12/09/2020

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MUSIC NEWS
SEPTEMBER 2020


A remastered & expanded 2CD+DVD and a remastered Limited Edition White Vinyl LP of Sheep Farming In Barnet will be released 4th of December 2020

Pre-order the boxset HERE and the vinyl album HERE


2CD+DVD TRACK LIST
(All tracks remastered 2020)

CD1: SHEEP FARMING IN BARNET

1. Neon Womb
2. Indecision
3. Waiting
4. Computer
5. Victims Of The Riddle
6. Elusive Stranger
7. Our Movie
8. Danced
9. Last Goodbye
10. Victims Of The Riddle 
(Vivisection)
11. Race Through Space

Bonus Tracks

12. Gaoler
13. Bird In Flight
14. Tribal Look
15. Love Me 
(Dangerfield Session)*
16. Tribal Look 
(Alternate Mix)*
17. Our Movie 
(Shoestring Version)*
18. Waiting 
(Shoestring Version)*
19. Neon Womb 
(Shoestring Version)*
20. Danced 
(Shoestring Version)*


CD2: RARE & ARCHIVE MATERIAL

Spaceward Studios Demos May 1978

1. Computers (Demo)*
2. Little Boy (Demo)*
3. Close Encounters (Demo)*
4. Watch Me Sane (Demo)*

Spaceward Studios Demos Dec 1978

5. Jailer (Demo)*
6. Race Through Space (Demo) *
7. Elusive Stranger (Demo)*
8. Problem Child (Demo)
9. Israel (Demo)
10. Christmas Carol (Demo)

Chappell Studios May-June 1979

11. Race Through Space 
(Alternate Mix)*
12. Neon Womb (No Saxophone)*
13. Our Movie (Alternate Mix)*
14. Waiting (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
15. Indecision (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
16. Computer (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
17. Vivisection (Improvisation)*

Rollerball Rehearsal Studios Oct 1979

18. Love Me (Demo)
19. Tribal Look (Demo)
20. Guilty (Demo)
21. Three-Sided Face (Demo)

* Previously unreleased


DVD: RARE & ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

1. The Story Behind The Album: 2020 Interview
2. Track-By-Track Album Commentary: 2020 Interview
3. Neon Womb: Acoustic Session 2020
4. Computer: Acoustic Session 2020
5. Bird In Flight: Acoustic Session 2020
6. Race Through Space: What’s On 12/04/1979
7. Toyah Interview: What’s On 19/04/1979
8. Danced: The Old Grey Whistle Test 04/03/1980
9. Indecision: The Old Grey Whistle Test 04/03/1980

For more info at toyahwillcox.com Sheep2020


FEATURE NEWS

TOYAH AT HOME
THE LOCKDOWN PERFORMANCES

Head over to our sister page to check out the latest feature:
Toyah At Home - The Lockdown Performances 2020
(So far! More to come)


There's two videos featuring all of the songs
performed during the 12 episodes plus
song info and MP3 downloads

There's also a compilation video of the songs
performed during the Live In Your Living
Room episode in May 2020

You can watch the episodes
in full on Youtube here

Check out all of out special features HERE
 
 

03/05/2020

MUSIC NEWS

 THE HUMANS BOX SET
OUT NOW

NOISE IN YOUR HEAD, a 4 CD + DVD box set containing
the complete works by Toyah & The Humans
is available to order now
There are also 4 coloured vinyl releases 
Order We Are The Humans (2009) HERE
Order Sugar Rush (2011) HERE
Order Strange Tales (2014) HERE
Order Live At The Scala 2010 HERE
There's also a Deluxe version of the first album
We Are The Humans. Listen/buy HERE


For more info on all of the releases visit Official Toyah


DESIRE ON WHITE VINYL 

Toyah's 1987 album Desire on white vinyl 
is available now. Order HERE


5 x COLORED VINYL


Five of Toyah's albums have been released on coloured 
vinyl. They're available to order from Amazon now.
  Please click on the direct links below.

They're also available from HMV as a bundle, order HERE

Order MINX

Order Take The Leap!

Order Ophelia's Shadow

Order Prostitute

Order Velvet Lined Shell

3 of the albums are also available to 
buy digitally and stream  

Desire (Deluxe) on Amazon

Desire (Deluxe) on Spotify

Take The Leap! (Deluxe) on Amazon

Take The Leap! (Deluxe) on Spotify

Velvet Lined Shell (Deluxe) on Amazon

Velvet Lined Shell (Deluxe) on Spotify


For more details on the releases visit Official Toyah



SOLO BOXSET

Toyah: Solo, a new 7 CD + DVD 
anthology box set is available to order now

The new compilation released in the box set
Rare, Remixed and Revisited, is also available 
digitally to buy or stream on Amazon and Spotify


Photo via toyahwillcox.com 
 
Photos above by Andrew York

KISS OF REALITY DIGITAL RELEASE

The Kiss Of Reality (David Pittaway, Volker Rehn & Jörg Schwickerath) album released 1993 is now available digitally
for the first time
 

Toyah performs on (and also co-wrote)
6 of the 11 songs


Download here

Amazon

iTunes 

Toyah also performed live with the band. Download 13 tracks  
(from our Toyah Live Archive) recorded in Warsaw 
26.6.1992 here   




SPECIAL FEATURES

Just a reminder that there is a plethora of Toyah
goodies to discover in our Special Features


So head over to our sister page to check out tour
and song books, loads of live downloads, 
classic concerts (inc. video and MP3 downloads),
full scans of books,
various archives and much more

TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO SCOTLAND
THE FRIDAY AFTERNOON SHOW
WITH WITH RACHEL McCORMACK
24.4.2020


RACHEL: If you were watching BBC One's Children In Need And Comic Relief Big Night In last night you might've spotted pop punk legend Toyah Willcox cutting some moves on the dance floor because she was taking part in the Strictly Keep Dancing Challenge. She mentioned it on twitter. The singer and actress has been re-issuing her back catalogue over the last few months, including a recent album re-working In The Court Of The Crimson Queen. 

If you follow on her on twitter you have no doubt been thrilled by her various lockdown antics in cahoots with her husband Robert Fripp. They've been getting up to all sorts. Dressing up as bees, doing the tango at lunch time. Robert Fripp of course equally legendary, worked with David Bowie, formed King Crimson. 

So I caught up with Toyah, this was a few weeks back, just before the lockdown if my memory serves and I started by asking her about the impact of punk on her music and on her acting 



TOYAH: It was about everything, it was a lifestyle, it was a lifestyle commitment. You couldn't just become a punk to go to a gig, you had to be punk 24 hours a day. It was a radical change of shaking up attitudes within the industry. 

It was one of the most exciting times I can ever remember in music so it was quite remarkable and then you had film makers like Derek Jarman, who were very punky in their approach to film making, along with many other brilliant people. I remember it as being vibrant and so continuous in its creativity – there was never a hiatus at all

RACHEL: You mentioned Derek Jarman there and of course we can not mention Jubilee and your character Mad. Where did you get involved and how did you first meet Derek Jarman?

TOYAH: I was at the National Theatre when Derek Jarman started making Jubilee and a friend of mine, a wonderful actor, who was starring in Chariots Of Fire, Ian Charleson was also at the National and he said "I think you should come and meet my friend Derek Jarman because you've got a lot in common." And that meeting was the beginning of a great friendship and a deep deep love. 

Derek was very protective towards me and I just loved him so much and he believed in me as a creative and I went on to make The Tempest with him, playing Miranda (below) in Shakespeare's Tempest so we had a wonderful wonderful relationship 


RACHEL: And this of course – we're talking about 78'-79' at this point – and this anarchic celebration Jubilee and then of course The Tempest. It's interesting because Jarman is a revolutionary in terms of culture and film but I was wondering if his take on Shakespeare shed any new light on Shakespeare himself to you (Toyah laughs)? Because I'm thinking - if you fast forward to 91' and you're still singing, you've got Ophelia's Shadow as an LP. Did Shakespeare himself become a bit of an influence?

TOYAH: The Tempest became an influence. And what I mean by that – when Derek asked me to do it I said "I've never done Shakespeare, I've been Bottom in Midsummer Night's Dream (Rachel laughs) in school" but that's you know … so Jarman led me into Shakespeare and The Tempest which is dripping with Masonic and Illuminati secrets being revealed to the point where there's talk about Shakespeare being bumped off because of it -



RACHEL: Yeah!

TOYAH: It just drew me in, it was absolutely fascinating. A brilliant brilliant play

RACHEL: And I love the fact that again – we should mention Quadrophenia 79' and you're with Phil Daniels, Sting … but also were always in music as well and were those different creative outlets both differently fulfilling for you?

TOYAH: I've been doing music and acting in tangent since I was 17. So I was at The National when I was 18 and I formed the band while I was at the National Theatre. I deliberately wanted to do that, I deliberately wanted two independent careers and I was never interested in doing stage musicals. They're incredibly demanding, to sing eight times a week, the way those singers do. I know it's slightly beyond my physical capacity. I wanted two independent careers as a rock star and as a film actress and that's what I strived for 


RACHEL: But we should say in terms of being kind of artistic and creative and subverting or questioning ideas and having fun with that perhaps as well, In The Court Of The Crimson Queen is of course a nod to King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King, Robert Fripp being a trailblazer for them. Was that something you spoke about, at what point did that become a title?

TOYAH: No (laughs) He has nicked my ideas - we've been married for 33 years and I absolutely love him to pieces and he's nicked all my sayings, he's nicked all my – I've come up with lyrics or song titles (Rachel laughs) and they suddenly appear in his work. I'm an art collector, he's even used my art for his album covers -

RACHEL: Really?!

TOYAH: So we went with In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, my co-writer Simon Darlow and I. Then when it was officially In The Court Of The Crimson Queen I just told him and he said "I'll sue you!" and I said "Yeah? Just try!" (Rachel laughs) 



 
RACHEL: Yeah! "You owe a few as well!" It's lovely to kind of think about that you managed to take something back but also I'm thinking about Robert Fripp and his involvement with Bowie and it takes me to my personal formative memories of you because I think for a lot of people, when they talk about their ultimate Top Of The Pops moment they go back to David Bowie, they go back to Starman, but for me as a kid it was seeing you on Top Of The Pops performing It's A Mystery (above)

TOYAH: Wow!

RACHEL: I couldn't get over it, sat in my little bungalow in Stirling. It was absolutely mind blowing. I wondered what your recollections were? Was that a moment when you thought wow – in terms of your pop career (Toyah The Band, below) - this is huge -

TOYAH: Yeah

RACHEL: Or not



TOYAH: Oh yeah! I can't tell you – I didn't fall asleep the night before. We were told we got Top Of The Pops I think about three days before we actually recorded it and it's everything I'd ever wanted. It was climbing to the top of the mountain and seeing the view and I was terrified.

The clothes I wanted to wear weren't ready. My clothes designer Melissa Caplan made everything by hand, painted everything by hand and she just wasn't ready for this day so I wore a dress (below) which was very unlike me by a designer called Willy Brown who dressed Bowie for the Heroes album and I think the dress was as much a turning point for my career as the song because it feminised me in the right way. It was beautiful, it was strange, it was hand painted. Half of it was see through panels and the rest was taffeta. It was absolutely gorgeous. 


But I was terrified. I was so terrified I could hardly move and I think again that added to the charisma of that performance because every performance after that I'm just jumping around like a Jack-In-A-Box and I've got a lot of energy but that particular performance I was anchored to the ground by fear 



RACHEL: Oh my goodness!

TOYAH: I was so proud because I knew my family were watching and it proved that all the times since the age of seven that I said I was going to be a singer that I was right

RACHEL: Absolutely. I was an interesting song as well. There's an uncertainty there that maybe isn't in some of your other work. Were you aware of that? Was that something that you wanted to celebrate or to explore?

TOYAH: No, I was terrified of it. It's about vulnerability after I'd spent years being Boadicea, being absolutely undefeatable. When I heard the song I said well, this isn't me. It's about doubt, it's about vulnerability – I don't do either of those.

So I went into the studio with the original writer Keith Hale, because as an original song it was a 12 minute vocal and then about a 28 minute instrumental, so we set about arranging it and I wrote the lyrics for the second verse and we made it into the kind of single format which had to have the hit chorus and the middle eight. 


And I still thought "nah, this isn't right, this isn't me!" (Rachel laughs) But we started playing it on a university tour in March 1981 (It was Jan/Feb 81') (below) and I thought this will be the proof of the pudding. They're going to hate it! And the audiences loved it! The rest is history 



RACHEL: When I was explaining to my kids I was very excited to be interviewing you today and they know your early work and I was playing In The Court Of The Crimson Queen frequently when it came out -

TOYAH: Bless you!

RACHEL: But they of course know and love you so dearly because of Teletubbies ...

TOYAH: Yeah, I know (they both laugh) And Brum for those who are old enough

RACHEL: I know! How did that come about? Did you have any idea when you were approached how huge that would become?

TOYAH: No … I was doing voices for all of the series of Brum created by Anne Wood and she went on to do the pilot and create Teletubbies. She uses child psychologists to build her ideas. In The Night Garden. She spent decades using child psychologists to create all of that. And when I'd finished doing Brum, she contacted me and said could I come in and do the voice for the pilot of something new called Teletubbies and she was terribly terribly frightened about it. She said the BBC don't want to take the project, she'd mortgaged he house for £60 000 to pay for the pilot and she just thought she was going to lose her home. 

Now miraculously the BBC lost a programme which meant they had to take Teletubbies and it meant that as soon as Teletubbies showed it became a worldwide hit and Anne had to spend the next ten years of her life making hundreds and hundreds of programmes of Teletubbies to go around the world. 

So do you ask me did I know it was going to be that successful? (Rachel laughs) The answer's no. I said to Anne when I did the opening and closing lines as the narrator, I said if children don't like this … students are going to be loving it! (Rachel laughs) It's like Magic Roundabout. They're going to be on the wacky baccy and they're just going to be watching this day in and day out!

RACHEL: There you go, Toyah on the wonder of Teletubbies

11/03/2020

TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO NORTHAMPTON
WITH BERNIE KEITH
10.3.2020


KEITH: This time last year we were gearing up for her Record Store Day release, a magnificent coloured vinyl edition of Crimson Queen, the year previous we had clear vinyl of Desire. She loves this day! This year, last Friday we had a box set of 7 CD's of her solo work. Fabulous! And in the spring touring with Hazel O'Connor. Busy busy busy for Toyah Willcox. Morning Toyah!

TOYAH: Hello Bernie! Lovely to be here with you

BERNIE: You're very supportive of Record Store Day. Anything this year?

TOYAH: There's so much going on (laughs) It's so exciting! MINX is coming out vinyl (below) and I believe it's coloured vinyl, Desire re-released on white vinyl. I've got to think about this … My two really critically acclaimed solo albums Prostitute, Ophelia's Shadow, Take The Leap! All on vinyl. And there's a very big announcement in the summer as well which I'm not allowed to tell you because that's obviously waiting for July

BERNIE: You were with a great label, with the Demon group, Edsel and those kind of people. They seem to care about the product. Do records mean a lot to you? Do you have an umbilical connection from your childhood to them?



TOYAH: Oh yes! As a purchaser of singles and albums – I still have everything I've ever bought. I never got rid of it even when record players no longer existed. I have beautiful first editions of Velvet Underground, the Rolling Stones one with the banana on. I've got all of that. Tyrannosaurus Rex. It means a lot to me. As much as owing a beautiful book

BERNIE: If you throw them out you're throwing out your photo album, that's the thing. Because you put on that Tyrannosaurus Rex album and you remember how you were as a girl when you got it, won't you? That's the magic of what you do 
 
TOYAH: Absolutely. And the shows I went to see. I went to see T-Rex at Birmingham Odeon when I was about 13, I saw Ziggy Stardust at Coventry live when I was about 14. I can absolutely map my life through my vinyl collection and I think that's why when punk happened it was such a powerful medium of getting to know someone by looking at their collection. 

Because you knew – they weren't only punks, we all had guilty pleasures and mine was Fleetwood Mac. So we'd find these things kind of deposited away behind The Clash albums. We got to know each other through our collections

BERNIE: You wrote for this box set that's out, the solo work, you wrote the sleeve notes for each album, didn't you? 



TOYAH: Yeah. I think it was very important to do that because I wanted to be able to put my perspective on the albums. Not only why they were made at the time they were made but what they mean to me now. There was stories back then that I wasn't allowed to tell back then. Desire, Prostitute and Ophelia had non-disclosure documents -

BERNIE: Did they?!

TOYAH: Yeah, because I wasn't getting on with my management

BERNIE: Oh, OK

TOYAH: So I can now talk about them. On one of the discs I'm being interviewed for 45 minutes, my husband comes in and talks on my behalf to go into what the non-disclosure was about because I'm still not (allowed) to talk about certain areas (Bernie laughs) And the beauty of today is we now know if a woman has had a non-disclose document it's usually to cover up a crime against her and that is what is featured on the box set

BERNIE: What's it like re-visiting the music? Because I guess you don't listen to your music all the time and now when you're putting these things together you have to go back to them, don't you?



TOYAH: You know what - when I listen to the tracks that the record company would not allow on Desire - because Desire when I wrote it in 87-88 was a very coherent experimental piece of music that by today's standards would be highly commercial. Two tracks were removed to put cover versions on. Echo Beach and Love's Unkind, which I never agreed to or agreed with and when I heard the two tracks that were discarded and I thought had been destroyed - we found them - I burst into tears

BERNIE: Yeah 

TOYAH: Because they are the most beautiful pieces of writing. They are so astonishingly ahead of their time. When I listened to Ophelia's Shadow again I mean tears just flooded down my face

BERNIE: It takes you back to the battle doesn't it, that's the thing, it takes you back to what you were going through at the time

TOYAH: Yeah! They were truly pieces of Toyah the creative artist and I'm so proud of them. Even Prostitute - which became my biggest critically acclaimed album, my biggest seller - because I never knew about because I never saw a penny for any of those three albums. To listen to them and you think I was right, I wasn't going off my head down the wrong alley as a creative artist. I was right and it's hugely emotional



BERNIE: And Solo, it's a solo box set and a lot of people may think you've always been solo, that's what you've been but prior to '85 Toyah was a group too, wasn't it?

TOYAH: Yeah. Thank for bringing that up. Sheep Farming Barnet, Blue Meaning, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!, Anthem, Changeling, Love Is The Law, huge huge albums, all went gold platinum – was actually a band and my key writer of that music was my guitarist Joel Bogen (above with Toyah) 

When I signed to CBS to do MINX I became a solo artist and the thing about Toyah solo, these are all albums I now own and have the copyright on which may sound kind of wel,l what does that mean? Well, it means everything to the artist to own their albums

BERNIE: The art work is amazing. Last year's Crimson Queen was off the charts, it's beautiful and it's for this box set too but then the visual is always a part of your work. Where does that come from? Did you go to art college or was that in the mosh pit watching Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velvet Underground thinking that's what I want to do. Where does that come from?

TOYAH: I grew up with male artists really cross-dressing and found it incredibly powerful and liberating to walk away from the restraints of gender law. So I'm talking about Alice Cooper, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Mark Bolan, even Twisted Sister – they all kind of played with gender and I love that so much and I was exactly the same when I became an artist. 

The image took me away from the constraints of gender control so I was very much into make-up, clothes, having things made that were one-offs, incredibly proud of wearing clothes that no one else had (Below, Melissa Caplan who designed most of Toyah's clothes in the 80's)


BERNIE: And this tour The Electric Ladies of the 80's – it seems so obvious (laughs) ... You and Hazel

TOYAH: I know! (laughs)

BERNIE: You've known each other for 40 years, haven't you?

TOYAH: Yes. Hazel, myself and Kate Bush were all in the same room together to audition for Breaking Glass. That's the first time I met Hazel so I'm talking about 1978 and I've always said this that the right person got the job. Hazel is the only actress, composer who could've starred in Breaking Glass. Kate Bush is the only singer-songwriter who could've written Hounds Of Love. 

I'm the only actress that could've gone onto to do Quadrophenia, could've worked with Laurence Olivier, Katherine Hepburn, who could've written Anthem, Changeling, Love Is The Law and move onto the stuff I did. Our places were set in stone I think the moment we were born and we just honoured and fought for our roles in a creative world. And suddenly - 40 years on - Hazel and I are working together (laughs) 

BERNIE: Great

TOYAH: Why didn't it happen sooner?

BERNIE: It's great. Were you rivals? Did you feel you were competing?

TOYAH: The press made us rivals, the record companies made us rivals. On that level we were competing. And I think it's an awful place to be as an artist where you're made to be threatened by other artist's work - especially the artists who you love as artists. I have always loved Kate Bush, always loved Hazel but I've loved Siouxsie, I've loved Pauline Murray, I've loved X Ray Specs, The Slits, I mean I've loved them all but we were made to be rivals. 

We were made to compete on Top Of The Pops but I think once we hit the kind of new millennium all that fell by the by and we all stuck together as sisters and loved each others work and honoured each others work

BERNIE: So what form will the shows take on this tour? Are you going to do separate sets, are you going come together as well? (below, rehearsals, November 2019)



TOYAH: We have to do separate sets. Both Hazel and I – I've had 13 Top 40 singles, Hazel's probably had the same

BERNIE: As Prince said you've got too many hits. Prince used to say on stage "I've got too many hits, man. I've got too many hits!" and that's the problem, isn't it?

TOYAH: I don't know how he did it. He'd get off stage and go to a night club and do another four hours every night (Bernie laughs) So Hazel and I will be working together. Hazel has asked to go on first because she's working with Claire and Sarah, her keyboard player and saxophonist and Hazel wants that to very much stand alone. Then my band will come on and do Hazel's hits electronically. 

Then I come on and I do a set and Hazel comes and joins my set where we're going to do this rather mammoth encore set of shared music. Everyone from Iggy Pop right through to Bob Marley that we're going to share with the audience and we want everyone up on their feet -

BERNIE: I love it

TOYAH: - Just crying and having a wonderful time

BERNIE: Well, it's going to sell out so check for availability. Hazel cut David Bowie's hair once – (have) you got any famous hairdressing stories you can share Toyah? (laughs) You got any?



TOYAH: Do you know I didn't know about that – I'm going to ask her about that (laughs) My hairdresser, a wonderful man called Keith, who owns the legendary hair salon Smile, was Bowie's hair dresser as well. And I only found that out recently because if I had known I would've been … I mean I would just be at their doors going "what was he like? What was he like!?" (Bernie laughs) And of course I met Bowie because my husband was his guitarist. I never got to know Bowie but I met him quite a few times 

BERNIE: Well now, I'm going to let you go because you're (going) down the gym, you want muscles, you look fantastic, Toyah, but you want muscles, don't you?

TOYAH: Yeah, I'm in training (Bernie laughs) I'm always in some kind of training, I'm always doing physio but for this tour I want to be really physically strong. I don't get a day off for three weeks on this tour so yeah. I am in training

BERNIE: Very good. Electric Ladies of The 80's, The Stables, Milton Keynes, April 17th, Solo box set is out now and on April 18th for an embarrasment of riches on Record Store Day from the fabulous Toyah Willcox! Thank you Toyah!

TOYAH: Thank you, so pleased to talk to you Bernie! Have
a great day!


10/03/2020

TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO HEREFORD & WORCESTER
WITH TAMMY GOODING
3.3.2020


TAMMY: (I Want To Be Free plays) It's really weird playing someone's records when they're sat in front of you and they know the words to all the songs … Toyah, welcome! How are you?

TOYAH: I'm really well, thank you. Very very happy to be here

TAMMY: I'm thrilled to have you here. You've only had to come down the road -

TOYAH: I know, a beautiful sunny day in Worcestershire – there are clouds in the sky but it's just so lovely. I want to be in Worcestershire and not London … I'm always having to be in London -

TAMMY: Home is Worcestershire generally, in Pershore?

TOYAH: I always head back here after my concerts. I played Scarborough on Saturday which was a mind blowing concert and I drove all the way back, walked through the front door just before 4 in the morning in my stage costume (laughs)

TAMMY: Brilliant!

TOYAH: I always get home and this tour I'm about to start with Hazel O'Connor – I have a wonderful boy from Worcester who's going to drive me to and from my house because knowing I can come back I feel more stable. It's just knowing you'll be in your own bed at night

TAMMY: Yeah. So home is like your solace, it's like your safe space?

TOYAH: It's very much my safe space, yeah. Cooking my own food and shopping in the shops I see every day 



TAMMY: Yeah. I was chatting to Nigel Clarke of Dodgy last week -

TOYAH: Well, I've nicked his driver (laughs)

TAMMY: What small world!

TOYAH: He's my neighbour!

TAMMY: Well, he said to me "I live in Pershore". I said I've got to ask you do you live anywhere near Toyah and he played it down and he said "I know Toyah and Robert, they're a lovely couple". He played it down a little bit I think, he was trying not to -

TOYAH: I see Nigel every day!

TAMMY: I knew it! Busted! There you go! What's special about Pershore? What's the draw?

TOYAH: It's a community. It's a very close community. It's a community that looks after and keeps an eye out on everybody. It's very real and I've been going there since I was three years old. The house I live in my mother took me to tea when I was three years old. It was the Willow Tea Rooms

TAMMY: No!

TOYAH: So I have such an infinity with the place. But I think for me it's – if you see someone but you don't know their name but you see them every day on the street and they're not looking well everyone will ask them if they can help

TAMMY: That's lovely

TOYAH: It's that kind of place. It's very very special

TAMMY: Good for you. I love that! To me – in spite all the fame and excess and all the hits over the years there's something very grounding with that for you ...

TOYAH: Yeah

TAMMY: You seem very … just normal! (laughs)



TOYAH: I mean I've people in LA thinking of moving to Pershore. Gary Numan came to Pershore two years ago, (above, with his wife Gemma and Toyah's husband Robert) fell in love with it and I was with Nick Mason of Pink Floyd two nights ago and he's coming to have a look. 


People are just so fascinated by this rather eccentric idea of having a normal life and a high profile career which is something that my husband and I have managed to do and everyone is just so attracted to Pershore

TAMMY: Yeah, that must be lovely actually, that you can walk down the street without all the hullabaloo, you don't want it -

TOYAH: It's really unusual for anyone to bat an eyelid

TAMMY: Nice

TOYAH: Nice

TAMMY: It's really nice. We need to talk about this tour

TOYAH: Yes!

TAMMY: We briefly talked about it before Christmas but now you're here in person and we can have a proper yarn about this because it's the Electric Ladies of The 80's. It's Toyah, it's Hazel O'Connor. The dates are here, there and everywhere but I think the closest one to us is going to be Birmingham Town Hall, isn't it?

TOYAH: Yeah

TAMMY: April the 25th, it's a Saturday. Tell us about the tour. How did you two - because you've known one and other for ever, haven't you?




TOYAH: Hazel (above with Toyah and Kim Wilde in 1981) and I first met each other when Hazel, myself and Kate Bush were sitting in a room together 1978, waiting to audition for the film Breaking Glass. And Hazel obviously very famously got the film and wrote all the music for it and won all the awards. Kate went on to do Hounds Of Love. 

I went on to do Quadrophenia, work with Katherine Hepburn, Laurence Olivier and have five platinum albums so it was a meeting … it's one of those amazing things that circumstance puts very unusual people together but that's the first time all three of us ever met. And Kate's been to Pershore 

TAMMY: Has she?

TOYAH: Yeah, we smuggled Kate into Pershore

TAMMY: No! What does she think about it?

TOYAH: Kate loves it and when her little boy was very young my father used to take him out on his boat. This is before anyone knew she had a little boy. So we used to sneak her into Pershore

TAMMY: That's incredible!

TOYAH: Yeah, well that's the kind of place (it is), you can do that kind of thing. So anyway, I digress. Hazel and I, the only time we have ever been on stage together was we were singers for the Stranglers (below) when Hugh Cornwell went to prison during the big punk era -

TAMMY: Oh right, yeah



TOYAH: And we haven't really worked together, like sing face to face since. We do the 80's venues, the big arena's and the festivals but someone has finally put us together on tour!

TAMMY: And how is it? How is that coming together? To work together?

TOYAH: We had our first rehearsal in November and it was absolutely brilliant. It was like “It works! It works!” We were so excited! So we come together to start rehearsing in the beginning of April. Hazel has asked to go on first because she works with only two musicians. There is Sarah her keyboard player and Claire her saxophonist and that's how Hazel always opens the show. 


Then my band, which is a full electric band, will go on and play all the big hits with her. Then I come on and do my part of the concert with my band and then Hazel and I have this rather epic kind of end section where we are covering everyone from Iggy Pop right through to Bob Marley and The Wailers -

TAMMY: Wow!

TOYAH: We want the audience up on their feet, we want them in tears of joy and they can all join in and we send them home with a big smile on their face

TAMMY: What's beautiful is this kind of opportunity to reminiscence, to take a trip down memory lane. We start our program with a thing called The Top Ten From When? every day and we invite people to guess the year and share memories, that kind of thing. And when you mention Iggy Pop there, Bib Marley and The Wailers alongside your own hits we are going to be transported back to a time, aren't we?

TOYAH: Absolutely

TAMMY: To feel god. Because it does make you feel good, 

doesn't it?



TOYAH: I've had over 13 Top 40 hits and my last one was last year so there's a lot to cram in. And Hazel probably has the same amount of hits so there is going to be a lot of memory lane, a lot of shared memories. Because obviously we're human beings and we've got memories too -

TAMMY: Of course you have, yeah

TOYAH: And I find when I share my memories of my experiences of when I made songs with the audience they're absolutely enthralled and transfixed. For example when I wrote Thunder In The Mountains it was the day Diana and Prince Charles got married and I had  a stalker who found out where I lived and the stalker's finger was on the doorbell all day and they were ringing the phone all day and I had to deliver this song Thunder In The Mountains. 


And I couldn't get out of the apartment. So I tell this story to the audience and I say the reason this song is so brash and it's about kicking everyone's backsides is because I was stuck in my apartment because of a stalker! You know and you put the whole thing in context and this is what we'll be doing – we'll be giving you context to the songs. There will be obviously one foot in the 80's and one foot in the present

TAMMY: Yes, of course because the other thing is that you've worked all your lives and you're fortunate to be able to still do it as it were. All these years on you're still making the hits. We talked about your recent album in the last chat (in April 2019) It must feel good to look down the line and think "look what I've done"?

TOYAH: From where I am now, because I turn 62 on my next birthday, it's feeling good and that's because last year was unbelievable. I made five movies and toured non-stop -

TAMMY: Good Lord!




TOYAH: This year is exceptional because my entire catalogue is going to be re-released due to demand so on Friday Toyah Solo, the box set came out. Went straight into number one of the pre-order charts and that's 7 CD's that I made from 1986 right through to present day. 


I've then got in the next two months 5 vinyl albums (above) coming out. Then I have another box set in the summer and then in the autumn my first four albums are being re-released. So it's an exceptional year. And as well as doing Toyah and Hazel I'm doing massive festivals as well and I've got three movies being released. It didn't expect that at this age ...

TAMMY: No wonder you need Pershore to be your safe space, your kind of solace -

TOYAH: I need my normality

TAMMY: Yeah, I'll say

TOYAH: Yeah

TAMMY: I'll let you into this as well, dear listener, that Toyah's been here all day because such is the demand people all over the place wanting to talk to her that she's been doing it down the sophisticated telephone line and she's still here fresh as a daisy. You've got energy girl! (Toyah laughs) I tell you! I'm going to play I Want To Be Free. You introduce this song and maybe a bit about what was going on when you wrote it and created this song?

TOYAH: This song started its actual existence when I was 14 years old. I was in school, Edgbaston, Birmingham, dyslexic and I was in a maths class and I wrote down on the maths paper “I don't want to go to school, I don't want to be nobody's fool, I want to be free”



TAMMY: Wow! Get this, Toyah, I love it

I Want To Be Free plays

TAMMY: You know those moments when you're in your car and you're sat at the traffic lights and you're singing along and the person sitting next to you in the car catches you singing and you feel embarrassed. I just had a little moment of Toyah's sat in front of me and I'm here singing along to her record. I felt like a bit of a banana then ...

TOYAH: That's great. That song was written to sing along to

TAMMY: Good. And I enjoyed it. I remember my my older brother, my older sister playing those all the time and it was just like – it felt to me you were this woman who stood up for women. You were a pioneer, you were kind of in control of your destiny. Did you feel that way?

TOYAH: No (they both laugh) But I mean we can all bluff, can't we?

TAMMY: Well, you're a good bluffer -

TOYAH: When you're young you believe the world belongs to you. You don't realise there's a price or that you have to use effort to do it. But for me I was just determined to be myself and be an individual and be heard because I came from the background. I was the youngest in the family, I was considered the runt of the litter, almost the joke of the day, the joke was on me. 


So when I left home I felt I had a lot to prove. So I just kind of steamrolled my way through everything. I mean I probably didn't have to. I probably could've just honed a bit more technique and done a bit more studying and got there ...

TAMMY: You showed them. After our chat here, what is it, going back home to Pershore or ... ?

TOYAH: Yes, I have a husband that needs feeding. Some of his band members are coming up tonight. He has a band called King Crimson

TAMMY: Mmm, we know

TOYAH: So they'll need feeding as well

TAMMY: Fantastic! We were talking earlier and this isn't me kind of paying lip service or anything but you look great. You mentioned earlier your age and you're quite frank and open “I'm 62”. You don't look it! You look good!



TOYAH: Thank you. Obviously because I'm on stage four nights a week and I do movies I'm always having to keep my weight down which isn't ideal and it's not necessary for most people in their lives. The beginning of January this year I was not feeling terribly well and I just completed three movies and I was basically exhausted and I realised that I'd been on the road between these three movies just eating food out of service stations ...

TAMMY: Yeah, sure

TOYAH: And eating meat when I never normally eat meat so I went back to vegetarianism in January and it's done me the world of good. I'm probably going to stick with it. I've even given up fish and I've eaten fish for the last ten years. So I drink 4 to 5 litres of water a day -

TAMMY: Five litres?!

TOYAH: It's very difficult because you are going to the loo every ten minutes

TAMMY: I'm trying to be a little healthier and I was reading two litres and even with that I'm back and forth like
I don't know what -


TOYAH: It's very difficult. I'm barely five foot tall and trying to get five litres of water into this body is not easy (Tammy laughs) But if you can drink 3 to 4 litres it makes a huge difference. We're only eating fresh fruit and veg. Very few potatoes, I've managed to wean my husband off potatoes and I'm not aching the way I used to ache. 


I'm also doing posture re-alignment with a sports physio in Pershore, which is helping enormously because you've got to remember I'm in the car 8 hours a day four days a week. So it's all helping tremendously. And I just don't see why I should get into my 60's and slow down or be made to slow down because my body is not performing. I believe we can still perform at a certain level right up until we're 70, late 70's 



TAMMY: I had a similar conversation with Lulu actually, who was teaching That That to meditate and to do yoga

TOYAH: Well, she was a yoga fanatic. She always has been

TAMMY: Incredible. All power to you. That fact that with vegetarianism you feel less achey or whatever it's quite -

TOYAH: I feel clearer. My head is clearer, I just feel energised

TAMMY: Good for you. You're an inspiration Toyah, you are

TOYAH: And it's quite cheap as well ...

TAMMY: Well, it is cheaper to be fair (laughs)

TOYAH: My darling husband took me to this gorgeous restaurant the other day and it was one that specialised in meat and I said can I just have bowl of vegetables and you could tell they were like “no, why are you here?” 

TAMMY: (laughs) Should've saved me some … I'm flirting with the idea, I need to get healthy. An innovator, both you and Hazel O'Connor. So Hazel doing her stuff, you doing your stuff, the two of you coming together doing all those fantastic covers, telling the tales and stories. You two were meant to be together I think. You both strike me as similar kind of kindred spirits

TOYAH: Yeah. It's taken 40 years for this tour to happen and it's never too late. It's not 40 years too late but I think it couldn't be a better time for this to happen and we're both really excited about it

TAMMY: What are your best memories from that time, when we take you back -



TOYAH: Everything. It was wonderful. Doing Top Of The Pops, (above) this iconic programme and you're on with other people that you've always admired

TAMMY: Who were you on with? Because it was an appointment to view Top Of The Pops -

TOYAH: My first Top Of The Pops was me, Human League, Adam Ant, I think Ultravox … that's all I can remember. It might've been X Ray Specs as well. It was a gorgeous experience. Made me so happy. And it kind of validated me in my family that I was someone who was going to achieve and it changed my life for ever doing that show

TAMMY: How amazing. For me I remember seeing you and knowing “she's from Birmingham like me, she's local”. All that kind of thing. Going up to Oasis market, my sister taking me, all that stuff -

TOYAH: The smell of patchouli oil (Tammy laughs) And then going to the Saturday morning disco at Top Rank -

TAMMY: Top Rank! My sister used to go there -

TOYAH: I used to drink milk with Coca Cola in it and dance
til midday ...


TAMMY: Absolutely brilliant!

TOYAH: And all 300 kids in Top Rank every Saturday morning, we would just gang together outside and run through the city centre and no one could stop us. It was hysterical! People seeing this tidal wave of teenagers coming towards them -

TAMMY: Absolutely brilliant. And here you are now. It's nice and calm in Pershore

TOYAH: As if ...

TAMMY: (laughs) So how many films have you got coming out this year?

TOYAH: I've got three coming out this year, I'm shooting another three this year -

TAMMY: Give me one in particular that we should look out for?

TOYAH: To Be Someone is due out in April. This is the majority of the cast of Quadropehia. It's not Quadrophenia 2. It's a gangster movie, it was so much fun to make, I loved every minute of it. The thing about the Quad cast is we are inseparable -

TAMMY: It was Phil Daniels, wasn't it and Lesley Ash?
(below with Toyah) 




TOYAH: Phil isn't in this film. In this film is myself, Leslie Ash, Trevor Laird, Mark Wingett, Gary Shail and a few of the others. We're all joined at the hip. We love each other immensely. Very happy film to shoot. So that's out this year. I've been filming a wonderful true story called Give Them Wings about a paraplegic football fan who I play the mother of. 


This amazing man Paul Hodgson would go in his wheelchair and goad the opposition fans and get beaten up and he would do it week after week after week and eventually someone took him … I don't know if I can tell you this – it's the surprise ending but someone put him in a paraglider and he did something. It's the most amazing true story. I play his mother, she had a stroke while she was quite young and this paraplegic looked after his stroke ridden mother ...

TAMMY: Oh my God …

TOYAH: It's just one of those stories about how the system failed them. So that's due out this year as well

TAMMY: It's all go

TOYAH: Yeah

TAMMY: Gets busier and busier and good for you I say

TOYAH: Thank you

TAMMY: Good for you. Why should folk come along and see you and Hazel in the Electric Ladies of the 80's tour?

TOYAH: Because we're going to be reminding people of the glorious memories of the 80's but also putting everything back in context of today. And there's no reason why the music of the 80's that meant so much to everyone like you, can not have good memories
as well for today



 
TAMMY: Definitely, for sure. I'm going to let you go and have your lunch now because you've been at it all day -

TOYAH: I'm going to go and cook it! For my husband

TAMMY: Well, at least you'll know it's good though, having it done yourself. Toyah, it's been a pleasure to see you and to chat to you once again. We'll go out on It's A Mystery. What's the story?

TOYAH: Well, the story is that when I was asked to record this I said this is going to be end of my career, it's all about vulnerability but I will do it just to prove a point and it was one of the biggest selling singles of the 80's (laughs) And I'm not complaining!

TAMMY: I shouldn't either. Toyah, it's been a pleasure. Thank you

TOYAH: Thank you very much, thank you