THE STEVE LAMACQ
“GOOD DAY - BAD DAY”
BBC RADIO 6
THE STEVE LAMACQ
“GOOD DAY - BAD DAY”
BBC RADIO 6
STEVE: “Good Day Bad Day” - continuing our week talking to stars of this years panto season. Today a team mate of mine - the only time I ever appeared on “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” - I was on the same team as this legend and watching her trying to act out “Centerfold” by The J. Geils Band (Toyah laughs in the background) is something which may tell you quite a lot about her – Toyah Willcox! Hello!
TOYAH: (on the phone) Hello! How are you?
STEVE: Yeah, not too bad, thank you very much. Now - you’re on stage very soon, aren’t you?
TOYAH: 5 o’clock. I’ve already done one show this afternoon and I’m back on at five and I’m having a fantastic day!
STEVE: How much does it take out of you? I mean it must be quite demanding the fact that you have to do so many shows over this short space of time?
TOYAH: OK, it is demanding and if you kind of enter into it thinking “oh, 93 shows in two months” kind of thing – you’re going to get down about it but this is about my 19th pantomime –
STEVE: Is it?
TOYAH: And I’m learning to be a bit more chilled and a bit more relaxed and I’m really really enjoying the venue I’m in – I’m in St Albans Arena and it’s a really comfortable venue to sing and speak in so I’m having a fantastic time here! And we’re all really excited coz Warrick Davis, who’s in “Life’s Too Short”, he’s in tonight - he’s just picked his tickets up.
I’ve worked with Warrick on many pantos and we’re just thrilled to have him in. But it’s just – we get so excited! I think you’re either into panto or you’re not and I get very excited about everything. For me it’s the best way to do Xmas.
STEVE: In this production of the “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” you are playing – aren’t you the Wicked Queen?
TOYAH: Yeah, I’m the Wicked Queen. I will never be the young heroine again, I’m too old.
TOYAH: I’ve been playing the wicked characters for the last (hesitates) … eight years.
STEVE: Really? So do you have to adopt a persona? Coz You’re not – you don’t strike me as a wicked person, y’see there Toyah?
TOYAH: I love being rude to children (Steve laughs), I don’t have any children and I don’t even know any children and the only time I interact with children is when I do panto. And I think because of that I can really push the boundaries out and be extraordinarily rude to the point that they love it –
STEVE: Right, right. So you’ve obviously - have you grown into these sorts of characters over the years then?
TOYAH: I love it! The baddie is just the best to play because no matter what mood you’re in, you can - even if you’re in a really kindhearted, samaritan of a mood, you can really make people think you’re evil. And if you’re in a really bad mood it doesn’t matter – people think you’re evil anyway! So it’s a win-win situation.
STEVE: Tell us about – because we obviously know your own music, but some people don’t and certainly I didn’t – about your musical taste and I know a couple things about you now which I’d like to share with the listeners if that’s alright? What was the first single you ever bought?
TOYAH: T. Rex “Ride The White Swan” (below). Massive Marc Bolan fan! I saw him on Top Of The Pops and it was love at first sight.
STEVE: Really? And your best gig – and there is a good story here I think, is your best gig a David Bowie show?
TOYAH: It was David Bowie at the Milton Keynes Bowl, it was outdoor festival – it was 1983. I was backstage with Phil Daniels, who I’d been in “Quadrophenia” with and Phil and I we were given access all areas and we walked the gantry up to the back of the stage and Bowie suddenly walked out mid song to have a cigarette … and sat next to us but didn’t speak to us.
And there was 75 000 people out the front and Phil and I just sat there not knowing what to do! It was as if God had manifested and proven himself right and we were rigid with fear and joy at the same time. It was the most amazing concert!
STEVE: No-one teaches a protocol for that do they? It’s the same thing – the first week I joined the “New Musical Express” – I went to the gents toilets and I while I was standing there Mark Smith of The Fall walked in (Toyah laughs). And I loved The Fall but what do you do? It’s one of those moments where you think “I don’t know if I say anything, don’t say anything?” Just move on. So I very silently moved away –
TOYAH: What do you do?! I mean they are away from their persona, they’re away from their God likeness – what do you do? You allow them to be invisible and you know I just wanted to scream my head off “David – I love you!” but you know he would’ve probably hated me for ever and this is before I married Robert Fripp who has worked with him many times. I played it cool and I think I did the right thing.
STEVE: Now – talk us through your "Good Day Bad Day" records. One which is from the depths of time and one relatively new one: The Cure and “The Forest” (below, left) if it’s a good day. What – for that bass guitar line is it?
TOYAH: I just think the opening is a classic lift-you-up and sweep-you-away opening. I have never heard this song and not been lifted by it. It’s fabulous, it’s just classic and I love the fact that it’s really really long.
STEVE: It is! And if it’s a bad day – now, Antony And The Johnsons, this because it tucks at the heart strings?
TOYAH: (noise in the background) If you can hear that in the background they’re just calling us to stage but no panic, we’ve got ten minutes. Antony And The Johnsons, “Hope There's Someone” (above, right) – it’s the voice, it’s the composition, the arrangement.
It stands out on it’s own as completely re-inventing a music genre of the “torch” song. It’s also unbelievably sad. It’s the saddest song I’ve ever ever heard – I can not listen to it without wailing!
STEVE: Alright – it’s The Cure, Antony And The Johnsons. We’ll just say very quickly – you’re doing some of your own dates next year as well aren’t you? It’s the 30th anniversary of "The Changeling" and "Warrior Rock” which you're taking out on tour?
TOYAH: We’re out on the road – we start in April, we’re going to be gigging all through April, we’re announcing more dates this week on my web site which is toyahwillcox.com. And we will be touring that throughout the year around Europe.
It’s going to be a very busy year because I also have a band called The Humans and we’ve got to write album three and tour that as well. So out on the road virtually the whole of 2012.
STEVE: So far today – good day or bad day then? You having a good day?
TOYAH: I’m having a fantastic day!
STEVE: OK. Now there is just the one last thing I’d like you to do for us before I play The Cure for you. What’s your opening line in about 15 minutes time?
TOYAH: I open with “Sympathy For The Devil”, I sing the first chorus and then I speak “It is I, Ivannah, Queen of Marelia, so girls and boys you better watch your behaviour!”
STEVE: That’s superb! Toyah Willcox – have a great rest of the day and thank you very much for coming on!
TOYAH: Thank you, good to talk to you!
STEVE: Take care!