absolutely love it, so if you ever want someone to play Limahl again, call me! (Laughs) I’ve been studying acting for three years. Gimme a shout!”


Complete the following lyrics of a Kajagoogoo song: ‘Vay zork, booga linny vobler/Flerb’?

“(Long pause) One more time! (Laughs) That’s fucking bizarre! Oh My God! How many times can I ask you to sing it?! No, I don’t know it. I’m not doing very well!”

WRONG. The next line is: ‘Boo neeb neeb / Wush wush, eeb lo jeeb’. It’s Kajagoogoo’s 1983 UK Number One song ‘Too Shy’, from The Sims 2, sung in their language Simlish.

“Wow! It sounds quite nice like that – it’s like a Russian version (Laughs). I’m not a gamer, so I don’t know it. But great – more royalties!”



Which member of a legendary Manchester band once kicked down the door of a toilet while you were in there?

“(Long pause) Can you give me any clues? You’ve got to be careful what people claim! (Laughs) No, I don’t remember – sorry!”

WRONG. It’s the Stone Roses – specifically bassist Pete Garner.

“I have no recollection of that! I barely know who The Stone Roses are, let alone Pete. It sounds like a load of bollocks! I’d remember something like that – if someone from The Stone Roses had kicked my toilet door down, I’d be bragging about it my whole life! People love to colour their autobiographies to make themselves sound more interesting. Does he say what I was doing?”

According to him, you were ‘”sat there having a crap”.

“Oh dear! So tasteless! (Laughs) It would have been much more interesting if he’d said I was having sex in there with somebody!

“The only toilet incident I remember is with Pete Burns [of Dead Or Alive]. The BBC has a Number One’s Party hosted by Dale Winton. It was cheesy and went on for hours. Halfway through, I sneaked off to the toilet and Pete Burns – his usual bitter, twisted and controversial self – was sitting on the basin going, ‘This is a fookin’ pile of shit, innit Limahl?’. Because he was there, I was too scared to use the urinal and went in the cubicle. He probably would have tried to bite it off! (Laughs) For his autobiography!”

In the 1980s, you appeared in the videos to four UK Top 10 hits. Name them.

“Ah, this is a trick question! Adam and the Ants ‘Stand and Deliver’, then Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’ and ‘Ooh to Be Aah’ and my solo song ‘The NeverEnding Story’.”

CORRECT. What was it like appearing in the video to Adam Ant’s 1981 single ‘Stand and Deliver’?

“An eye-opener. I worked at the Embassy Club [billed as London’s version of Studio 54] and the director’s assistant asked me to be an extra in it for £90. It was shot at Hatfield House, and it was an 18-hour day of filming – but I ended up on the cutting room floor! If you blink, you miss me!”


Kajagoogoo’s 1983 number single ‘Too Shy’ was produced by Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes. Which former member of that New Romantic band once released their own dildo?

(Uproarious laughter) “OH MY GOD! That is the best question I’ve ever had in an interview! I have absolutely no idea – I don’t even know any former members of Duran Duran. In any sense! (Laughs) Was it based on his own appendage?”

WRONG. It’s Warren Cuccurullo, guitarist in Duran Duran from 1986 to 2001, who released his eight-inch ‘Rock Rod’ in his own image.

“Never heard of him! I bet he added a few inches! They always do! (Laughs)”

Nick Rhodes once said that the rest of Duran Duran were “furious” with him because “Kajagoogoo had a Number One with ‘Too Shy’ before we’d [Duran Duran] had a Number One’..

“I think that was just press bollocks. They were so hugely successful, I doubt they’d have cared. In fact, I remember when I approached Nick Rhodes at The Embassy Club, I gushed about how much I loved their 1981 self-titled debut – particularly the single ‘Planet Earth’.”

Any good celebrity memories of working at The Embassy Club?

“I used to see Lemmy from Motörhead kicking the shit out of the fruit machine. He’d get pissed, and would literally get hold of the fruit machine and start slamming it against the wall. (Laughs) And then security would be called. It was glamorous and seedy. When we needed to do our first Kajagoogoo gig for record companies, the owner, Steven Hayter, let us use the club – and Boy George came down.”


Which X-Men character is based on you?

“Oh fucking hell! (Laughs) I’ve watched one X-Men film, but I don’t know the answer.”

WRONG. It’s Longshot.

“OK! I’ve got a couple of X-Men film DVDs but I don’t know who Longshot is. Could you explain?”

Sure thing! Longshot appeared in 1985. He’s an  amnesiac fugitive from another dimension, and artist Arthur Adams based his mullet haircut on you…

“Well, I’m flattered! My image was an accident. I was in the musical Godspell in Westcliff-on-Sea, and I said: ‘All the male cast members look the same. Do you mind if I changed my hair?’ So I went to a salon and came out blond. There was no style guru from a record label to package me up, so it’s great when I hear I’ve influenced things culturally.”



Which frontman once said of Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’: “That single is slime”?

(Laughs) “Oh, that’s terrible! Fucking hell! You can’t please everyone! I have do idea, but I’m dying to know. I’ve got my pen and paper ready. Tell me who it is!”

WRONG. It’s Dave Gahn of Depeche Mode – add him to your shit-list.

“I’m gutted! He’s so cool! I hope he’s changed his mind – I like quite like a few of his records.”

Ever had an experience when you’ve slagged someone off and it’s come back to haunt you?

“I was promoting ‘The NeverEnding Story’ in Australia, and was in the make-up chair when someone asked me about the pop star [and ‘80s Boy George acolyte] Marilyn and his 1983 single ‘Calling Your Name’, and I flippantly said: ‘He’s quite interesting visually but it’s not a very vocally demanding song’. It appeared in the tabloids, and the next day at 7am, my phone rings in the hotel room and a voice goes: ‘If you say one more thing about me, you’re DEAD!’ It was Marilyn – and it was the least threatening death threat of all-time! (Laughs)”

Who’s been the most unexpected fan of yours?

Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr tapped me on the shoulder of a Blockbuster video shop once and said: ‘Are you Limahl? My wife [Pretenders frontwoman] Chrissie Hynde, just bought ‘The NeverEnding Story’. And she was really complimentary – which was a surprise to me because she’s so rock!”

In which horror film does the lead “scream queen” character have a Limahl poster on his bedroom wall?

(Excited) “I KNOW THIS ONE! Whoo-hoo! A Nightmare on Elm Street 2.”

CORRECT. It’s become a cult film for gay audiences, with the lead actor Mark Patton claiming that it has a gay subtext with the lead character he played, Jesse, being repressed about his sexuality…

“So the repressed gay character has a poster of me on his wall? Interesting! The only thing I remember from the plot is people being killed by the the man for blades for hands [Freddy Krueger]. But I’m happy I was involved somehow in getting gay characters in horror films via the back door. No pun intended!”

Now we have out pop stars like Sam Smith, Years & YearsOlly Alexander and Troye Sivan but in your day, even Boy George, George Michael, Elton John, Pet Shop Boys‘ Neil Tennant  and Soft Cell’s Marc Almond were closeted. Did you secretly know each other was gay?

“In arty circles, it was tough to tell. I honestly though Nick Rhodes might be gay – he wore much more make-up than his girlfriend. And Adam Ant. But I was terrified of coming out because growing up, there were no gay role models in Wigan – the way people used to talk about ‘queers’, you might as well have been a serial killer. By the time I was ready to come out, I was out of the limelight and nobody cared. I’ve been with my partner Steve [Evans] for 26 years. Funnily, I once went to one of Freddie Mercury’s parties and he’s macho onstage and Queen’s fans are blokey, so I didn’t see the campness. I was introduced to him and he looks up, with his cigarette held regally, and goes: ‘Oh hello, darling!’. It was such a contrast to what you saw on TV. (Laughs) I had a picture taken and am gutted I lost it.”


In 2005, you appeared on ITV’s Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, a show where retro pop stars covered then-current songs. Who beat you on your episode?

“Shit! I know Howard Jones was on my episode, and [Kajagoogoo member] Nick Beggs was playing bass for him and we didn’t speak. It was before the Kajagoogoo reunion. Gloria Gaynor was also on the episode. Was it Tiffany?”

CORRECT. Tiffany covered Girls Aloud’s ‘Love Machine’, beating your rendition of Maroon 5’s ‘This Love’.

“I don’t remember doing a song other than ‘Too Shy’! My memory’s terrible – but it’s coming back to me now!”


The verdict: 3/10

“I’ll have to live that down!”

Limahl has a brand new solo single ‘Still In Love’ out June 5