BBC RADIO ONE
BBC RADIO ONE
HOST: Toyah, we’re talking to you about rock’n’roll records and stuff like that. But all the other stuff that you do, can you tell us about how you got into showbiz?
TOYAH: I think all this interest is all thanks to Eddie Shoestring which is something I thought would never come about but as you know we did (Toyah played a singer called "Toola" in an episode called "Find The Lady", Season 1, Episode 9 – aired: 12/2/1979. Toyah's bandmates Pete Bush and Charlie Francis also appear) the Shoestring series and I think that is what’s made everything click.
I first started when I was Birmingham, I lived in Birmingham till I was 18, which is quite a depressing city. When you’ve got a lot visual ideas it’s very suppressed. But I was actually spotted by a director.
This director came up to me and said "hey, how would you like audition for a play" and said "yeah, old man," and it turned out to be real and this guy worked at the BBC. I got a lead part in play called Glitter. Which was with Noel Edmunds and a band called Bilbo Baggins and I actually sang in it as well.
And after that I went straight to National Theatre. So acting started it all off. And when I was at the National I met up with Joel Bogen (below on the far left) who’s now our lead guitarist and that’s when the band started. The band as a whole have got totally different heroes.
I mean our lead guitarist is a jazz fanatic. He loves everybody from McLaughlin possibly someone in Deep Purple but I wouldn’t like to speak on his behalf. My heroes are people like Laura Nyro to Stockhausen, I love all music that is something new and it’s got a spark of originality in it.
And the same for all the band. I think the drummer is deeply in love with the drummer of The Police, I can’t remember his name, excuse me! But our keyboard player is now very much into synthesizer music and it’s bringing all those different tastes together that makes our music so strange.
HOST: One thing I read about you was that you’re considering converting a warehouse into a thing called “media unit” with a studio and theatre
and stuff like that -
TOYAH: Well, I live in a warehouse at the moment and I’ve been banned, absolutely banned from having more than 20 people in there because I’ve was getting parties and little shows together … about thousand would turn up when the place can only really hold 400. So now the warehouse I’m living has got to go and I’m buying a cinema at the moment.
Which is going to be turned into a video theatre. Which I want - I want to be sort of thing, you have band on there and you also have video entertainment. So that the whole evening is completely full of entertainment. The cinema will just … I’ll be able to do it coz the cinema is huge!
HOST: Where do you get the money to do all this?
TOYAH: I don’t yet earn money from my musical career, all my money from my acting career backs me, backs my own ideas. I mean music I’m doing it really out of love, love of entertaining and being on that stage in front of a live audience.
I mean we’re going into record our debut album, this is not the AP album “Sheep Farming In Barnet”, we are going into to do a whole load of new material in March. Which will be what the band consider the album. But I don’t expect to earn money from it … you never see money. Not until you’ve hit the charts really big and we haven’t yet.
HOST: You mentioned “Sheep Farming In Barnet”. The title has always fascinated me, what is it supposed to mean?
TOYAH: It’s a complete joke! The AP came out and the record company came to me, coz I’m the one that comes up with all the verbal and visual ideas, I’m the one who has them in the band. So they came to me and said give this thing a title and I couldn’t think of anything. I hate naming things!
So I thought of all these jokes, from “Lobster Farming In Soho” to “Sheep Farming In Parliament” and “Sheep Farming In Barnet” and all that. And the record company got this list of really stupid titles and they fell in love with "Sheep Farming In Barnet." It’s not an insult on Barnet at all, there are sheep in Barnet actually.
HOST: I’m sure there are! (Toyah laughs) One of the tracks on that actually is called “Neon Womb”.
HOST: What is that suppose to mean?
TOYAH: It’s, well, we all live in a womb complex, don’t we? We need a room to feel secure in. I wrote that when I was homeless one night and I actually spent for the first time in my life a night in a tube train station. Which is very hard, I mean you’ve got to dodge those guards pretty well.
You have to actually hide in the tubes. It was about half six in the morning and everywhere suddenly lit up and I thought “Christ! I’m in a Neon Womb!” You know, this really bizarre imagery came to my mind and I actually wrote it, the lyrics, there and then.
HOST: What about - you used to sleep in a coffin (above)?
TOYAH: Oh I did! When I was really really poor. And hadn’t got a bed and I refuse to go out to the Sally Ally (Salvation Army) and buy one! I was given a coffin … coz of my morbid death fascination. Which … I live my life under the shadow of death, I’ve got this death fantasy. Put me in car and I’ll try and kill meself. I love the speed of life as it were.
But I was given this coffin and I slept in it. So what? It’s very comfortable and I’d recommended to anyone while they’re still conscious!
You can also listen to the interview HERE