19 June, 2014

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NEW T-SHIRT
A cool new t-shirt will be on sale 
at the remaining 2014 gigs  

See toyahwillcox.com for details

 

10 May, 2014

DREAMSCAPE DIGITAL
FANZINE ISSUES

All 4 of Dreamscape's Fanzine Digital Issues
are available HERE

08 April, 2014

LIVE DOWNLOADS 

I've uploaded live tracks online, a few of the legendary 80's concerts and some more recent performances. 

Head over to my Mediafire page by clicking on the links below.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD: Tick the box next to the track you wish to download, then click on "download" the top of the page - a new window will open - then click on the green "download" button. 

24 From Toyah
Xmas 2012 Gift From The Official Toyah,
rare live recordings 1993-2012

1980's Various  

College Tour 21/2/1981   
Rainbow Theatre, London
Watch the concert HERE 
 
FULL Rainbow Theatre Concert (2 Parts)  

The Ulster Hall Belfast 8/4/1981 (Full Concert)

The Ulster Hall Belfast 8/4/1981
(Songs In Separate MP3's)

Watch the concert HERE
 
Good Morning Universe Tour 15/12/1981  
Theatra Tendra, Milan

Good Morning UniverseTour 24/12/1981  
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London
Watch the concert HERE

The Beat Club, Germany 1982 (Live TV performance)
(Full Concert)


The Beat Club, Germany 1982 (Live TV performance)
(Songs In Separate MP3's)

 Watch the concert HERE

Rebel Run Tour 6/12/1983 
Hammersmith Odeon, London

God Has Ceased To Dream You? Tour 15/11/1994 
Duchess Of York, Leeds 15.11.1994
Watch the concert HERE (Part1) 

Watch the concert HERE (Part 2) 
Watch the concert HERE(Part 3)  

2002 - 2011 Various

Wild Essence
Robin 2 Club, Wolverhampton 16/9/2005
Buy the DVD here

2011 From Sheep Farming To Anthem : Classics Revisited 
(Various Venues)

From Sheep Farming To Anthem Classics Revisited 
Leicester Square Theatre, London 17/6/2011

From Sheep Farming To Anthem Classics Revisited  
02 Academy Islington London 5/11/2011

2012 The Changeling Ressurrection Tours I & II
(Various Venues)

The Changeling Resurrection Tour II Rewound & Extended 
Brighton Concorde 2 2/11/2012

2013 Love Is The Law And More Tour 
(Various Venues)

2014 Crimson Queen / Greatest Hits Tour 
(Various Venues)

Up Close And Personal
Buxton Opera House 19/2/2014

Crimson Queen / Greatest Hits Tour
The Picturedome Holmfirth 21/2/2014

Crimson Queen / Greatest Hits Tour
The Jazz Cafe London 29/3/2014


07 April, 2014


TOYAH ON
SOMER VALLEY 97.5 FM
MYPOD WITH
DOM CHAMBERS
24.3.2014



DOM CHAMBERS: The Great British Alternative Music Festival is taking place in Butlins in Minehead this weekend and I'm joined on the line by Toyah! Hello Toyah!

TOYAH (on the phone): Hi! How are you doing?

DOM: I'm very well. Looking forward to seeing you in the West Country. There's an amazing billing. It sums up a generation! Buzzcocks, Damned, Cockney Rejects, From The Jam, Bad Manners, taking us back to the late 70's early 80's! What can the audience expect from Toyah?

TOYAH: Well, as you can probably guess it's a bit of a punky weekend. It's going to be high energy, high octane. I'm concentrating – because I'm on tour all year but I'm touring new stuff at the moment but for this we're going to back to first three albums which “Sheep Farming In Barnet”, “Blue Meaning” and “Anthem”. All platinum albums for me.

But the weekend I think it's going to be very lively. Minehead Butlins has become a bit of mecca for cult artists - Iggy Pop's played there, Nick Cave's played there so I think it's going to be absolutely heaving!

Photo collage by David Fleming of toyah.net

DOM: I want to ask you about your new material but let's dwell on the principal kind of look of this weekend. How's the audience changed for you - because I imagine the kids who were with you back in those very early years are now kind of in the middle years, got kids of their own. How's the audience changed?

TOYAH: Well, it's an interesting one because we tend to get generations there rather than one age group. The fans that we had originally – some come back to be inquisitive, to kind of re-visit the music, some have always been there – they've been with us for 30 years and come to every show. But nostalgia and vintage is such a big thing at the moment that we're getting a really young audience.

My album sales have picked up considerably in the last 10 years thanks to young students wanting vintage material and re-invention – resurfacing of vinyl. People want vinyl in their hands now and manufacturers are making record players again. It's incredibly exciting time for live music.

And when I look over an audience I see 16 years olds, 18 years olds, I see 40 years olds, I even see 60 years olds. There seems to be no boundaries. The age groups don't seem be putting boundaries and bubbles around themselves. They're all out there together. And it's great! It's a great time for live music.

DOM: Well, one of the things I do when I'm doing these live interviews is I put a notice up about them and I got a question from - which is relevant to what you've just been saying - from Martin Piper who asked me to ask you is to whether you still have a turntable at home and whether you play vinyl yourself or if you've moved to a kind of more electronic generation of playout?

TOYAH: My vinyl is all up in the attic. I am praying it hasn't warped and it's all in good shape. I haven't even looked at it in about 25 years. So I have my collection. It's a good collection. I've got some fabulous first edition prints there from The Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones … but I have to say that I don't have a turntable.

I listen to everything on my laptop, I'm probably not a purist when it comes to music. I'm more a kind of inquisitive pleasure seeker. And I kind of trawl through Youtube looking for new stuff. But I'm not sure I would get a turntable. I don't like stuff – I'm not a collector. I kind of like my home to be incredibly neat with as little in it as possible.

DOM: So what is in your attic can actually be contained in something the size of mobile phone or less?

TOYAH: Yeah - I know! It's incredible!

DOM: Yeah. Thinking about the sort of the album years one of things I miss - I'm totally not a luddite like yourself - kind of remember albums with nostalgia, quite happy to access these things in what ever more convenient things there are but the lamentable thing is that the album genre - if you like - came with artwork didn't it? Now I've got a great memory of that live album – was it “Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!”?


TOYAH: Yeah -

DOM: Which came out in the early 1980's with a fantastic painting on it. Tell me about that?

TOYAH: That painting was done by an artist called Dexter Brown who normally paints racing cars and he was a good friend and he'd done the painting for Capital Radio. That painting (above) used to hang at the entrance in Capital Radio in London. And we used it for the artwork.

But I think what's so incredible about this painting is that he really caught the energy of how I am as a performer. And he used to come to the live shows and paint, he'd be on the side of the stage and quickly sketching away in pastels. And they were just astonishing! The energy that comes out of his work ... I don't know were that painting is now – I think it's still in my original record company's office. But they're big paintings.

DOM: Let's think about what the younger generation are being informed as they're creating music, as they're appreciating music from the previous ones and here at Sommer Valley we're very multi-generational. I was fascinated by what the generation below me are listening to. What do you think the youngsters are getting out of your generation – the punk going into New Wave and the sort vibrancy and energy that I remember from that era. Why are they interested in that do you think, why are they coming to see you?

TOYAH: I think because there is a very healthy interested in vintage. Vintage is not a dirty word among the young generation. They are picking up on themes and trends that interest them and they're re-inventing it. They're recycling an awful lot of stuff over the last three decades. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing because they are doing with re-invention.

And I think they're coming to see bands that play their instruments well, that wrote songs particularly well and they're learning a lot from what we're doing. I think they come along and see a masterclass to be honest because we've all been the road for 30 odd years so we know what we're doing and we're not painting by numbers.

So I think they get a lot from how the lyrics are written, how the songs are written and how we perform. And I think they like to see it in the flesh rather than just on Youtube.

DOM: You mentioned – you're obviously still very active as a writer – how do you go about writing new material and how do you go about presenting that to an audience who is very familiar with your past work?

Photo by Dean Stockings

TOYAH: Well, I charted three weeks ago with my American band The Humans (live in London 2001, above) so I don't even pretend to say this is Toyah material. I mean the fact that we're called The Humans means it's not about a lead singer.

The way I write for The Humans I start on Garage Band, which is a basic programme on my computer. I put the bars together, I put the basic bass, drums and keyboards together and then I present it to the band and then we re-arrange it and re-write it. So that's how the nucleus starts with there.

In England, that band is based in Seattle, when I'm writing in England with my writing partner Simon Darlow we go in the studio and I arrive with either a lyric or arrive with a vocal melody and we just piece it together. Writing is incredibly organic and very fluid. I don't have any set method. It's whatever you feel like doing what's going to infuse you and kind of give you energy and you like the sound of it.

But when you are being creative – whether I'm writing a book, I'm writing a short story or a song or a TV project - because I write projects about TV documentaries and present them to TV companies – you've got to start somewhere.

You don't sit and look at a blank page, even if I write a shopping list down it's a starting point that gives you a critical point of view, something you can analyze and you can move on from there – but you never look at a blank page.

DOM: You mentioned your work in TV and of course those of us with long memories will remember a previous West Country excursion for you - appearing on “Shoestring” (below) which is a detective fiction based in Bristol wasn't it?

TOYAH: Yeah, with Trevor Eve. It completely changed my life because they used the “Sheep Farming In Barnet” EP and they used 4 songs off it which worked incredibly well. We shot around Weston-super-Mare and parts of Bristol and it charted the next week. It was just incredible. One of the best things I've ever done!


DOM: Let's get a good memory from you – from that early era. There was a vibrancy, there was real excitement, a sense of innovation going on in music – even if punk came about as a kind of shambolic accident – it had a really strong affect on what was going on in the world of the music companies and also the listeners. What memory from that era sort of sums it up for you?

TOYAH: Well, it divided people incredibly. It was a massive shock in a very conservative country. People didn't understand it and your use of the word shambolic I think was part of its cleverness because it wasn't shambolic at all. It was us all learning on our feet in the middle of the marathon.

I think it was actually a beautiful movement that allowed people who felt completely dispossessed – they couldn't see a future, they couldn't find anything that they related to - it gave them a place to kind of stand and look around them across the landscape that seemed so alien to them. And see other people striving to do things differently.

I think it was of the most important movements in the history of mankind personally because it shifted how we looked at disability, it shifted how we looked the diversity of gayness and sexuality, it shifted how we looked at women in the workplace. It was a fantastic period!

DOM: So you would say that world is a better place for it?

TOYAH: Absolutely!


DOM: This is is an incredible line up – I've got on screen in front of me – that you're going to be with over weekend. Buzzcocks, Damned, Cockney Rejects, what have we got here – Blockheads and the great John Otway, lots of people. Who are you most looking forward to seeing and catching up with?

TOYAH: All of them. I've just recently acted on The Blockheads new video (above) which was great fun. I think it's called “Boys Will Be Boys” and you can actually view it on my website toyahwillcox.com, it's very funny and it's a great song. I'm friends with all of them, I know The Damned, I know Bad Manners, I know The Blockheads. It's going to be a fabulous weekend.

DOM: I'm thinking of coming along – what would you say to me?

TOYAH: Hehe! Get ready to pogo!

DOM: (laughs) It's been fantastic talking to you today Toyah, have a great weekend and also good luck with your wider touring.

TOYAH: That's fabulous, thank you!

You can listen to the interview here

17 March, 2014


TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO DEVON
WITH RICHARD GREEN
15.03.2014



SONG “Brave New World”

RICHARD GREEN: Now that's a bit of “classic Toyah” from back in the day - from 1982 and classic Toyah is with me now! Hello! How are you?

TOYAH (on the phone): I'm really good – how are you doing?

RICHARD: I'm really good. How do you feel if I say “classic Toyah”? Is that sort of – do you think "oh hang on, that was way back when – I've moved on!"

TOYAH: Well, no because I still sing all the classic Toyah and when I play my largest market - which is the UK - I want to play the songs people know me for. And I think that's the whole point of doing a concert really.

If I was going to never do those songs again I would probably choose much smaller venues and just warn people that you're not going to hear anything you've ever heard before so come along with fresh ears – but that isn't the case with me most of the time – I like to mix it all up. I've been in music now – I think for 34 years and I've done over 22 albums. I don't want to ignore any of it, I want to include it all.


RICHARD: So when you do go on tour here in the UK and you've got to do a mix of old and new – how do you decide what to put in?

TOYAH: I like energy – I'm not interested in slow self indulgent stuff. I like everything to be very positive and even if it's not hectic and if it's not boisterous I want it to give an energy to the audience so I choose stuff that I think captures people's imagination and hopefully brings them joy.

Also I'm pretty aware of songs that have narrated people's lives. With the stuff from “Anthem” - I'm so aware of the age group that bought that album and you know, narrated them getting detention in school, getting engaged, getting married, some people getting divorced to that album.

So I'm just aware of that and I like to bring those memories back. And with the new stuff my die hard fans have kept up with me and the new stuff is out there anyway. I've been used on quite a lot of advertising campaigns so there is a familiarity to the new stuff already although people might not know it was me that had written it and sang it.

RICHARD: Mind you - I've seen you live and I can vouch for the fact that you do like to have songs with energy in and you put a bit of your own energy in. I mean . . . is that – listen, I'm not going to upset you by mentioning that you've been in the business for all these years but is it more difficult to have that cut and thrust now or does it just make you feel young getting out there?

TOYAH: It's a different cut and thrust. My body doesn't do what I tell it anymore -

RICHARD: Neither does mine Toyah!

TOYAH: Well, there you go and I'm 56 this year and I have to say I feel physically 56. But it doesn't mean that you stop. It's … you re-interpret and I think there is energy there – if anything I think it's a bit more controlled which is a good thing. I think I'm much more of master of my own technique.

So I actually feel very positive about it. Luckily my voice is still really strong, I've got a great range. And we've slightly altered the volume the we work at because I can't sing like a rock chick for two hours without damaging my most precious asset which is my vocal chords. So I mean we all address this as a band. Luckily my band are only slightly younger than me so neither us want to kind of beat ourselves up. But we do have fun.

RICHARD: Sure. Now, you've got some gigs coming up here in Devon. You've got an “Up Close And Personal” acoustic gig and then you're doing an electric gig.


TOYAH: They're both very different …

RICHARD: Yeah - I was going to say . . . I mean clearly just by the very titles they are different. Is that going to what you just alluded to there that you have to just sort of alter the way you do your busy year of gigging?

TOYAH: Yeah, I'm touring three shows this year, in England it's the “Up Close And Personal” and the Toyah electric band. “Up Close And Personal” - I really love it and so does my MD. Basically I have a cinema screen behind me and we show pictures through my life and some DVD clips. Very short clips which I talk through – how scenes from certain movies were done. When I was 20 I made film with Katharine Hepburn and talk about that, I mention how we did the riot scenes in “Quadrophenia”, how rock videos were made.

But I have on stage with me two guitarists who - I do about ten songs per Act 1, Act 2 so it's still very music driven and there's still a lot of energy but it's anecdotal and it's very funny and it's very irreverent. But it's beautiful. You hear the harmonic tones of the songs. You hear the intention of why the songs were written and you get to hear the stories behind the songs. I don't talk too much because I want people to be engaged with the music. But it's lovely.

We opened it three weeks ago and people are really flogging to it because it's a different approach and we had quite a big producer in three weeks ago and he said through seeing the acoustic show he realised that I am actually a good songwriter and for me that's great.

And then with the electric band, the whole idea of the electric band is - you know,  we want people up and boogieing and having a good time. And whether they're a new audience or an older audience we just want them to go away having had the time of their life. It's live and it's boisterous.

RICHARD: Can't wait to see either of those two shows – they sound absolutely fascinating to me. Can I just ask about the latest project which you've put out there digitally in terms of music – The Humans. Third album just released. Just for people who do not know about The Humans, just explain what it is?


TOYAH: I'll try to be brief in this. We've been together for 7 years and it started – I'm married to a guitarist called Robert Fripp (above with Toyah) and he is hugely admired around the world -

RICHARD: King Crimson etc. Yeah?

TOYAH: Yeah. And the president of Estonia phoned him 7 years ago and asked him to play personally in Estonia at the president's birthday party and my husband is renowned for not being available and he said he couldn't do it.

So I phoned the Estonian embassy up and I said "look – I will put together myself, Bill Rieflin who's been in R.E.M for the last 7 years and my MD. We will come over to Estonia, we will write the music in Estonia and perform it for the president on his birthday." And they said yes and we did it and we ended up touring Estonia.

It was an absolute sell-out, it was a huge hit and the president - we gave him a private concert. We've made three albums since that we always go back to Estonia and play to the president. The latest album “Strange Tales” actually went in straight in the iTunes Rock chart at number 26 ten days ago.

We recorded it just over a year ago in Seattle (in the studio, below) and it's just lovely. It's one of my best pieces of work. It's radio friendly. It still has the oddness that I like to be associated with. It's a hard project to get on the road because my co-writer lives in Seattle and the rest of us live in England. It's a huge passion of mine and in two weeks I go out to tour the West Coast of America with it.


RICHARD: Wow! I going to play now “Get In Your Car” -

TOYAH: Enjoy it!

RICHARD: Is there a story behind it – apart from get in my car?

TOYAH: Yes, there is a story. When we were recording - Pearl Jam, the band, lent us their private recording studio, which is on a very busy road in Fremont in Seattle. And what I love about Seattle - you have all mixes of people, you don't get just one class system – you get everything. All on one street. I'm a great people watcher and this song is about the lost generation who never grew up and it's just called “Get In Your Car And Drive”

SONG "Get In Your Car"

RICHARD: What a project though, interesting the way it came about and interesting you've managed to keep it going, Toyah?

TOYAH: Well, we all love it. It probably does better in America than over here because over here promoters just want Toyah and they want the Toyah brand but it's all available on iTunes and if people fell in love with the track they've only got to go to toyahwillcox.com and they've got all the links to get it off iTunes. But it's a growing passion. Our audience is growing and growing and growing and that's very satisfying.

RICHARD: So where does it fit then because it appears to me – you're saying there will be a fourth The Humans album at some point?

TOYAH: Yeah -

RICHARD: Obviously Toyah likes to have Toyah music out there every now and again, you like to do your stage, you like to do your writing, you like to do your live performance where you go back to the 80's etc. How do you work it all out?!


TOYAH: I think it's a question of inspiration and time. Bill, (above with Toyah) my co-writer in The Humans is in the new King Crimson so I'm going to loose him for 6 months anyway -

RICHARD: Well - I blame Robert for that!

TOYAH: I blame Robert for that as well! Bill is very in demand – he's a very popular man as a friend and as a musician. So where I lucked out Robert will not rehearse King Crimson in the US, he will only do it England so I get Bill in England . . . what - once a month - which means I can say “Right! We're doing this, we're doing that!” It's a bit of a mishmash but I can't see why creativity can't be a bit of mishmash.

For decades now I've had to work to the formulaic of the record companies demands and now I own my own record label and run my own band. The internet is an absolute godsend to me and if the muse strikes then we're creative, if it doesn't strike then we go out and play live until we feel it so we're very fluid in how we work.

RICHARD: Is it more joyful now working in the music business than it was back in the 80's?

TOYAH: Oh yeah! I don't even have to think about that to answer it. Firstly I'm more settled in my own skin. Secondly I respect technique now. I never did when I was young - everything with me was instinct and reaction. And now I respect technique and I've slowed down enough to think about things a bit more. But it's so much easier for me now.

I think one of the – we often talk about the fact that women over 30 get ignored but there's huge benefits in being ignored. I haven't got record company executives trying to rule my life and telling me what I want. I'm a free agent and I love that!

RICHARD: And what about TV and stage and film and all that sort of thing?


TOYAH: Well, I'm … this is where it gets very schizophrenic. I start this week on Steve Oram's (above with Toyah) next movie. Steve Oram is a comedic actor who writes and directs. His last film was called “Sightseers” and his new film is called “Aahhh” - how you spell a scream and he kind of specialises in English comedy horror. So I started that already and I'll be working on that till mid-July taking all the weekends off to go and do concerts so … it's busy.

RICHARD: I can't believe you've got such a busy diary! It's just amazing to think you've got all these string to your bow and you manage to juggle it all perfectly seemingly in 2014. Sounds like you're just having the best time of your life?!

TOYAH: I'm having a good time. But the thing is what really pulls focus for you when you hit 50 is you know you are over the top of the rest of it (both laugh), you know the time you've got left and I'm just not going to waste any of it. So I am having a good time but I'm having a good time while I can.

RICHARD: Well, Toyah, it's been a pleasure speaking to you. Thank you for joining us!

TOYAH: Thank you!

SONG "It's A Mystery"

25 February, 2014

THE HUMANS
NEW ALBUM

The Humans new
album "Strange Tales"
is out now.
Order it HERE (Amazon)
or HERE (iTunes)

Download the album's 
digital booklet HERE 
 

17 February, 2014


TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO 2
SOUNDS OF THE 80's
WITH SARA COX
15.02.2014



SARA: Welcome to the "Sounds of the 80's" – Toyah!

TOYAH: Hello!

SARA: Hello! It's so funny sitting here looking at you now because I've obviously been watching a thousand of your performances in the 80's -

TOYAH: Yeah, right -

SARA: With your incredible hair. (They both laugh) And now it's kind of like sort of warm blondie -

TOYAH: Grey! (They both laugh)

SARA: It's not grey ladies and gentleman at home, listen, it looks fabulous! But you really landed in the early 80's with a real sort of crash bang wallop it seemed, you were like a firecracker!


TOYAH: But he thing was back then women really had to make a mark. We really had to make noise to the point of the 80's in the 70's. You had Lulu, you had Sandie Shaw, you had wonderful wonderful women but you could count them with the fingers on your hand. And then suddenly the 80's came along and if you didn't fit into an ideal at the time, which was either Farrah Fawcett–Majors or "Charlie's Angels", you just wouldn't be seen, you were invisible. 

So we came – I came in trough the punk movement, I always say "we" because there was me, Siouxsie Banshee, Hazel O'Connor. We came in with a band- we had to make a mark. And we did it visually as well as through sound. It just happened to coincide with the beginning of the video age as well, it was perfect timing.

SARA: Did you enjoy all the making of the videos?

TOYAH: Oh I loved it! I'm barely five foot tall, I've always been slightly dumpy muscular woman. I could never make myself look tall and elegant like a model so I went in straight for the image. My saying was “look on the outside how you feel on the inside”. So I had a team of make-up artists, hair artists, we'd all work together.

I'd collect books on Kabuki theatre which is kind of Japanese traditional opera, on Masai tribes, on Papa New Guinea tribes. And we'd put these pictures up and I'd go “oh, I'd like a bit of that” and they'd create these incredible hairstyles with beautiful colours and make-up and became an urban tribes woman basically.

SARA: when you put all this stuff on and you got on the stage did you become “Toyah”?

TOYAH: Yeah. It's very much role play. Derek Jarman, the director, pointed out to me that I'm one of the people that put the mask on and lived in the mask -


SARA: And he was the director of “Jubilee”?

TOYAH: Yes, with Derek Jarman I made “Jubilee” and I made “The Tempest”.

SARA: OK. And “Jubilee” was in 79' wasn't it? (Jokingly) We can't mention it on the "Sounds of the 80's" but you started initially with acting. You've always sort of done both skills -

TOYAH: Acting and singing, yeah. In '77 I was the youngest member of The National Theatre Company, I made two films with Derek Jarman and I made “Quadrophenia” -

SARA: Of course!

TOYAH: And I made a beautiful film with Katherine Hepburn called “The Corn Is Green”.

SARA: Wow. And then as we go into the 80's, music for you -

TOYAH: Just took over.

SARA: When you saw The Sex Pistols, it it true that you didn't think “oh, that's changed my life” - you just thought “I want to have a go at that”?

TOYAH: No the audience changed my life. I saw The Sex Pistols play a club in Birmingham in 1976, there was nothing there that I remembered – when you hear the recordings you think “wow, that's classic” but live Johnny was having a huge strop and kept going off. But what did it for me – I walked into the club and there were 300 people with the same heart as me.

They looked like me, they had different coloured hair, they'd all made their own clothes, they all felt completely dispossessed by the culture they were born into. It was the audience that changed my life.


SARA: You felt at home amongst the audience and thought “I want to perform to these people.” You want to get that reaction?

TOYAH: I was 17 years old and for the first time in 17 years I thought “oh, I do belong.”

SARA: Now, you made quite a bit of music before you had your first sort of success?

TOYAH: “Sheep Farming In Barnet” was number one in the Indie chart for a year. My first single “Victims Of The Riddle” was number one in the first Indie chart for 12 months. “Blue Meaning”, number two in the national chart. And then three years later I had “It's A Mystery”.

SARA: So you just kept churning out all this music, people loved you and -

TOYAH: I mean when I played back then - you did pubs and when I played riots would happen. Two thousand people would turn up to see you in a pub.

SARA: Wow!


TOYAH: We couldn't get EMI to sign us, we couldn't get Virgin – no one wanted to sign us and then suddenly Safari Records came along one day. I was doing “Quadrophenia” with Sting at the time and they said "could you put the band together at lunchtime and play for us?"

So I shot a scene in the morning, put the band together in a room and went back to shoot another scene in the afternoon at Shepperton (Studios) and was able to say to Sting “I've got a record deal”.

SARA: Wow! That is so -

TOYAH: That is one of the proudest moments of my life. (Puts on an annoying voice) “Hey Sting! I've got a record deal!”

SARA: What was the most fun time? Was there a moment where you just thought “this is awesome!

TOYAH: I had my Justin Bieber moment when I got a lifetime ban from the Britannia hotel in Manchester.

SARA: I love that Justin's name is now being used as the rebel because of late, the things that have been going on with him! (They both laugh)

TOYAH: I was in Joel's (Bogen, the guitarist of the "Toyah" band, above with Toyah) clothes and Joel was in my clothes - which happened to stockings and suspenders, bra and pants and we were running around the top floor of the Britannia and I thought it would be fun to dive off the top floor onto that big chandelier that goes down the centre.

And as I did it someone grabbed my ankle and left me hanging and I got dragged out, locked in my bedroom! But we got out again and back then the Britannia had these huge life size china animals like zebras. Joel and I got out of our room, we got a zebra, we put in the lift and we were then arrested trying to get it in the tour bus. And that was it – a lifetime ban from the Britannia.

SARA: Was there more to follow or did you think “oh no, I've done that now”?

TOYAH: No - it was like that 24 hours a day.


SARA: We're going to play “It's A Mystery”. Tell us the story behind that song please?

TOYAH: It's quite a cliched but a powerful story. The band formed in 1980 broke up, it was acrimonious, my head had got too big to be in the same room as anyone else. And suddenly Safari records came to me and said “we have this demo for you, written by Keith Hale” and would I do it?

My instant thought was “this is the end, I don't like this, it's not the way I want to go” and it needed to be turned into a proper song. And lo and behold three months later – it was selling 75 000 copies a day. Pressing plants had to stay open 24 hours a day. It was massive!

SARA: The poor men and women kept from their families, toiling to churn out this hit!

TOYAH: Yeah! And it's interesting because I didn't identify with it and now I sing it virtually every day.

SARA: And what's your relationship with it now?

TOYAH: It's a blessing.

SARA: We do get some quite young listeners on the "Sounds of the 80's" – often admittedly some of them are being forced to by their parents - if that's you, hopefully it will be their first time hearing it. It's “It's A Mystery” by Toyah.

SONG "It's A Mystery"


SARA: So that's “It's A Mystery” from Toyah, she's here on the "Sounds of the 80's." Take us to 1984 – is that right, you became a solo artist?

TOYAH: 1984 I was signed to CBS. Maurice Oberstein - who is legend - had this vision that he wanted all the greatest women in the world signed to one label. There was me, there was Pat Benatar, there was quite a few of us and that was an exciting period for me and it was the first time I was treated as a serious solo artist.

And I ended up on a label with Alison Moyet called the "Portrait" label. But it just didn't happen. They didn't have the power or perhaps they were just expecting the power of the name to sell but it just didn't really happen. And after that I just went into theatre for about six years. But it was a different career.

SARA: Now which career for you holds the fondest memories or is that just an impossible question?

TOYAH: It's impossible. They only way I can answer that is I sing and I act and I write. They're the only things I can do. If those fall away I'm unemployable. I've got three feature films lined up this year and I've got the shows going out this year - 2014 is busier than any year in the whole of my life.

SARA: So this is Toyah "Up Close And Personal" which combines all your skill sets?

TOYAH: Yeah. It's driven my music, it's high energy but I use film behind me so it's going to be a proper set list of songs.

SARA: And who's in the audience? Who are you expecting to be in the audience?

TOYAH: With the "Up Close And Personal" we do arts centres and theatres so it's usually – daughters bring their mums. It's so nice because the daughters come up to me and say “I know you through my mum. What you've done with your life - my mum has started her life again aged 50.” Because a lot of women either divorce or they break up. I've written books about plastic surgery -


SARA: Have you had any work done?

TOYAH: Oh God yeah! All the time!

SARA: Really?!

TOYAH: Yes!

SARA: I need to get some numbers of you! You look awesome!

TOYAH: But I always say what we're never told in our culture – firstly, tell your daughters they're beautiful but secondly with every decade we're enriched – we have something more to bring to the workplace. And I keep hammering that home because I meet so many people that become invisible after fifty. So in my audience -

SARA: But do you think that message can tally up with maybe getting a little bit of a tweak here and there -

TOYAH: It has to be a personal choice. Not a choice because you're looking for a man or it's because you're looking for a job. It's purely personal. I want to eradicate any unhappy memories and I'd do that but by changing myself.


SARA: I've got to mention “Splash!” because you appeared like in a swimming costume – (Toyah laughs) gallivanting on our screens – it's a guilty pleasure, isn't it? I mean on a Saturday night, I love it, the kids love it! Just congrats for being so brave! For people who have not seen it – Toyah threw herself – how high was that jump?

TOYAH: I only made it to the five metre -

SARA: You jumped off backwards into a tuck -

TOYAH: And then dived.

SARA: Impressive that! And you look great! Was it a good experience?

TOYAH: I've never loved anything as much as that!

SARA: We're going to finish with your favourite 80's track?


TOYAH: I think I'm going to go for a Duran Duran track and the reason being – in '81 and 80' I had TV show in Birmingham called “Look! Hear!” and I gave Duran Duran their first TV appearance. They did “Planet Earth” but I'm going to go with … “Say A Prayer For Me”.

SARA: Lovely to chat to you Toyah! Thank you so much!

TOYAH: Thank you, Sara.

SARA: And we'll end with your track from the 80's - “Save A Prayer” by Duran Duran Duran.