BBC RADIO DEVON
THE 80’s SHOW
BBC RADIO DEVON
THE 80’s SHOW
SONG: "I Want To Be Free"
DJ RICHARD GREEN: Very chipper if you don’t me saying so. Is that a part of your nature?
TOYAH: I think it must be a part of my nature, I don’t think I’d get me work if I was a miserable old bag! (laughs)
RICHARD: Oh right. Well you’re getting plenty of work nowadays because you of course you’ve got the Powderham concert coming up just outside Exeter?
TOYAH: I’m sooo looking forward to it, I can’t tell you!
RICHARD: Really? What’s it like on those Here & Now tours?
TOYAH: Well, it’s lovely to be doing that music and the music’s served me really well, I’ve been singing these songs for almost 30 years (Richard laughs, Toyah laughs) But I don’t mind that, I really have a great respect for nostalgia and what this music means to people. But there’s the other side … we get the play the most incredible venues.
TOYAH: And I can’t wait for Powderham castle. I think it’s going to be so exciting. I’m there with my friends, the audience will be fantastic and we’re in the most beautiful place in England! I mean what more can you have?
RICHARD: Well hopefully the sun will be shining as well!
TOYAH: Yeah hopefully! (laughs)
RICHARD: That’s the main thing coz all these open air festivals or concerts … they’re not so good when the crowds are huddled behind umbrellas?
TOYAH: Well it’s easy to think that but I have done massive events like Blickling castle, we had 20 000 in and it rained throughout the whole show and they just got into the sprit of it. I think that’s the thing about British audiences: they really just rise to the challenge and if Mother Nature is going to challenge them, they’re not going to hold back. They’ll still have fun.
RICHARD: Fantastic. Well you said there that you enjoy the nostalgia trip of going back and doing these Here & Now tours … some people are dismissive of them though, aren’t they? Some acts say "do you know what, I’m not going to do it, I’m going to go out and do an acoustic 50 people gig -"
TOYAH: Well I mean respect to everybody, we all have a right to our opinion. I went to see Madonna about three years ago and yes she was stunning and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. She spent two hours doing non-hits and I just thought why? What’s your problem, the hits are phenomenal.
They’ve changed world culture. Why shy away from them? So I have no problem at all doing my hits, I get plenty of opportunities throughout the rest of the year to do my more obscure stuff. But when I’m doing a big venue with other stars I really want to do the hits.
RICHARD: The crowd as you say just react to every act therefore there’s no sort of - I expect there are egoes let’s be honest! I expect there are egoes back stage but because everybody gets a great reception and all the songs are well known - it is a party atmosphere?
TOYAH: Well funny enough no-one’s allowed to be egotistical on these shows, I mean it’s actually in the contract ...
RICHARD: Is that right?
TOYAH: Yeah, if you misbehave -
RICHARD: Glenn Gregory (of Heaven 17) told me different! (laughs)
TOYAH: (intrigued) Really? Well I ‘ve seen seen it in the contract, if you misbehave or you’re late, you just don’t go on. But luckily I’ve never come across that, I’ve never worked in the whole of my career with a difficult person.
So we do have really good fun and remember, we’ve all mellowed, we’re all slightly more mature, majority have had children and they’re backstage with us so we’re going to behave.
RICHARD: Well actually I tell a little lie there, Glenn Gregory didn’t say that at all but what he was saying is that you’re all quite good pals now ...
TOYAH: Yes -
RICHARD: Whereas in the past you were doing Top Of The Tops (1981, below) or you were at the top of your powers if you can call it that without being rude, you’d been flitting from one place to another -
TOYAH: You never met each other -
RICHARD: You never had a chance -
TOYAH: You never met.
RICHARD: Wouldn’t have a chance to chat and have a coffee or whatever whereas now, benefit of couple of years down the road, you’re all able to gossip and chat and get on as friends?
TOYAH: And we do, we get on really well and there’s an awful lot of gossip (laughs, Richard laughs), we’re terrible! I mean we could re-write all the glossy magazines in one afternoon!
RICHARD: Could you really?
TOYAH: We’ve become really close friends and we’ve been brought together, we’ve been united by the fact that we do, y’know, permanently have to defend our age, which is just extraordinary. We work in ageist industry, yet we, the 80’s people are pulling bigger audiences than anyone else. So that’s kind of united us in many ways.
RICHARD: But I’ve asked many people this question and perhaps you’ll have a definitive answer for us Toyah, why is it that the 80’s is at a crest of a wave now: is it because, my theory is, that in the 90’s you can’t appreciate the decade that’s gone just before but in the “noughties” you can?
TOYAH: Yes, definitely the closeness of the 90’s and it will come to its own but also the 90’s was very much about dance music whereas the 80’s was about audience participation music. We all wrote for stadiums and the lyrics are about the individual, they’re about you out there which is why I think, at our shows you can hear the audience singing as loud as we are.
It is about the song, there’s a story, there’s a verse, there’s a chorus you don’t have a dance break in the middle of what we’re doing … (laughs)
RICHARD: Now, they are great shows there’s no doubt about it and of course for you, perfect timing coming down here to Powderham because when was it ... only a week or so ago, couple of weeks back, your Greatest Hits was re-released on double CD? (below)
TOYAH: Yeah and ... number 16 in the Amazon chart so it’s been doing really really well.
TOYAH: And also I’ve got the new album coming out for the autumn, “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen”, which is going to backed up by my “Vampires Rock” tour so it’s a very good musical year and yep, Powderham perfect timing for “Good Morning Universe”.
RICHARD: How do you feel about that though? How do you feel about getting back out there with the Best Of and also your own CD because it’s a little bit daunting I guess now in 2008?
TOYAH: Well it’s an exciting time because the corporate music companies no longer have a hold on what the public buy. And for the last six months I’ve been making videos and been releasing them for free on MySpace.
So I’ve been getting 35 000 hits a month from around the world which has been backed up in sales. And with the new album it’s going be sold exclusively on the Vampires Rock tour and then it will go into the record shops.
TOYAH: So I feel very empowered by it all, it’s a very exciting time because it means that the smaller selling artist, and I sell tens of thousands which is very respectable, but it means that we’re true to our audience. Our audience can find us and we’re not kind of being manipulated by some big corporate. So it’s really kind of like it was back in the punk era.
RICHARD: Well that’s a great way of being isn’t it?
RICHARD: Absolutely fantastic because many acts nowadays are, well if they’re not on MySpace, which is of course the ultimate way of getting to people, if they’re not with a big record company then they’ve got little hope but it’s not true as you say -
TOYAH: It’s not true because if you’re out there playing you can sell directly to your audience so I’m just finding it’s a really healthy time because these big large live events are selling the product as much as the big corporate record companies used to anyway and a prime example is Radiohead … more of their last album sold on download than they did going through a corporate company.
RICHARD: Well Toyah, we could put the world to rights, I know that for a fact but it’s been great talking to you here on the 80’s show. We look forward to seeing you down at Powderham in a couple of weeks time and thank you for being with us.
TOYAH: I can’t wait ! Thank you!
You can also listen to the interview HERE