THE agitated minder stood at the crowded bar and said emphatically, ''I need those drinks now. These people can wait, those guys back there are the main attraction,'' he told the head barman at the Ritz Carlton. Images of temperamental rock stars complaining about the size of their sandwiches swept through my mind. A tricky interview looked likely. But nothing could have been further from the truth. Gerry Marsden may be well-off, and he may have been protected from life's hassles like queueing up for a drink for the past 30 years, but he remains an absolute gentleman, just another lad from Liverpool who treats everyone as a friend, always ready witha grin and a laugh. Gerry and the Pacemakers live, although only Gerry remains of the original line-up which got together in the 50s and had a string of hits around the world. Royalties keep Gerry Marsden a wealthy man, he certainly does not need to play the Kowloon Cricket Club or the Mariner's Club. So why has he returned to Hong Kong for the fourth time to take people on a sentimental journey back to the 60s? Because he loves it - he doesn't know any other life than spending seven months of the year on the road and he is not ready to stop. I'm an entertainer, I love to get on stage and shout, which I do. I enjoy it,'' explained Gerry. ''I get paid to go all over the world, stay in the best hotels, meet lovely people. People say to me, 'Why don't you retire?'. But what would I do? It would be crazy. ''People say, 'When do you want to finish?' I don't want to finish. This party I want to run on. I'm 51 now, another 49 years and then I'm going to retire. ''When it becomes a chore I shall then decide what to do, but I've never actually sat on my bum and done nothing.'' On stage Gerry is just as generous as he is off, playing the songs people want to hear, making jokes and telling stories. ''Music crosses language barriers - if you see someone laughing and shouting, you laugh as well. ''We're not going to change the world with our music, we never thought we would. Simple melodies, simple lyrics. After a few hearings, everybody can sing along. ''My intention is to see people when they walk out the door to have forgotten all their worries for an hour. All the crap that people have to put up in the day - leave all that. If they do that then I'm happy, it means they've enjoyed it.'' Hong Kong is a treat for the man who helped make Liverpool known around the world with his songs Ferry Across the Mersey and You'll Never Walk Alone. ''I love it because I relax in HK, mainly because I'm not recognised. Most places you go to, people have seen the face. They're great, but you don't do things you would do when you're not recognised. Here I can go shopping, which I do every day. It's a freedom,'' said Gerry, who is travelling with his wife and 14-year-old daughter. The original Gerry and The Pacemakers split in 1968. Gerry went to the West End to learn theatre, but the itch to play saw him back on the road after five years. His current line-up has been together for about seven years. ''I never ever wanted to do anything but entertain,'' is Gerry's simple explanation. Being told by his headmaster that he couldn't make a living out of singing did nothing to deter him. He and the band, which included his brother Freddie on drums, were rewarded with a number one British hit in 1963, How Do You Do It? And he's still singing the hits, but he says singing Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying or I Like It for the ''eight millionth time'' is not a drag. ''When you write songs you never think they're going to be famous or known around the world. It's a great feeling. And when you sing it, you never sing it the same, you're in a different mood. I never get bored singing them. He's not doing it for the money. As Gerry explained, he set himself up for life early on in his career. And he was careful with his cash. ''I never wanted to be poor again, never. I saw great people with great ideas, but no money and they couldn't fulfil their dreams. It broke my heart. ''Having a lot of money helps a great deal. I can do what I want. It's very hard to live with nothing. ''Before it didn't matter because I didn't have anything, but once I got it, I wasn't going to lose it - no way Jose.'' Gerry remembers the band's heydays as good, but hard times. ''We were doing 30-date tours playing every day. Sitting in a hotel room saying, 'Where are we? Err. . .Chicago.' And you'd look out the window and that was Chicago. ''They were hard days, but I look back on them with fond memories of the apprenticeship of life. It was bloody hard work, but we did it because we were kids. Flying to Australia when it took 30 hours and flying economy class and feeling dreadful when youlanded. ''Now you stop over in Bali for a few days and arrive fresh saying, 'It's good to be back.' I couldn't do it again, I think I'd drop dead.'' Was there one time over the past 30 years he could say those were the best days of my life? His answer to that question was simple - ''Today,'' he said with a grin.