Check out our extensive archive
of Toyah LIVE downloads
Transport yourself back in time to the classic At The Rainbow and Good Morning Universe gigs
(including links to the full concerts on Youtube)
and loads more all way from 1976 to 2016 ...
TOYAH ON BBC RADIO HEREFORD & WORCHESTER WITH TAMMY GOODING 16.12.2016
TAMMY: A singer songwriter now living in Pershore – actress too – Toyah Willcox in is involved with this (A Brand Name High Street Funeral Care over 50's Bucket List) and I started out with something you probably shouldn't do … I asked her her age … TOYAH: I'm 58! TAMMY: Are you?! TOYAH: Yeah … TAMMY:Flipping heck! How did that happen?! TOYAH: I'd like to know! It's a surprise to me as well! (Tammy laughs)
But I don't feel I'm old and I don't feel I'm slowing down and I want to remain engaged with life and I would like my chosen career to still need me. So I think it's kind of important we re-assess. We discover who we are and what we want through something like a bucket list. I mean how many times do you sit down and write what you want? We think we know what we want but when you physically write it down and have to perhaps do a short list it does define who you are and I think it's a great exercise.
I'd aim for things that you know you can do rather than things that are just pie in the sky. On my list I've got drive both coasts of the Americas. I'd like to go back to old Tibet. I've been there once and loved it. I'd like to see Iceland. But also I'd like to make pottery and be given a chance to travel with a diamond as it comes out of the ground on its journey to which ever city it's going to be cut in and to cut it and just experience what brings a diamond into the world. TAMMY: Oh wow! TOYAH: Because we value a diamond as something eternal and I would just like to see how that happens and perhaps be involved with it. TAMMY: How very very interesting. And you've talked about kind of knowing who you are and when you write this list it creates you and your future and what you're about. And I've always had the impression - when I was a little girl ... that you almost always knew that because I remember my big sister singing “I Want To Be Free”, she had the record, she put it on my mum's radiogram and she used to play it and play it and play and I always looked as this woman who knew what she wanted and what she was about. Was that the case? TOYAH: In my 20's I knew exactly what I wanted and made absolutely no plans for 30 onwards. And I hit 30 and I thought what have I done? I've got another 70 years to live if I'm lucky. And I'd made no plans. I'd not daydreamed about the future after 30. And I say the word daydream because I think it's a very valuable thing to do. You explore who you are. So I'm now 58, I want to stay working.
I'm definitely achy in the morning when I get up and I'm physically nowhere as strong as I used to be but I'm still vital, I still have daydreams, I still have desires and ambitions so I want to live to live. I want to live every day as special day.
TAMMY: Hmmm. That's brilliant. TOYAH: And I mean that even in the mundane of shopping and cleaning. You know, make it special, make it part of who you are. We live in a world where we are increasingly pulled into technology and twitter and facebook and our heads are kept down looking at small objects. I think my bucket list would be about escaping that and viewing who I am in this world. Another thing – being 58, I have an idea how much time I have. I want to use that time properly. TAMMY: OK. OK. And you're using that time properly in down the road in Pershore aren't you? You still there? You still living in Pershore? TOYAH: I'm not talking about where I live. I'm a local girl. (Tammy laughs) I love where I live! TAMMY: What took you there? What took you to Worcestershire because you grew up in King's Heath – not far from where I grew up in fact. TOYAH: Yeah, I was born in Birmingham and we had a boat on the river Avon at a club called the Wire Mill Club and a caravan. I'd been going to that area all my life at weekends from Birmingham. And when my parents needed to retire I bought them a cottage in a village called Wyre Piddle. And it became evident they needed someone to look after them so I bought the next door cottage which allowed me to personally take care of them of the last ten years of their lives. TAMMY: Oh wow! TOYAH: My husband fell in love with the area so we now live in the area. It's the most fantastic place. I think it's the best place in the UK. The people are wonderful, the shopping experience is great. I've done all my Xmas shopping on my High Street. TAMMY: Good for you! Excellent!
TOYAH: Absolutely and I'm a big believer in supporting the local economy. So I just think (it's)living in paradise. TAMMY: You mentioned your husband there, Robert Fripp (below with Toyah) who was in King Crimson with Greg Lake. I hope you don't mind me mentioning because obviously he passed away recently. Did you know Greg personally yourself? What was he like?
TOYAH: The thing is Greg was in the original King Crimson and then Greg went on to have massive success with other bands so I can't say I was best buddies with him but yes, we knew him. Yesterday at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre I was awarded a star on the Walk Of Stars on Broad Sreet and I gave a concert and I sang Greg Lake's “I Believe In Father Xmas” as a tribute to him. TAMMY: Oh wow! TOYAH: So, yes, he died too young. I think anything under 80 is too young these days. TAMMY: I'm with you, yeah. TOYAH: So it's a sad loss but a great life. TAMMY: Congratulations on that honour on the Walk Of Stars in Birmingham. What was it like getting some recognition just down the road where it started really, at the Old Rep? TOYAH: It meant everything to me. The Birmingham Council have been so respectful and honourable and they're sighting the star where my father's old antique shop was on Broad Street - TAMMY: Oh wow! That's amazing! TOYAH: Jasper Carrot (below with Toyah) has made this all possible, the comedian Jasper Carrot and I just cried all day ... TAMMY: Oh! Bless you! Bless your heart! TOYAH: I had such happy memories of drama school and we're trying to produce a film in Birmingham that will be shot in that theatre over the summer so the connections to Birmingham are well and truly alive for me.
TAMMY: Good stuff, And what about the punk thing? Because me - when I was a kid growing around that area and you'd go into town and you'd see people all with the coloured hair and I thought it was fantastic! TOYAH: It was really exciting. TAMMY: It really was! And how did you get into that thing because I know growing up life wasn't always easy for you health wise and stuff and as you became a woman you seemed to be a woman who knew what she wanted and what she was about? TOYAH: I was just a part of that generation that was different. When I was 12 years old I started making my own clothes because I couldn't buy what I wanted in shops. And then I started dying my hair because I was a hair model for a very famous department store in Birmingham by the age of 14. And then one day someone said "you should go and see this band play called The Sex Pistols."
This about 1974 or 5 and I went into a nightclub called Bogart's on New Street and it was full of 300 kids that looked just like me and I thought I was alone in the world. They all had brightly coloured hair and they'd all made their clothes. So the way I look at it is we were a generation born very differently from everyone else. TAMMY: Yeah, fantastic. And looking back over a career that spans over more than 30 years now – Top 40 singles, 20 albums, books, stage plays, films including “Quadrophenia”, loads of telly. Highlights for you? TOYAH: My highlight is today. I've got six movies coming up - I'm not the lead in any of them but I'm working on them all for many many weeks with kind of healthy character roles. (Toyah in costume for one of the upcoming films "Hound", below) I'll have a hundred shows booked with Toyah band next year including Glastonbury again. So my highlights are happening today.
Live for now. I've had a really great career and I'm still out there doing it. And I'm really really grateful for that because I can enjoy it now. Forty years ago when my career began I was very nervous and not very confident. Today I don't have the pressures of having to release album after album on my shoulder. So I can enjoy and I am enjoying it to the full.
TAMMY: Good for you! And you've got an 80's Invasion Tour coming up in March as well? TOYAH: Yes, in March! We're going to be playing the Birmingham Town Hall. It's myself, Paul Young, China Crisis, Martika. It can all be found on my website. Just remember to put two L's in Willcox – all the tour dates are written down there. Birmingham is probably the closest we're coming to your area but it will be great. TAMMY: How are you enjoying Xmas? In Pershore will you be? TOYAH: We're going to be home with my sister and her husband and just can't wait! Xmas starts now! TAMMY: Fantastic. It's been a real pleasure talking to you. Merry Xmas to you Toyah! TOYAH: And Merry Xmas to you and your listeners and thank you! TAMMY: Thank you very much!
TOYAH ON BBC RADIO WALES WITH WYNNE EVANS 12.12.2016
WYNNE: My next guest has had a career spanning more than 30 years. She's had 8 Top 40 singles, released over twenty albums, written two books and appeared in 40 stage plays and 10 feature films and voiced and presented numerous television programmes. Hello punk rocker Toyah Willcox! TOYAH: Well, what an introduction! Hello Wynne, how are you doing today? WYNNE: You've done all of that! Not me – it's you! TOYAH: Well, thank you. I've actually done a bit more than that. I've now done 15 feature films. I've got six coming up in the next six months. WYNNE: No-one likes a show off Toyah, no-one - TOYAH: I know no-one likes a show off (Wynne laughs) but when you're 58 and you're still working I think you should shout it from the rooftops! WYNNE: I think you definitely should. And you're looking to do your bucket list aren't you? Over 50's bucket list? Because it's become a really popular thing to kind of do? TOYAH: Well, absolutely. I think bucket lists kind of define you and they help you focus on your time and how you want to spend your time. Presently in the UK there's over 24 million over 50's and the idea is now it's the time to look at your bucket list, live your dreams. You've worked hard for where you are and hopefully your children have moved on to, you know, education and having their own families. Think about the future and plan the future. I'm 58 years old and I find it quite a rewarding thing my finite time left is making me more creative than ever before and I want to fit in as much as possible. And plan things and not be a burden on people. Say, when I'm no longer here, I don't want to leave a mess behind me. I've actually spent the last twelve months clearing out my house so that I'm only living with things that I look at, that I firstly need and use and secondly make me happy when I look at them. So that's what I'm kind of talking about today. Planning your future so you can enjoy your time. WYNNE: Yeah, because this is all done by (Brand name) Funeral Care – ironically? So they're going to say "before we meet you do some good stuff?" TOYAH: Yeah, exactly. But also what they are saying and it's quite rightly you've got an age old company full of sympathetic experienced people who are there to carry you through one of the hardest experiences of your life. Now, the negative side apart from passing away, there's a lot of bureaucracy. The moment someone has passed away you've got to find wills and if there isn't a will, there's complications. Letters of wishes, instructions on the burial. You really don't want to talk about that when you are heartbroken and grieving. So what the (Brand name) Funeral is asking is that you plan. And you plan with sympathetic people and you talk with loved ones about what they want. Which gives you peace of mind. You can also invest in paying for the funeral and freezing the cost. So get the practical things done. At the time you don't want to think about it.
WYNNE: I've already said to mine, look if your mother goes first, you'll have you know … If I go first you'll have fun. If your mother goes first you'll have a great inheritance. That's the way I look at it. TOYAH: You know, Wynne I think that's fantastic because it is inevitable so lets look at the good side. My parent's are both gone. My father went suddenly with a stroke and his funeral was absolutely fantastic but he left so will which put my mother unable to access her bank accounts. Luckily we formed a barrier of protection around her and kept her going until probate was over. So it's little things like that. WYNNE: Little things yeah - TOYAH: It's tiny things - WYNNE: What's on your bucket list then? Because you must've done everything? TOYAH: Funny enough my bucket list isn't that different to the one you can find on the (Brand name) Funeral Care website. I want to drive both coasts of America, I want to go to old Tibet, Iceland, I would love to make pottery. I would love to cut a diamond. WYNNE: Hang on - why don't we re-create the scene from "Ghost" – me and you? Coz I've done pottery on the show, we could do it together? TOYAH: Yeah ... I'm a lot older than you, I'm very happy to do that but – (Wynne sings “Oh my love" in the background) I'm the one who's going to come out best on this deal. (Wynne laughs) So What's on your bucket list then?
WYNNE: Well, I'll tell you what's on my bucket list. People might beshocked, OK? Having been quite a respectful opera singer for twenty years. I want a tattoo. TOYAH: Oh really? And what would that tattoo be? WYNNE: I've no idea. That's why I haven't had it. Otherwise I would've had it. TOYAH: And you've got no tattoos at all? WYNNE: No, none. Have you got one? TOYAH: No, I haven't got one but funny enough it's on people's bucket list. It's number 26. WYNNE: Is it number 26? TOYAH: Yeah, “get a tattoo”. WYNNE: Yeah. I want a tattoo. That's top of my list at the moment. TOYAH: Do you know they hurt? WYNNE: Yeah! I've had my back waxed. Nothing is going to hurt as much as that bad boy! (Toyah laughs) That proper hurt, that did! That's proper – apart from child birth - TOYAH: Did you do that out of vanity? Or was it a bet? WYNNE: No, it was Children In Need (a UK charity) TOYAH: Oh well done matey! That's great! WYNNE: Listen, I want to listen to your song we all know you for, OK? Will you tell us a little bit about it - “It's A Mystery”. Could you just tell us how it came about? TOYAH: Well, “It's A Mystery” - by the time I was presented with the song I'd already had three albums number two in the album charts, which 40 years ago was a big achievement, but not as visible as having a hit single. So I'd done that without a hit single. We had the first indie charts in the late 70's and I'd remained number one in the first indie charts for three years with my very alternative singles.
WYNNE: Wow! TOYAH: So the record company asked me to do a track called “It's A Mystery”, which mainly was an instrumental. So I went into the studio with the (song's) writer Keith Hale, we made it into a pop song format, four minutes long. I wrote a second verse and it became “It's A Mystery”. I had doubts about it because I was a crazy punk rocker, who'd never ever admitted to any vulnerability. And I think is quite vulnerable. When it came out it sold so many units, something like 75 000 a day. The UK ran out of vinyl and we had to hire men in white vans to go around the whole of UK to buy old vinyl so the pressing plants could melt it and print “It's A Mystery”. WYNNE: Wooow! What a story and what a song. Let's listen to it now and I'll be talking more to Toyah after we hear her in action. This is “It's A Mystery”. (After the song) WYNNE: “It's A Mystery” by Toyah who is special guest today and Toyah, I have been waiting 35 years to say something to you … TOYAH: Ohoho! It's a long time! WYNNE: Yes! Can I tell you a story? TOYAH: Yes please! WYNNE: OK, so just over 35 years ago I was eight and my mum did a lot of work youth in Camarthen and she was invited to have a lunch with the Queen Mother. OK? TOYAH: Yes … WYNNE: Also, that day having lunch with the Queen Mother was somebody called Toyah Willcox. TOYAH: I remember it! WYNNE: OK. At the end of the day my mother didn't have a lift back to Paddington and she had a lift with Toyah Willcox to Paddington. OK? And she didn't know who you were, right? TOYAH: Oh wow! WYNNE: You were like the hottest thing in the world at that time, right? And I said to my mum “so how did you get back to Paddington then, mum?” and she said “oh, this lovely girl, she's had a hair dyed” - coz my mother is a hairdresser - “She's had a hair coloured all colours, lovely called Toyah Willcox, she gave me a lift back to Paddington” and I was like “Mum! That's TOYAH WILLCOX!!!!” (Toyah laughs) So thank you for giving my mother a lift back to Paddington 35 years ago. TOYAH: It's a pleasure. What can I say? WYNNE: Didn't see that coming, did you?! TOYAH: You can't leave a Welsh woman in the middle of London! (Wynne laughs) WYNNE: I love that! No you're right, you can't! And you're coming to Wales next year?
TOYAH: Yes I am! I'm on the Invasion 80's Tour with Paul Young, Martika and China Crisis!
WYNNE: Yeah, you're in Rhyl Pavillion, 2nd of March - TOYAH: We open at Rhyl – absolutely! Can't wait! WYNNE: And then you're doing a solo kind of acoustic show at the Acapela Studios in Pentyrch in April? TOYAH: That's the 1st of April, isn't it? WYNNE: Yeah, that's going to be great! TOYAH: Such a fabulous venue! If you've never been there and you're within distance of getting there it's magical! It's an old church. The sound is incredible. I'm so excited! I can't wait to get there! I played it the beginning of this year and just fell in love with the place. WYNNE: I love it there. It's of my favourite places, it's gorgeous. TOYAH:Ah! WYNNE: And they get some fantastic names there like yourself. Now, yesterday you were honoured by Birmingham Walk Of Stars? TOYAH: Yes! WYNNE: What was that like? TOYAH: I've managed to stop crying! WYNNE: Aww! TOYAH: I've been so emotional. Even talking about it! I think because it celebrates everything my family did to get me where I am today. My family were very influential in Birmingham. Construction company, build influential buildings and my farther was an architect and my grand father was a construction engineer so they built really important buildings in that city and for me to get this star on Broad Street with my name on it - WYNNE: Gorgeous! TOYAH: - Which will be there permanently … I did a concert at the Birmingham Rep yesterday and then Jasper Carrot, the comedian, presented me with the star and I've just been in tears all day …
WYNNE: Aww! It's gorgeous - which brings me to my last question to you. How competitive are you? TOYAH: Do you know it depends who I'm with. If I'm with my husband I am so competitive! WYNNE: Yes, that's the way of the world! TOYAH: We can't play croquet it's just … I want to kill him (Wynne laughs) Healthily competitive. WYNNE: OK. So I do a thing called the Celebrity Leader Board OK? I give you twenty seconds and the subject is particular to you and you have to give me as many answers as you can? TOYAH:Oh hell! WYNNE: Top of the leader board is at the moment Johnny Ball. Followed by Jason Donovan, Romesh Ranganathan and at the bottom of the leader board is the magician Dynamo. TOYAH: Well, that doesn't leave much hope for me … WYNNE: Not a lot but Toyah Willcox – and I'm happy cheat because remember you gave my mother a lift 35 years ago and it's pay you back time - TOYAH: OK - WYNNE: I want you to name as many people on the Birmingham Walk Of Starts in twenty seconds as you can and your time starts now! TOYAH: Ruby Turner, Bev Bevan, Lenny Henry, Julie Walters … er, Jasper Carrot, umm … WYNNE: Noddy Holder - TOYAH: Oh thank you! Noddy Holder, Ozzie Osbourne, Murray Walker, The Archers, Norman Painting, Tony Iommi - WYNNE: You know your Walk Of starts don't you!? You scored 11. TOYAH:Is that all?! WYNNE: Well, top of the leader board is 19 but because you gave my mother a lift in London 35 years ago ... OK? You get 8 bonus points which gives you 19 which puts you with Jason Donovan at the top of the Celebrity Leader Board! (Toyah cracks up laughing) See, you didn't know that lift would be so useful to you? TOYAH: I am so grateful to your mother! WYNNE: Toyah thank you so much for talking with me today! TOYAH: That was fun! Happy Xmas to you all! WYNNE: Happy Xmas, you take care! That was Toyah Willcox, what a lovely gorgeous person she is, isn't she?
TOYAH ON BBC RADIO 2 SOUNDS OF THE 80's WITH SARA COX 16.9.2016
SARA: I am completely thrilled to welcome Toyah on the show. Good evening Toyah!
TOYAH: (on the phone) Hello! How are you doing?!
SARA: I'm marvellous! All the better for hearing you, you young lady. How are you doing yourself?
TOYAH: I'm pretty good, thank you. Enjoying this summer immensely.
SARA: Excellent stuff. What can you normally be found doing on a Friday night?
TOYAH: Most Friday night's I'm actually on stage at this time. Either doing my acoustic show or my rock show. So it's actually quite nice to be here talking to you instead.
SARA: Very nice. You've got some live shows coming up in October, haven't you? TOYAH: Yes, I've got a lot coming up! October I'm doing live shows all over the UK and then in March I'm actually on the road with Paul Young for the whole month.
SARA: Well, that is exciting. Your tour dates are taking you everywhere. So with Paul Young you're going from Rhyl to Leicester to Stoke to Edinburgh, all the way to Basingstoke, Birmingham, Huddersfield, London, Newcastle.
All the dates are online if you want to get more details. It's the “80's Invasion Tour” Tickets are on sale now. Including Martika and China Crisis will also be playing. That is going to
be quite a tear-up, isn't it?
TOYAH: I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I think there's a great mix of music there. I work with China Crisis and Paul Young all the time, I've never met Martika so I'm really looking forward to that. And she had a massive massive hit with “Toy Soldiers” world wide so I think it's going to be an absolutely fantastic night.
SARA: Such a good song – we'd love to get Martika on the show actually. Will you put in a word for us, please Toyah?
TOYAH: I certainly will.
SARA: How do you keep yourself so fit and eager and able to do all this live work. For people listening now, might be nursing a glass of Rioja, eating something pastry based and there's you just throwing yourself around with so much vigour and energy!
TOYAH: I think it's because the audience is getting younger which is a total surprise for all of us. And we go out there and there's this audience of about 18 to 30 who know all the lyrics, they know everything about us and it's kind of "let's do this while we still can".
I mean I'm in almost 40 years in the business now and firstly I'm really grateful I'm doing it and I love every minute of it but I am slightly amazed so I'm not going to go away, "I've got more important things to do – I'm going on holiday". That's just not me. I live and breathe music and just can't wait to get out there every night.
SARA: I love that your audience have got a sort of Benjamin Button effect going on as you get a little bit older they're getting younger and younger ... (Toyah laughs)
TOYAH: It's one of the most bizarre things I've ever experienced!
SARA: Do their parents turn them onto the music, do you think?
TOYAH: I think that's it. I think that is totally it. The parents still play this music. The 80's means so much to so many people. You've still got full songs, this is the decade before the 90's came in and sampled stuff so the songs are all epic and -
SARA: That's why we've got his show, that's why people love this show so much because, you know, it's mine and Fiona's (producer of the show) duty to bring people the 80's hits every week.
TOYAH: You are the custodian of artists like me.
SARA: Yeah! We love you and we play quite a lot of Toyah and we always get a good response when we play you. So listen, we're going to play one of your B-sides now. What have you chosen?
TOYAH: I'm funny with B-sides because my B-sides always let me let of steam and be slightly weird as a writer because I didn't have the pressure of radio play over my head so it's really ironic that you want a B-side. So I've chosen song called “Voodoo Doll” which was on the 12 inch version of “Thunder In The Mountains”.
SARA: We find this quite a lot with B-sides where people can be just a little bit freer, the song's a little bit longer, sometimes they're instrumentals - TOYAH: This is something that we still play in the set so it's still relevant today for us.
SARA: So it's the B-side of the 12 version of this -
Plays a snippet of “Thunder In The Mountains”
TOYAH: That's correct!
SARA: Woo! I'm skipping like a gazelle around the studio, Toyah! (Toyah laughs) We all know this you see, we all know “Thunder In The Mountains.” With a video was directed by Godley and Creme – fancy! But the B-side … what's it called? “Voodoo Doll”?
TOYAH: “Voodoo Doll”
SARA: Ooh, nice! What's the story behind it?
TOYAH: It's about a kind of goth punky girl who behaves like a voodoo doll and exercising her feminine power as if it was rhetoric and mystical and magical.
SARA: Toyah, always lovely to chat to you. Thank you so much, we're play the B-side now. It's called “Voodoo Doll” as you say and it's the B-side of the 12 inch of “Thunder In The Mountains” from 1981. That record got to number 4 in the chart. There's a few facts for you.
Go online please if you'd like to check the tour dates for Toyah and her own stuff as well, loads of her own shows in October and you can watch “Up Close And Personal” or “Proud, Loud and Electric”. Thank you very much Toyah!
TOYAH: Thank you Sara and God bless you!
SARA: Here we go, here is “Voodoo Doll”.
Tickets for the "80's Invasion Tour 2017" please visit toyahwillcox.com
JO GOOD: Now, fans of the 80's star Toyah Willcox are going to be very pleased to know that she is back with a UK tour next year. She's going to be playing the 02 in March featuring artists Paul Young, Martika, China Crises and before that I am so pleased to say, I've never met her before but I've been up close. She joins me here on the afternoon show. Welcome!
TOYAH: Thank you so much!
JO: Do you know what I love about you is – because you're going to be singing live and we came into the studio and we thought we'll set it up and everything but you were late because you were doing an other interview and you just came in and you just went “Oh, that's alright. Just give me a pair of headphones.” (Toyah laughs) And I guess Toyah, because you've done everything, haven't you? This is no big deal?
TOYAH: When you do the festivals, summer is festival season, you literally walk on stage and sing and you don't get a sound check and you just have to kind of land on your feet while running and it's absolutely fine. Most of the time, 99.99 % of the time it's OK.
JO: When you came in I said – first of all : you were the first to transfer from music into acting. No-one had done that – people do it all the time now. You get models acting and everything else. But it was a big deal when you did because everyone knew you for punk!
TOYAH: It was social no-no.
TOYAH: Acting wouldn't accept music and vice versa.
JO: Exactly! And you did that but was it easy for you – to make that transition?
TOYAH: It was easy in that I said yes to everything. I never turned anything down. I love working, I define myself by my work and I'm quite lost if I'm not working. And the joy of what I do is these odd tangents just appear in my life. I mean at the moment I have a musical in London at The Scoop, “Crime And Punishment”, with 13 of my songs in.
And that was just an mail from a writer/director saying “I love your music. Can you write some stuff for this show and can I put your retrospective in as well?” And I said of course you can! And it's magnificent! So I never know where I'm going to go. When ever I've tried to hone my future it doesn't work so I just allow the future to reach to the present and pull me forward. And it's always been very very rewarding.
JO: Well, I remember – “Quadrophenia”, obviously … I always hear and remember and I said this to you – I was filming you with a local television crew when you were playing Peter Pan (below) at Chichester Festival Theatre -
TOYAH: I remember it. 1993.
JO: You were hanging. You were literally hanging from the rafters!
TOYAH: I flew from the back of the auditorium. First time it was done. It was so exciting. And I remember – I don't think you were there but one night they didn't slow the trajectory of the travel down the fly wire and I hit the back wall. And people would find it so funny when that happened because it looked deliberate but it could be terrifying because you're 60 foot (sic) up in the air.
JO: Flying over he audience?
TOYAH: Over the audience.
JO: Yeah, you're right. Never been done. For me it was “Trafford Tanzi” that really – so loads of people won't even know what we mean. Why have they never brought that back?
TOYAH: Well, I couldn't do it. I'm 58 and I just couldn't do that now. At the time, this was 1983 and it had been touring the provinces for quite a few years as a success with an actress called Julia North. And I was asked if I would take it to the The Mermaid (Theatre) at the same time when Debbie Harry opened it in New York. And they were opening round the world the same week.
And I was playing a female wrestler in London when a law applied that no woman could wrestle within a mile of London City. My trainer was Mitzy Mueller, a female European champion wrestler and we had to train outside London. She had to pretend not to train me when we were in London.
TOYAH: Yeah. It was astonishing.
JO: I didn't know any of that.
TOYAH: Here you had a play, a huge success, about a woman who fights her husband in the ring during the breakdown of her marriage. And we weren't legally allowed to wrestle in London, it could only happen in the play.
JO: How extraordinary – I had no idea! Then … now, did you ever read Laurence Olivier's (below with Toyah in "The Ebony Tower") autobiography where he mentions you?
TOYAH: No! Did he mention me?!
JO: Because you were at the National (Theatre) weren't you?
TOYAH: Yeah - JO: And he said “I'm in my dressing room and" – someone voiced it on (BBC) Radio 4 - “and a window opened above me and someone is hanging out called Toyah doing a vocal warm up” and it was hysterical because now it means nothing but at the time it was the clash of two cultures, wasn't it?
TOYAH: I love the National Theatre! I've worked there three times, it's the best experience in the world. But when I first worked there I was 18 years old and I'd just moved to London especially to be part of the company in a play called “Tales From The Vienna Woods” and I was just so excited.
I was uncontrollable, I was hanging out of windows, I was stealing wheelchairs, racing around the corridors backstage in wheelchairs, I was hacking of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier. I mean all of them were really hacked of with me. They had so much tolerance. Gielgud referred to me as The Monkey because I was always hanging out of windows.
JO: Isn't it, I mean for those people listening now because the National is … there are people switching to the music industry there but it was revolutionary you being there? It shook that place up! Backstage, they'd never seen anything like it. Now, before we go any further you have promised that you are going to perform live on this show. So this is not pre-recorded. This is Toyah singing live. Can we start with “I Want To Be Free”?
TOYAH: Yeah, go for it. I've not warmed up but let's see what happens!
JO: She's literally just out of the lift so here we go!
Toyah sings “I Want To Be Free”
JO: Oh my goodness! I am absolutely speechless! That was amazing!
TOYAH: Thank you so much!
JO: To be in your presence to do that! I never thought that was going to happen! I just thought how are we going to do this because we had no time to rehearse. I came in here thinking I'll have it all set up and you just ran in and I said "oyah you're only my height, that mike is ever so high!" "No no it's fine" and then you just do that! For me your voice is as good if not better than it ever has been you know and a lot of people, forgive me for saying this, who've been in the industry as long as you, often it's damaged and it's spent -
TOYAH: It's lifestyle. I'm very very tough about my lifestyle. For example I had a meeting in a restaurant last night and it was too loud so I left.
JO: Good girl!
TOYAH: Because I will not damage this gift and I'm happier in my body now and I'm happier singing than I was 30 years ago. I'm more confident. And I am aware if I'm not careful I can do a lot of damage. So I really only sing 4 times a week throughout the year.
Tonight I'm at the 02 Islington which is going to be a punk/gothic show, it's a big sing. A big sing. All the early punk stuff. So it's kind of nice doing this with you now Jo, because I'm warming up for that. You've given me the chance. But I will not go near smokers, I will not drink, I will not shout above volume, I really need to protect this voice.
JO: Is that because punk by it's sheer nature broke all the rules, you know people were screaming including yourself but hearing that I know you could go three times – you could open that window and London would hear you, you didn't need a microphone. Do you know what I mean?
TOYAH: That was me turned up to two.
JO: Yes so you are really holding back. Were you trained then to sing or did you have training after you started?
TOYAH: I've had training three times in my life. I went to a school that taught opera and ballet so my musical training was German opera which really helped build the voice. Then when I went to the National Theatre they were very concerned about my lisp and I had wonderful voice training with Kate Fleming who trained everyone from Ian Mckellen right through to me.
And about seven years ago I decided to re-train the voice because it wasn't sounding right and it didn't feel right when I was singing so re-trained at Stratford with the RSC's (The Royal Shakespeare Company) voice trainer Penny and she completely got me back on track and taught me techniques that I now pass on to other singers when they tell me their voice is uncomfortable. I say “well, just try this because it's revolutionary."
JO: You can hear the strength in your voice is there, my goodness. Right, questions that are coming in and you know, just tell me – so many emailing, we haven't got time for all of these so … This is from Andrew who asks about somewhere you live, so you don't have to answer! (Toyah laughs) “Can you please ask Toyah what it was like living in -” Do you mind me – famous person's house?
TOYAH: Yeah, go for it.
JO: “What it was like living in Cecil Beaton's grand old house? Was there anything left of his time there?”
TOYAH: There was plenty left. When we bought the house, which was is Salisbury, Reddish House, the curtains were original, the carpets were original. They were made in Wilton which was only six miles away. And this was a house where Princess Margaret announced her engagement apparently before the Queen knew. She went straight to Cecil Beaton. Mick Jagger took Bianca Jagger there. It was a fabulous house. So atmospheric and beautiful.
JO: So there you go, that's your answer Andrew. This is from Paul. He says “Jo, gosh, you have real punk royalty live on your show. I grew up listening to Toyah and Adam and The Ants and The Clash. What amazing memories. What is her favourite memory from that era?”
TOYAH: I think my toughest memory which is also my favourite memory - I played Drury Lane on Xmas eve 1981 (below) and it was televised. I was the guest of The Old Grey Whistle Test. It was the ultimate accolade to be asked to do that. And we had 12 million viewers. I remember the terror but also remember the ecstasy. It was a fantastic show.
I wished that I'd had a week off before doing it but I had been doing matinees that week, concert matinees for my younger audience so by the time we were on air, I think ten o'clock on Xmas Eve, I was pretty spent but knowing you were going out live across Europe kind of lifted you. And that for me was one of my greatest memories.
JO: So there will be loads of our listeners who would've watched that go out live. Bob Harris (one of the hosts of The Old Grey whistle Test) was actually on the show a couple of weeks ago. Right, let me give details of the tour … I was told you might sing “It's A Mystery”?
TOYAH: Of course!
TOYAH: You've got to remember the 80's Invasion though. This is March and we're playing the 02 Indigo.
JO: And also with The Scoop we need to push. Right, 80's Invasion Tour 2017 as I say. It is in March. 2nd to the 19th of March. The London date Thursday the 16th of March. Tonight's gig – is it sold out?
TOYAH: I don't know but it's the Islington 02 and please come along because it's going to be rocking.
JO: Now I can't believe this – we're going have another track and this is “It's A Mystery”! Are you ready?
TOYAH: You bet!
Toyah sings “It's A Mystery”
JO: Right! That's Toyah. This is from Karen “Wow! She's singing my favourite ever song, “It's A Mystery”. She is a legend!” This is from Margaret who says “please tell Toyah I have really fond memories of her when she was in the Panto at the St Alban Arena. She was excellent! Absolutely love your show!” Robert says “she is still the grooviest chick in town!” There you go. Toyah, thank you so much!
TOYAH: Thank you Jo, that was great! Thank you to everyone.
Minx (1985), Desire (1987), Prostitute (1998), Ophelia's Shadow (1991), Take the leap (1994), Dreamchild (1994), Looking Back (1995),
The acoustic album (1996), velvet lined shell (2003),in the court of the crimson queen (2008)
Phoenix (Dreamchild Re-Issue)(1997), anthem (1999), The Changeling (1999), SHEEP FARMING IN BARNET/THE BLUE MEANING
(2002), Prostitute (2003), OPHELIA'S SHADOW (2003), WARRIOR ROCK - TOYAH ON TOUR (2005), Love Is The Law (2005), Minx (2005),
Mayhem (2005), Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (Live)(2006), Take The Leap (2006)
TOYAH! TOYAH! TOYAH!(1984), Mayhem (1985), BEST OF TOYAH (1994), LIVE & MORE (1998)
PROUD, LOUD & HEARD - THE BEST OF TOYAH (1998), THE SAFARI RECORDS SINGLES COLLECTION
PART 1: 1979-1981 (2005), THE SAFARI RECORDS SINGLES COLLECTION PART 2: 1981-1983 (2005), GOOD MORNING UNIVERSE
THE VERY BEST OF TOYAH (1979-2003) (2008)
Discography: Alternative domestic and foreign releases please click here
COLLABORATIONS (FULL ALBUMS)
TOYAH with Robert FRIPP "The Lady Or The Tiger" (1986), SUNDAY ALL OVER THE WORLD (Toyah with Robert Fripp)
"Kneeling At The Shrine" (1991), THE HUMANS (Toyah, Bill Rieflin and Chris Wong) "We Are The Humans" (2009), "This Fragile Moment"
(Toyah, Markus Reuter, Arvo Urb, Chris Wong and Robert Jurjendal)(2009), THE HUMANS "Sugar Rush" (2011, The Humans "Strange Tales" (2014)
(above) Thunder in the mountains 7" (1981), thunder in the mountains 7" picture disc (front & back) (1981),
thunder in the mountains 12" picture disc (& cover) (1981), four more from toyah EP 7" (1981), stand proud flexidisc (black) (1981), sphinx/for you flexidisc (green) (1981)
(above) brave new world 7" (1982), brave new world 7" picture disc (front & back) (1982), be proud, be loud, be heard 7"
(1982), be proud, be loud, be heard 12" picture disc (front & back) (1982), rebel run 7" (1983), Rebel Run 12" (same cover - no photo)
the vow 7" (1983), the vow 12" (1983) (Same cover - no photo)
(above) Don't fall in love 7" (1985), don't fall in love 12" (1985), soul passing through soul 7"
(1985), soul passing through soul 12" (1985), soul passing through soul 7" picture disc (front & back)(1985), world in action 7" (1985), world in action 12" (1985),
echo beach 7" (1987), eacho beach 7" picture disc (1987), moonlight dancing 7" (1987), Moonlight dancing 12" (1987)
(Above) out of the blue (1993), now and then (1994), little tears of love EP (2002), Latex messiah (viva the rebel in you) (2007), download only / also on the "in the court of the crimson queen" album (2008),
Fallen (Yomanda Ft. Toyah (2011), 21st Century Supersister (2011)
(Above) "Sheep Farming In barnet" - Red vinyl album (1979), "The Blue Meaning" - blue vinyl album (1979), "Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!" - white vinyl album (1980),
"Minx" (Portrait/Epic (CBS)) CD (1985), "Desire" (EG Records) CD (1987) (the only Toyah CD not yet re-issued, the digital re-issue is available here), one sided picture disc of "anthem" (album), catalogue n:o safari NBR VOOR-1
"Don't Fall In Love (I Said) (Remix) / Soul Passing Through Soul (Remix)" Red Translucent 12" (Sold in Mexico only)(Epic – SCL-45059)
Discography: rare & collectible releases please click here
MUSIC VIDEO & DVD
(above from top left)
Toyah at the rainbow (1981), GOOD MORNING UNIVERSE (1982), TOYAH! TOYAH! TOYAH! (ALL THE HITS) (1984), Toyah (the singles)(1986)