You know his work but not his name. As a member of one of the biggest bands to come out of the 1980’s Peter Gill’s drumming is often overlooked. Appearing on such mega hits as “Relax” and “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” Gill was the backbone of the epic and sometimes controversial band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. In a 1985 article, written by Max Bell and Paul Bursche, Gill outlined his coming of age and path to becoming an ambitious drummer. Gill’s parents reflected on their son’s drive to learn the instrument. They said:
“I remember seeing him in a school concert when he was very young,” says Kay Gill. “Of course, he wasn’t very good then but he had bags of enthusiasm.” “First he was into Gary Glitter as a kid,” remembers his dad, Ray. “Then as he got older he started getting into the older stuff. He went to see AC/DC at Knebworth once. He’d always wanted a drum kit so we bought him a cheap set for Christmas for about a hundred pounds. He was really made up. He’d set it up in the living room and drum along to Led Zeppelin records, just to pick it up.”
Gill’s sonic drumming and hypnotic four on the four is no more evident than on the 1984 mega-hit “Relax” (below). That song alone helped to define a generation and became a mantra for pop fans everywhere. T-shirts branded with the saying “Frankie Says Relax” were everywhere further cementing the band in the public’s consciousness. FGH was a major supporter of gay rights and a split between hetero and homosexuals. This furthered the band’s controversial image. (Gill was on the hetero-side). Frankie Goes to Hollywood enjoyed huge success in 1984 but had split by 1987, and then re-formed in 2004. After several years of infighting the band disbanded for good. Gill continues to play professionally and his legacy as a member of one of the 80’s biggest bands still resonates today.