03 July, 2019

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TOYAH ON BBC RADIO 2
WITH JASON MOHAMMAD
30.6.2019


JASON MOHAMMAD: Good Morning!

TOYAH: Hello!

JASON: Lovely to see you, fantastic to see you – it's going so well - I can't believe this as well - you were in my home city of Cardiff, you played at the Acapela (below) -

TOYAH: On Friday -

JASON: Which is just round the corner, if I'd been home Friday night I would've come and see you, I would've seen you twice at the weekend!

TOYAH: Well, it was crammed to the rafters, it was 40 degrees in the venue. I mean it was like performing in a sauna. It was fabulous (laughs)

JASON: Did the Welsh crowd treat you well?

TOYAH: Oh, they went absolutely bonkers! We're just getting so many standing ovations, it was really gorgeous

JASON: Fabulous! 



TOYAH: And that point when it's so hot I'm so thankful for them being there, for being awake! (laughs)

JASON: Good stuff! Well, listen, thank you so much for coming in to see us. I know you're going to play some live music with your band ... By the way who've got here this morning?

TOYAH: We've got John Humphrey on percussions and we've got Chris Wong on guitar, Andy Doble on keyboards -

JASON: Nice too see you. Listeners now know what this studio is like here in Salford. What's it like being back on the road and you've got a record out as well, Toyah?

TOYAH: I've been on the road for 42 years (Jason laughs) But I suppose the present phenomena with me started in 2002. I was performing in a theatre in the West End and I got a fax saying “do you want to play Wembley Arena?” and I thought it was a joke. It was one of these big 80's line-ups and I've just never looked back. 

And then slowly the kind of dedicated Toyah following has been building up over the last ten years. So my latest album “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” went straight into the Top 10 two months ago. The first track we're going to play for you today is my next single off it, which is about July the 17th that's coming out. But it has just been an absolutely stunning year -

JASON: Which is “Dance In The Hurricane” -

TOYAH: The year has just gone crazy!

JASON: Amazing!

TOYAH: It's just been fantastic

JASON: You're on social media as well, I was talking to Donovan about the dangers of it but you love it! People engage with you as well, Toyah, on social -



TOYAH: Well, I am blind to negativity. I just don't bother with it. Life is so precious, time is so precious. Music is multi-generational and this is what I do. Accept it. We need to learn acceptance in a lot of how we go about our daily lives. So yes – I do do social media but the delete button is very active -

JASON: Yes, it is (laughs)

TOYAH: I just don't pick up negativity and we can talk about this in a minute. My mother was particularly negative and I've learned to survive and it's as simple as that. We are all gloriously miraculous just being here, floating on a rock in a very immense universe -

JASON: Very well said -

TOYAH: No one's going to tell me I'm not good -

JASON: And also, Toyah, that positivity, Donovan our rapper and our guru came in today, he spoke so much sense, I love what he said : “don't be negative, give yourself shot at the title”. I'm so going to use that every day -

TOYAH: Well, we're here I think for a purpose. No matter what you do we're a part of a greater picture and I think negativity can just stop you. It stops you moving forward and believe me - I have my own battles with myself and that's very evident in my music but best things come in life when you're positive and you see that the glass is half full rather than half empty. 

It may sound glib and easy to say that because we all have to fight our dark clouds but I just think that life is so precious. Especially when you get to my age. You just don't want to waste it!

JASON: No. Very true, very true. You must get that energy as well from your crowds – not talking about the sweaty crowd on Friday night but I mean you must get so much positivity from that -

TOYAH: For me the most rewarding part of my life is on stage where there is no mobile phones, there's no e-mail, there's no distraction and it's a very very extraordinary experience which I'm grateful for. 

Because you do feel moments where everyone in the room is one and it's like a phenomenal meditation. You can just feel their energy tuning in and I am so grateful for that! It's very very powerful -



JASON: Yeah, I can imagine. What about this latest record then that you're going to play for us. Is it about something specific?

TOYAH: “Dance In The Hurricane” to be brutally honest is about overcoming the grief of losing your parents. I lost my parents ten years ago and my life has never been the same and I'm still really only finding my feet but I believe grief makes us strong and “Dance In The Hurricane” is a song of victory over grief -

JASON: OK, we'd love to hear it

(They play “Dance In The Hurricane”)

JASON: Toyah, that was absolutely magnificent! Live on BBC Radio 2 here on “Good Morning Sunday”. You know what - as a parent, I've got three kids, you've kind of touched me here. Very emotional there listening to that, especially the words “be loud, be heard, be proud”

TOYAH: Well, yes -

JASON: Wow! Such a powerful message in that record -

TOYAH: We've got to tell our children that they have the world, that they inherit the world -

JASON: Absolutely! That's exactly it, as a parent, as a dad … listening to the lyrics there, you talking about holding the soul in your hands as well. The challenging world, we've been talking about this all morning, go out there and be loud, be heard and be proud -

TOYAH: Yeah. Definitely.

JASON: Amazing. Amazing. Fabulous! Are you going to do another record for us in a momen?

TOYAH: Definitely -

JASON: I just want to ask you about Glastonbury. Have you done Glastonbury?

TOYAH: Well, we were guests with PRS (Stage) (below), we played there about three years ago. It was magnificent. You can feel … you arrive in this massive kind of city of people and you can feel it! It's very very wonderful! And so upbeat! That might sound strange – I'm scared of big crowds but everyone was so happy! 



JASON: It is that sort of vibe. Can I just ask you about … as we get older – about music. I love my music. I'm so lucky to have a job where I sit and – not only do I play music at home and in the car but play tracks to listeners as well – love it. 

But as we get older I often have these conversations – my kids love music as well – have these conversations you know “can we put something else on, kids?” Am I getting old or is that something that happens when it comes to music?

TOYAH: It's your experience talking. I mean we've all got this mammoth library of experience in us and we've grown up with absolutely brilliant songwriters. The Beatles, The Stones, Led Zeppelin … 

I mean they're all utterly brilliant and these young people are going to discover that eventually. When I look out over the crowds that we play to at festivals the majority of the age is under 25 and they've just discovered us -

JASON: That's amazing, isn't it?

TOYAH: And they will discover the music you love. Personally I don't think there's such a thing as bad music. I think generations just need their voice and you can't take that voice away from them and that's the divide between you and your children -

JASON: Yeah. I took them to see Elton last week -

TOYAH: Oh, I'm so jealous!

JASON: What a night!

TOYAH: I saw “Rocketman” last week, the music is so profound!

JASON: Isn't it good?

TOYAH: So good, so good! What did they think of it?

JASON: They loved it and they got into “Rocketman” so they've got into Elton's songs a bit later -

TOYAH: Yellow Brick Road …

JASON: I mean they watched “Bohemian Rhapsody”, they love Queen and now it's all about Elton as well. There was a lad, he must've been ten years old on his dad's shoulders and Elton is banging out “Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting” and this kid is singing the words back to Elton. He was about ten or eleven years old! That is just so powerful, isn't it, Toyah?



TOYAH: That's storytelling writing, isn't it? And the 80's was very similar that we told stories about the listener to draw the listener in and when you listen to, say, “Yellow Brick Road” about going back to the farm, going back to your roots … 

I found that so powerful because I didn't … I only got a change to hear the lyrics sitting in a cinema watching the film and I was like oh my goodness! Because we do in a sense return to our roots so many times -

JASON: We do indeed -

TOYAH: Yes -

JASON: And what about those musicians who criticise those younger singer songwriters, no names being mentioned, on the road right now. Is that fair or are some of them accurate?

TOYAH: Well, the one musician you're mentioning is actually an incredible songwriter. I think if you are the best songwriter in the world you have the right to criticise. I'm still learning, I learn every day - as a songwriter, as a human being. 

I'm still learning and checking myself all the time. I've been writing music for 42 years and it's a journey without an end so I would not judge someone else's writing because it's the process of being creative that's important. 

And we have to remain a creative society. If we're too busy losing ourselves in our phones we're going to lose a cultural strength because we are all brilliant at expressing ourselves. We must be encouraged to go deep and express ourselves and that's what songwriting is. 

So if I was to criticise I would say go beyond the telephone and listen to Elton John, listen to Rolling Stones because the depth of what they're saying is so truthful -



JASON: Absolutely. Great advice. What are you going to play for us next? What's the significance of this next record?

TOYAH: OK, this is a really important track to me. It's off “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” and it was originally written because we wanted to – Simon Darlow, my co-writer and I – wanted to submit it to the Paralympics and partly because I've had to learn to walk again three times. 

I was born with a spine defect so I know what's it's like to keep running up that hill and get back on your feet. We wrote “Sensational” because we felt it was important (to write about) that everyone is utterly remarkable – no matter what body shape, what height you are, where you come from ... we are sensational -

JASON: So it's inspirational -

TOYAH: And this is what this song is about -

JASON: Fabulous! Let's hear it. Thank you Toyah

(They play “Sensational”)

JASON: Love it! Toyah live here on BBC Radio 2. Lot's of our listeners are getting in touch – this is lovely, this is Sally who says “Good morning Jason, good morning Toyah. I'm absolutely loving Toyah's words and music and listening to you talking about losing our parents – we lost our dad many years ago and our mum in March this year. We miss them both very much indeed” ... but your words have provided comfort for them this morning -



TOYAH: Yeah. I'm so sorry. It's the hardest grief. But you learn to live with void. That's the only way I can describe it. You're never quite the same again but something quite amazing happens with your life at that point and you move forward with strength -

JASON: Absolutely thrilled to have you in the studio today, thank you so much for coming in to see us. The album is out as well?

TOYAH: Oh yes, “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” -

JASON: Fantastic. Thank you also to Chris, Andy and John, lovely to see you guys. Keep in touch, Toyah! And hopefully I'll catch you on tour sometime -

TOYAH: Yay!

JASON: Yay! Thank you very much indeed. Lovely to see you, God bless, thank you 

Above: Toyah with Jason Mohammad at the
BBC Radio 2 studios in Salford 30.6.2019 

26 June, 2019

TOYAH ON BBC RADIO DEVON
WITH RICHARD GREEN
8.6.2019


Recorded at the Let's Rock Wales 2019 festival
in Tredegar Park, Newport


RICHARD GREEN: It's the BBC at The Let's Rock festival, Toyah!

TOYAH: Hello!

RICHARD: Hello! How are you doing?

TOYAH: I'm really good, it's the most perfect day. Summer is definitely here!

RICHARD: I know, because it's been a bit cloudy and a bit overcast … The sun's come out, it's blisteringly hot -

TOYAH: The audience are already up for it and what is it? It's barely one o'clock and they're just having the time of their lives already. This is what's it's about. This is about them. And it's about good weather and a beautiful beautiful location. It's looking like a perfect day already 




RICHARD: It is. OK - so a relatively short set. Shorter than if you were doing your own show of course -

TOYAH: Well, there's a big difference between two hours and 20 minutes so today is a bit of a holiday (laughs)

RICHARD: Yes. So it's all the big hits, all the big players. What are you opening with today?

TOYAH: I'm opening with – very good question - “Good Morning Universe”. Then “Echo Beach”, “Thunder In The Mountains”, “It's A Mystery”, “I Want To Be Free” -

RICHARD: OK, so they're all sort of great songs that people love to sing along to -

TOYAH: Yeah, I've kept to the 80's – it never occurred to me to put new material in. My album that was out in April went into the charts … It never occurred to me to feature any of that (laughs) You know, this is an 80's festival so I'm kind of happy doing that -

RICHARD: They would've fitted though wouldn't they - because they were songs of empowerment and so are some of the songs from back you're doing today?

TOYAH: They would've definitely fitted and what's interesting is we're told if we're doing an 80's show - “keep it 80's” - but I didn't realise that a lot of artists just don't -

RICHARD: Sneak a tune in -

TOYAH: Yeah, they don't do what they're told. So next time … I'll sneak in “Hurricane” and “21st Century Super Sister” and “Sensational” -

RICHARD: So what's been happening recently for you? You've had the new album out. I think your husband (Robert Fripp, below with Toyah) had a birthday recently as well – had a bit of a party, did you? 



TOYAH: It's my birthday -

RICHARD: Oh, your birthday?

TOYAH: And our anniversary and his birthday. We don't have parties. My husband is what's known famously as a recluse. So we have a home in the South of France. 


We went there and we had beautiful food. We didn't have good weather, it rained every day. We're next to the Mediterranean and it was gorgeous ...

RICHARD: And what's happening with “In The Court OF The Crimson Queen” because you've got the autumn tour coming?

TOYAH: Yeah. I'm touring all year. I started touring the album in March. I go right up to Wembley Arena in December. There's a lot of really lovely things going on. 


So I'm in the Bristol area at the end of October playing The Fleece which is my favourite venue in the area. It's hot, it's sweaty. People queue around the block to get in and that for me is what music is about. 

It's that whole kind of social gathering of people just wanting desperately to get in and then giving them a 150% in a lovely sweaty atmosphere. So I'm doing – well, I'm just working the whole year doing music. The album has been a phenomenal success. It's been a critical success … So that's going to keep me going -

RICHARD: Absolutely superb. So that's the sort of example you're giving for out here today. It may be a shorter set but you know, they're well into it, you're well into it, it's the perfect mix on a summer Saturday …

TOYAH: Yeah, I think 80's music is coming to its own, its free of the politics of the 80's now and it's almost free of the fashion to a certain extent. 


I think people choose to go back to the fashion if they want to but there's just something about the longevity of the music and the music stands out like no other decade - 



RICHARD: But why, Toyah?

TOYAH: Why? I think it's because it's about the audience, it's a shared experience with the audience. The audience can identify with what we're doing. 


It's highly individualistic and I think people want to be seen as individuals today than any other time in history. So I just think it's all encompassing. I know I wrote it for stadiums so it's perfect when you've got an environment like today

30 May, 2019

TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO SOLENT
WITH ALEX DYKE
23.5.2019 



ALEX DYKE: Let's call Toyah, shall we? Hope she's in for us, she is expecting our call -
TOYAH: Hello there!
ALEX: Hello! Toyah!
TOYAH: Can you hear me OK?
ALEX: I can. It's Alex here from the BBC
TOYAH: How are you Alex?
ALEX: I'm alright. How are you?
TOYAH: Really good, thank you. Really good
ALEX: OK, so here we go then. It's Sunday the 26th of May which is just around the corner. This coming Sunday, the Theatre Royal Winchester. 40 years in the business. You don't look old enough!
TOYAH: Well, I don't feel old enough (laughs) Life is very good at the moment so I feel exactly the same I did forty years ago
ALEX: This is the Greatest Hits you're doing on Sunday and some other stuff – back catalogue. It's your full electric band and you're just celebrating 40 years of being in the business?



TOYAH: Well yeah, it's inevitable it's going to be Greatest Hits because I've released in my career 28 albums and I've got to cherry-pick from this catalogue what we're going to be playing so virtually every song is a single

And I had a new album out in April called "In The Court Of The Crimson Queen", which is still doing incredibly well. It charted so we are going to be featuring that as well. 


So my shows are fun, they're high energy and there's a little bit of storytelling but with the electric band our aim is to get the audience on their feet having a really lovely time, enjoying good rock music that they can dance to and usually they're singing along as well
ALEX: I've seen you loads of times and I know it's a great show. So it's forty years so that's 1979. I remember you first with the EP "Four From Toyah" with "It's A Mystery", which I guess was early '81. And we talked about earlier – you were doing "Minder" and quite a lot of acting so what were you doing in '79 and 80' just before you broke through on Top Of The Pops?
TOYAH: Whoo (laughs) That is such a big question! Well, I was filming with Katherine Hepburn in a film called "The Corn Is Green", which was directed by the legendary director George Cukor. I then went straight on to do "Quadrophenia" (below, and the cast now) which is 40 this year. The movie.

So we're doing a lot of celebratory filming this year of that. I was also touring my band endlessly and in 78',79' and 80' you had the first Indie Chart, which was available in The New Musical Express, the biggest music paper at the time. I was number one in those charts every week, every day for two years

 


ALEX: Wow!
TOYAH: Even though I didn't have national success - the success that was going to come in '81 … On a kind of underground cult level I was phenomenally successful. Filling venues, touring all the time, charting. I had an album out in 79' called "Blue Meaning" which went straight to number 2 in the album charts

But back then you didn't get radio coverage if you were an album selling artist so I was enjoying success, wonderful success – it's probably one of the happiest times of my life because everything had a Midas Touch to it – my acting and my music and I had no idea what was about to come in 1981. It was a lovely time of innocence and joy with everything doing really really well
ALEX: I just have to rewind there, just a couple of things I want to pick up on. First of all I would imagine Katherine Hepburn was a lovely lovely lady. Did you sit down, get down time, you know – get Hollywood stories from her?
TOYAH: Yes, she was a very generous person. Not only did I get down time with her, my father turned up on the film set unannounced and was hiding on the film set to watch his film idol Katherine Hepburn and she found him! And she said "who are you and what are you doing here?" and he said "I'm Toyah's father" and she stopped filming and took him to lunch - 
ALEX: Aww …
TOYAH: She was just the most extraordinary woman. And she would talk to me a lot about who ever I asked about but her main influence and her big love of her life was Spencer Tracy and she would wear his clothes every day and he had been long gone by 1979. But she would often just say "this is Spencer's jumper, this is Spencer's trousers" (laughs) and she was still very connected to him

She was a very generous actress to work with. She allowed me close-ups, she would allow me to sit in her dressing room while her make-up was being done and we'd talk about how we wanted the scene to go. She was a phenomenal person and I feel very lucky that my career started at a time that allowed me to work with Hollywood greats
ALEX: Oh, yeah …
TOYAH: I worked with John Mills, I worked with Laurence Olivier. Even Diana Dors and they were all true stars. Today as stars tend to be very real or reality based these were people who were built by the Hollywood system and they were phenomenal. They were very very different and I'm so glad I met them
ALEX: Well, I can't think many things cooler than hanging out with Katherine Hepburn being told one on one Spencer Tracy stories. And then Diana Dors! I've got to briefly ask - what did you work with Diana Dors on?



TOYAH: I think – and I really have to pull this out of my my memory banks ... I did a lot of historical dramas for the BBC during this time. I did "Jekyll & Hyde" with David Hemmings (above with Toyah in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1980)) and I did an another one - which I can't for the life of me remember what the name was and Diana Dors was, I think, in "Jekyll & Hyde" with me playing a Madam. And she was great!

When she came into the room – because in those days you'd have three months rehearsal for one of these drama series - when she came into the room she owned the room. It was “Hello darlings! How are you?” And everyone was included and the conversation was loud and brash and the stories were legendary – kind of 1960's London. 


But of course she worked with Elvis Presley, she had a fling with Elvis Presley - so she branched right across to Hollywood and back. Her stories were rich in this vein of 1960's rock culture. She was electrifying
ALEX: Wow … Talking about … I could talk to you all day – we should get you in the studio face to face, play album tracks and Greatest Hits and play the current album. You've got to come down and see us Toyah, so we can do this properly but Sunday, 26th of May, Theatre Royal Winchester, the 40th anniversary of the wonderful Toyah and you'll get just a great show with loads of costume changes and Toyah looking gorgeous and being fantastic!



TOYAH: Can I tell you my Winchester story really quickly?
ALEX: Yes!
TOYAH: I did "Taming Of The Shrew" at Theatre Royal in 1988, could be in '89 (Edit : it was August 1990). I was about to go on stage for the very last speech, it's a very big speech for "Kate" and the stage door opened - which is right at the back of the stage - and a fan grabbed me and pulled me onto the street for an autograph! (They both laugh) 

I was in shock! I didn't know what to do, everyone was waiting on stage for me in the big banquet scene and I was going "oh gosh, help help!"
ALEX: Oh no! But did you make it just in the nick of time?
TOYAH: Yes, I kind of ran back on stage looking incredulous and everyone thought I was delivering the speech in a different way! They thought "oh, she's going at this differently tonight" and the look on my face was I've almost been shut out of the theatre!
ALEX: Aww … Toyah, we've got to do this properly soon! Thank you so much and have a great night at the Theatre Royal Winchester Sunday night!
TOYAH: Thank you so much!


05 May, 2019

TOYAH ON
CELEBRITY RADIO
29.4.2019



Recorded at the Ravenshead Village Hall, Ravenshead, Nottingham

ALEX BELFIELD: Toyah Willcox, how are you?

TOYAH: I'm really good, thank you

ALEX: You look amazing and you sound better than ever. I just stood here for twenty minutes watching you soundcheck for a gig tonight and my God! What a voice! I mean it's operatic, isn't it?

TOYAH: Well, I trained in opera from about the age of 14 right through to 18. German opera. I keep catching myself talking German although my German isn't great. But that really helped me. And if anything it's hard to get it out of the voice because when I have to do the big notes at the end of songs that's when I kick the opera in

I have a real ambition to be in an opera one day and I never say never and I don't think doors close. I think one day it might happen. But if I did go into an opera it would have to be really modern and really extreme. Because I am a rock singer

ALEX: You're a singer, you're an actress, you're a personality, you're a star at heart. What do you want to be?

TOYAH: It's a really good question because I have to work - psychologically I have to work. If the phone isn't ringing or I'm not creating something I don't really exist. I just sit there … blank. So I always create projects and by creating projects other things come in. I mean last year I was playing Queen Elizabeth the First in the stage version of “Jubilee” which was a complete surprise. But also it featured my music. 

This year we've got “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” coming out. It's gone beyond on what we thought would happen. In the pre-order chart it went number one across the board. It's out on April the 12th and fingers crossed we'll get a chart position with that. But it's just been great – in the last two days I've done 50 radio interviews and people are loving the music. 

So you ask what I am? This year I'm dominantly a singer but I'm also doing a movie. I've got a great movie coming up in June. So I just keep on filling that diary and see what happens! (Alex laughs) 

Tonight we're doing an acoustic show and I like to think that the acoustic is helping me to become a better musician and a singer because when you only have two guitars and three voices you've really got to be spot on. 

And it's taught me so much doing this show. We've done it now for five years. We go into lovely little places. This is a village hall near Nottingham, completely sold out. We could've done a week here but it will be magical. We know that because it's up close and it's very personal



ALEX: It seems like you were born to be on stage. When we look back to your childhood that's sort of in a congress in a way because you were so shy and so bullied and really to stand up on stage today must be a huge strain still or is it a second home?

TOYAH: The acoustic I love and I know it's going to be good. It's just a magical show. We even had a stage invasion in Otley last week (Alex laughs) There's just something about this show. I think people are so close they go a bit bonkers. 

Arenas – we do the festivals so we do experience the large audiences, you know, between 30 and 60 000 and I'm more frightened for those than I will be tonight. Part of it is that it's so special. You feel the energy. There is a definite change in atmosphere when you've got that amount people in front of you. I find it overwhelming. 

I did a guest appearance in Glastonbury three years ago and I felt as if my feet needed to be nailed to the ground. I just felt as if though I was levitating off the ground. There was quarter of a million people on site and it's just radically different to anything I've ever experienced. So I'm a little bit sensitive to the audience. I'd say I'm more scared in the arenas than I am at the acoustic

ALEX: You've got that great thing though like Cliff, Cilla and all these people - that you have a legendary status -

TOYAH: You think?

ALEX: That we only need your first name -

TOYAH: (laughs) I'm Toyah – yeah. I think it's very nice that people are saying that I have legendary status. I think it's because of my age (laughs)

ALEX: You've nothing to prove, you're working harder than you've ever worked. It must be thrilling and liberating in a way to know what we know what we're going to get. It's a guaranteed cheque when we come and see you - that you're going to deliver?

TOYAH: I do deliver because the audience comes first. I don't think I've gone beyond that point where I have nothing to prove. As an actress I've got everything to prove and I'm still learning. The new album I think is a beautiful album and it's so exclusively me that I think I want people to hear it and go “yes, Toyah's being Toyah” and that suits me down to the ground. 

But there's always something to prove. Time moves on. Nothing is fixed. And I think only your Hendrix and your Bowie and your John Lennons have that "nothing to prove" music that is their legacy. I'm not quite there yet. I'm trying my damnedest but I'm not quite there yet 



ALEX: I listened to this entire CD all the way through and there were two songs that stood out. And what's remarkable about this double album is that it's so eclectic and one minute we've got these beautiful ballads and the next minute we've got you at your height where you're doing these sort of outrageous songs and playing on the sort of big ballad stuff and the rock stuff.

And then there's two songs which are wonderful which are “Heal Ourselves” and also “Sensational” - which is literally sensational. I don't think you've ever sounded better! Congratulations on this. It's so beautifully produced

TOYAH: Thank you. I write with my co-partner Simon Darlow. I've been writing with him since I was 18 and he was 17. He's worked on many of my big albums as well. We have a very psychic relationship. Put us in a room and things just happen. He picks up a guitar, he hits the piano and we come up with something like “Sensational” in two minutes. 

“Heal Ourselves” came about because at the time it was written we were really conscious about artist's responsibility towards being positive in the the world when the world is completely bloody crazy and we wanted to write something that really completely connected the artist to the audience so that became “Heal Ourselves"

ALEX: You were ahead of your time, weren't you? I mean I look at what you did as a child and you were an artist, let's face it when you walked through the streets of Birmingham. People had never seen anything like it. Was that some sort of divine intervention or was it you being you or was it influence because let's face it it's very easy to fit in the crowd – it's very difficult to deliberately stand out?

TOYAH: Well, at that time there was no social media, there were no mobile phones, no one could take pictures of me on the street so in a way that made it very easy to be a strange fish in a large pool. So I was a hair model for a very big department store from the age of 14 because I had remarkable hair and very quickly I started to dye my hair all colours under the rainbow and that gave me a very unique identity at the time. 

I didn't know about punk rock and this was about 1974/5 and then a friend said to me “you should really go and see the Sex Pistols” at Bogart's in Birmingham. That was '75 and I really thought up until that point I was the only punk in the village. I was in a room with 350 kids who were all dying their hair, all making their own clothes. And I thought “where were you?! I'm been so lonely so many years!” And here we all are – the tribe. 

It was a very lucky time for me. From about '75 into '76 right through to about '85 … everything fell in my lap. It was to do with this being unique and being quite strange and not fitting in to the mould. I ended up working with Laurence Olivier, Katherine Hepburn, John Mills, Diana Dors and I had three platinum albums. It was just remarkable, utterly remarkable

ALEX: And what a great time to be alive and working. I don't know if we started today we would have the same stories. There are those type of legends around you can speak of and people take in a breath

TOYAH: I think I would've found a way. If I was in the world today as a teenager I would've been on social media, I would've been on Youtube. I would've found a way. I was a pretty outrageous kid and I've always liked challenging taboos and there's still plenty of taboos to challenge. That's the biggest advice I give to anyone on Youtube. Look at the taboos and break them

ALEX: Help me with what it's like being a woman in 2019? Where are we at now? It must be very difficult because we've got #MeToo and all of that. What would you have thought of that if that was around in the 60's? Does it help or not help?



TOYAH: Oh! If we had #MeToo in the late 70's which is when I kicked in ... oh boy! It was unbelievable being a woman in very much a man's world. Especially doing Northern Working Men's Clubs, especially going even North of the border. I don't want to put these places down because they were great to play and the audiences were fantastic … but you were just groped. The whole time – left, right and centre. Just groped. I think there's even photographs out there where I'm being groped. 

At the time there was no #MeToo, there was no voice for how you felt. What #MeToo has done is given vulnerable women a voice and to point out when these situations have happened. I have felt no need to take part in #MeToo because to be quite honest I just used my fists and there's a few men out there who would happily use #MeToo on me (Alex laughs). I mean I just smashed them in the face. 

I had no qualms about that at all. And there are other singers who are renown for doing that too Today I think it's rather a fantastic time for women because I think women can be sexually very open. They can have multiple partners if they want multiple partners. It was quite hard to do that 30-40 years ago. 

They can be gay, they can be straight, they can choose their gender. I think that is all really healthy. What I would like to see is that that can happen without anyone batting an eyelid. Because really I think it's nobody's business what your sexuality is and what your gender is. I've always kind of fought being seen as a person and I think that is on its way and that's a good thing

ALEX: It is depressing in 2019 as I sit here shocked that you tell me that men would just come and grope you. It's incredible to me as a 39 year old man. I can't imagine a world where that existed but that was the case. 

Was that ever the case with management too and the record companies and the producers around you – did you experience that? Because that's what we're hearing about too that even when you'd left the club you'd still have to face it?

TOYAH: There's some extreme, very one off, on their own things happened … My band really looked after me. I remember getting to Leeds, sometime in 1979, to a club and it was height of the fear of the Yorkshire Ripper. And firstly I arrived at this club and my wonderful lighting man said to me “do not stay here alone. The club owner thinks he has a right to sleep with you. Do not go anywhere – not even the ladies (room) - without one of us escorting you." 

So that was cool. This is what my band did – they looked after me. Then I tried to walk to the B&B and a police car picked me up and they said “you can't be alone” - because of the Yorkshire Ripper, so you know, all of that. So we lived through that. My generation lived through that because no one knew who and what and where the next strike was going to happen. 

As for the casting couch – one very remarkable one was - actually I feel quite proud of - because this director was legendary and it was Russ Meyer of "Valley Of The Vixens" and I was actually sent to an audition for one of his films in the late '70's. 

No idea what I was in for! I arrived at the audition and I was asked to take my top off and I just put two and two together and I said “this ain't for me” and I walked. But that happened in those days! It did happen. In a way I'm really glad I met Russ Meyer because that age – that kind of “Boogie Nights” age of movie making is no more. And I was almost a part of it 



ALEX: How incredible. I wonder where you got that tenacity and confidence from? Was it your parents, was it your family? Where did you did find that from within you where other girls may have felt forced to do what ever he wanted of them - you had the tenacity to stand up and walk out. Most people wouldn't be that brave …

TOYAH: No, it was just no problem walking out on that one! It was just -

ALEX: That's extraordinary. Some women may not have made that choice which they could've regretted forever. You had that within you. I wonder where that comes from?

TOYAH: Well, some women would've wanted that job. I just didn't want that job. It wasn't hard to walk out on that one. For me I think knowing that I was not tall, not particularly feminine – that I had to just be individualistic and I knew that was how I was going to survive. Which kind of made me very bombastic and full of bravado. 

I just knew I haven't got the feminine card to play. If I could go back into the heavens when I was being conceived and I could choose the body – believe me I would've chosen a supermodel body because I think they have an easier life. I got this body and I just decided that I had to be very tomboyish – which I am – but I knew that was my way of surviving

ALEX: I don't think you can see you as the rest of the world sees you. A) you are a sex symbol – my father for instance (Toyah cracks up laughing) thinks you're delicious. I mean as you sit here you look stunning and beautiful. 

I don't know why you constantly in interviews always say that you were fat and ugly as a child and not pretty and all of that. You know you are now, right? I mean what have you got to prove today?

TOYAH: Back then I was three stone heavier. You know, today there is nothing wrong with that – back then in the movie industry and the music industry … as soon as I signed on a label I had to loose that weigh. I was complicit. It was absolutely fine, I didn't mind at all. 

I kind of lost it when filming “Quadrophenia” because we were on so many amphetamines to get through that film! (they both laugh) All of us were popping pills like … aarrghh! It was a fabulous experience! But … back then it was expected of you. I had a dietician, he weighed me weekly. I was weighed before I did Top Of The Pops. 

I was complicit, it was absolutely fine. It was the every day and what you've got to remember is I had songs to write, I had scripts to learn, I had venues to get to. We were permanently in front of the cameras. On one day I could do a photo session, five interviews and a two and half hour show. It was just full on. The creativity meant more to me back then and there was no sense back then of eating clean, eating healthy. You were going to live for ever. 

Everyone felt they were going to live forever. If you told someone that you needed to eat clean to have longevity you'd go “nah, that's just rubbish” so we were just eating what ever we could get our hands on and it wasn't much in those days. Vegetarianism was a hard thing to follow in those days. I can remember getting to Manchester on a Sunday and finding nowhere to eat.  You could just about get a bag of chips and that was it. 

So those kind of things back then you didn't consider. All you considered was the speed and the competitiveness of getting an album finished, getting the best tour on the road and then starting all over again 



ALEX: You've achieved so much in your career. I mean when I read down the list of 24 albums and 40 shows you've appeared in, over 30 films. I mean it's a remarkable legacy you're leaving for the world to enjoy. 

Has it been fun? It seems to me you've had one of the most blessed careers. You've always been in work, you've always been relevant and it's always been good stuff and that's the trickiest thing, isn't it? We can all work but is it good stuff?

TOYAH: It's the only life I know. I couldn't be any other way and I don't feel I've actually arrived yet. I can only put this is perspective and this is a direct quote from Lulu on Radio 2. Someone asked her a similar question and she said “I'm hoping to be discovered” and you know that's what it feels like! (Alex laughs) I totally agree! 

I don't feel I've arrived yet, I'm not known as a film star. I have lovely cameo roles in films and I work in films. I also help co-produce and finance for films which I love. I'm very passionate about all of that. 

Funny enough – you ask me … that you know, everyone knows who I am and I'm legendary … I only feel now, and about to turn 61, that I'm arriving. And I think that's thanks to my writing partnership with Simon Darlow because I think “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” - if it was my swan song I am very happy with it. 

There's songs on there I'm just so proud of like “Dance In The Hurricane”, “Heal Ourselves”, “Legacy”, “21st Century Super Sister”. I am really really proud of those songs so I think I'm only arriving now. And it's kinda good because I'm not sure how long I can keep doing it for!

ALEX: Are we going to sit down in another ten years at 71 and you're going to say the same thing? I mean at what point are you going to give yourself a break and look down on your CV? Just Wikipedia yourself? I mean there's a lot going on there, you must be at least proud even if you don't think you've arrived?

TOYAH: I'm very proud of surviving (Alex laughs) I am definitely a survivor and I've survived with very very little support. I've done virtually all of this myself with my musicians. I manage myself because I can't find a manager, I cant find a PA. No one wants the lifestyle I have!

And let me put this in perspective – it's in the office from 8 in the morning til about 4 in the afternoon, drive to the venue, do a gig, drive home, back in the office til 4 in the morning. That's the schedule. No one wants to be a part of that. I kind of have to find people with an equal amount of insomnia that I have. It's hard … it's hard. But it's wonderful 

ALEX: People forget that show business – and you have to run a business to make it a show. I mean that's what you've done all of your career, haven't you? You've had to be the person fighting forward because if not you're quickly forgotten

TOYAH: Yeah, I agree with everything you've just said. Also I think a lot of artists don't realise that if you're not on top of the business side that's when problems come in. It's as easy as that. You just have to keep an eye on everything and I do admit that most business people are slightly scared of me because I pick things up very quickly (Alex laughs) “Excuse me, what's that in the contract? Excuse me!” 



ALEX: Are you less feisty now than you were in 1975 for example?

TOYAH: I'm more intelligent than I was in 1975 –

ALEX: More diplomatic you mean? (laughs)

TOYAH: I don't fly off the handle as quickly as I used to and I'm really good at negotiating. I even have other agents and other artists phone me up and say “could you negotiate this?” And I go “C'mon! Grow a pair!” (Alex laughs)

ALEX: It is a tough world to survive. I wonder – turning 60 … what did that mean to you? I mean was it personally thrilling that you made it to sixty (Toyah laughs) and you look the way you do? Was it professionally – did it matter to you? Was it a big sort of date last year?

TOYAH: Yeah. I tell you the biggest surprise – and it's been twelve months of surprises – on my 60th birthday my audience downloaded me to number one in the charts and that's what's kicked off all of this. 

That led to Demon Music signing us on a contract, which is the first time I've been signed to a label in about 40 years. And then it's lead to adding the five new songs on “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” and it's going at the speed of light! So sixty so far – and I've only got one month left being sixty – has been one of the best years of my life

ALEX: I asked Ken Dodd if he'd ever retire when he was 89 and he said “well, what's the point? You only retire to stop doing what you don't want to do - to do what you do want to do and I'm doing what I want to do - if you know what I'm trying to say?” Are you doing what you want to do?

TOYAH: Yes. I am doing what I want to do. Did you know that Ken Dodd had a clause in all his contracts that he couldn't go on beyond midnight?

ALEX: Well, he never listened to it though. He paid the fine!

TOYAH: He used to go on til six in the morning! (Alex laughs) That's more energy than I've got!

ALEX: It's inspiring though – that old school ethic. He wanted to put on a show and he wouldn't get off stage until he felt he'd done that

TOYAH: It's absolutely remarkable – that dedication to his audience. They knew they were in for the night. I think they used to bring pillows and picnic hampers

ALEX: It was great! Of all the people you've worked with – give me a couple that were a thrill for you?

TOYAH: I've ran away from David Bowie twice because I just couldn't handle his presence. The first time was when he was appearing at the Milton Keynes Bowl. I think that was about 1983 and Phil Daniels and I – Phil Daniels of “Quadrophenia” - were backstage and we sneaked on stage and we were sitting on the runway going up to the stage and Bowie walked off stage and came and sat right next to us and Phil was going (mouths silently) and I was going “oh my God, oh my God!” (Alex laughs) and we ran! We ran! 

And the next time was Bowie approached my husband Robert Fripp and I at an event at the hotel Intercontinental on Park Lane, about 1986 and Bowie came up and asked Robert to join Tin Machine. And I stood there and I just “... ah ...” (looks lovesick) and just backed out of the room. I just couldn't take it! The guy was just … his ego not his ego, his aura was so immense it just went into yours! It was breathtaking

ALEX: Have you put your finger on what that is – what do these people do that I don't do?

TOYAH: I don't know but there's some very special people out there. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are a little like that as well

ALEX: Or is it just your mind putting onto them what your thinking about them? Are they doing anything?



TOYAH: No, some people have incredible power. Laurence Olivier (above with Toyah) had that and Katherine Hepburn had that. Sting in a way has it but when we made “Quadrophenia” with him we were all in his hotel room learning the harmonies to “Roxanne”. He was incredibly encompassing, he was very kind good man. 

But some people just have this aura that just blows you away! I had to sit with Zack Efron for an interview once. Gorgeous boy! Absolutely gorgeous but I could just feel the aura pushing me out of the picture … (Alex laughs)

ALEX: And then of course when we look back on all the work you've done and the beautiful stuff you've done on stage. Is there anything like that pin focus still? Can recording a CD compare with standing on stage performing it live?

TOYAH: Every time I do a recording I expect it to be the best thing I've ever done. And every time I walk on stage I expect it to be the best show I've ever done. That has never changed. Do the do compare? Yes. Recording a CD you always think about the connections it's going to create. Therefore you're thinking and hoping and expecting that that is going to connect you to a future. It's always been the same, its never been any different

ALEX: You're a remarkable talent, you've got a stunning voice and audiences never cease to be amazed by you. I love the new album. “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” is just wonderful and as I say “Sensational” is truly one of the greatest songs I've heard in a very very long time. Your voice is so precious. Be less hard on yourself. 

You seem to judge yourself more harshly than we do. We think your delicious (Toyah laughs) and we think you're incredibly talented and we think you've done quite enough. Nothing to achieve, it's already great. Stop pushing!

TOYAH: Ooh! I don't know about that. You have to push to a certain extent to do certain things. Especially to get in the big movies. You'd be amazed how hard you have to push to do that. I don't think I'll never give up hope on all of these ambitions

ALEX: You know you're an inspiration, especially to young women. I mean if you look at what you've done and how you've done it – against all the odds really … If you look at your background and your beginning and your own perception of yourself. It's an extraordinary achievement. You know that, right?

TOYAH: I am very conscious how important it is to give young women and even just young people – a positive message. My generation did have it easy in comparison to today. We could buy houses, we could buy cars. I feel very very responsible and conscious of the fact that we have to give people hope. 

And that's kind of a big message within “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen”, especially within “Sensational”. That the world is yours, it just needs to be slightly reorganised and you're going to be the people to do it 



ALEX: Shall we bother talking about Brexit?

TOYAH: It's a mess that can't be solved! It just can't be solved! (Alex laughs) You know who ever gets that chalice is going to be poisoned. It just can't -

ALEX: If there is one woman who can sort it out it's you!

TOYAH: No, really … I'm clueless! I'm clueless! (Alex laughs) I don't know how they're going to do it -

ALEX: What about a Prime Minister? You'd make 
a marvellous job ...

TOYAH: No, I wouldn't. Really. I don't have that knowledge (Alex laughs) And I'm not good at being criticised and having negativity thrown at you 24 hours a day -

ALEX: You can't win either way at this point, can you?

TOYAH: You can't win either way. No.

ALEX: Toyah, thank you so much for your time. You're such a legend and a star. Have a wonderful evening. Thank you for your time

TOYAH: Thank you Alex, good to meet you

You can watch the interview here