LORRAINE: Toyah Willcox was only 20 when she won a career defining role in the cult film classic “Quadrophenia”. She went on to launch a successful pop career with 13 Top 40 singles and 29 albums. She's also made her mark on the small screen, starring in “The Secret Diary Of A Call Girl” and “Casualty” as well as taking part in “I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!”. Now she's back on stage currently touring the UK with her rock band The Humans. And she's right here!
LORRAINE: It's so good to see you! Tell me about The Humans you're touring with?
TOYAH: The Humans got together because the President of Estonia wanted a band to play at his birthday party. So I phoned the embassy in Great Britain and said I'll put a band together. My fellow Humans are Bill Rieflin, who was drumming in REM at the time and my MD Chris Wong.
We went over to Estonia - this was 2007, we wrote the first concert there in Estonia, performed it to the President in a forest in the middle of the country and it just took off! We kind of mainly work in America, based in Seattle but this week we're playing in Gloucester, we've got The 100 Club in London (below - photo by Damon King) which is an iconic club and we've got Swansea, Southampton and Chatham.
LORRAINE: Fantastic! That's really good! And as well as that you're going to be touring on own too, aren't you?
TOYAH: I'm on the road all year. I just have to work, I love working -
LORRAINE: Do you think it's better now? Are you are enjoying it more now? You always see these people who are doing it -
TOYAH: I'm 57 this year and I don't panic about things the way I used to panic so you just get on and do it. I've been on stage, as you said, for almost 40 years so it's not an alien concept to me any more, it's actually a very natural thing to do.
LORRAINE: I guess you're comfortable now?
TOYAH: I'm very comfortable and I love the element as a lyricist and that's what I am. I love the element of story telling. And within The Humans concept as a band we have the two bass players on either side and I'm telling stories through the lyrics and women love it! We opened Saturday night and women were coming up to me going “we could hear the lyrics, the stories were amazing, you're telling stories about women who misbehave!” So it's really good fun. As I get older I don't really want to be behaving that well.
LORRAINE: No, absolutely not! I can't believe you're 57, you look fantastic!
TOYAH: Thank you!
Screencaps by Davie at Dreamscape
LORRAINE: You really do! Do you think that's because you keep working?
TOYAH: Keep working, love life and I'm a very healthy eater, I'm really pineckity, sugar pineckity -
LORRAINE: You're tiny, you're a tiny thing -
TOYAH: I feel about 6 foot tall but obviously I'm not!
LORRAINE: No, you're not, you're definitely not 6 feet tall - you're teeny teeny weenie! I know you do the 80's kind of revival kind of tours – what fun they are!
TOYAH: Well, we're a family -
TOYAH: Journalists often say to me do we all fight and no, we don't! We know each other, we hug each other, we know each other's children, parents, grandparents, we are a family. So I have a lot of those shows going on this year – racecourses, you go out after the race, you have a big stage and playing to about 60 000 people. And on those shows the audiences are getting hit after hit after hit so they just know what's coming.
LORRAINE: Exactly. And it's also people who have lived through it, you now like myself and loved all the 80's stuff, of course I did and then it's like our children who are coming to it new and it's even tinier people who coming into it -
TOYAH: Well, they see it all on the internet –
LORRAINE: Or course -
TOYAH: They don't come to the shows thinking "who is this 57 year old woman?" They've seen you on the internet, they've loved the videos from the 80's and they know the songs and they often come dressed as me.
LORRAINE: Oh, that's brilliant!
TOYAH: Or they're dressed as Adam Ant or they're dressed as Hazel O'Connor or Kim Wilde. They just want to identify with you.
LORRAINE: What's all this about you nearly working with Kevin Costner?
TOYAH: Oh, don't!
LORRAINE: It was under a pile of mail – tell me the story!
TOYAH: It was about 1998, I was on the road in Europe with my husband, we had a band. We got back from the tour, I didn't open my press for about six years, my post, just left it in a pile -
LORRAINE: Oh, you're terrible!
TOYAH: Six years later I see this envelope from Pinewood and I open it up and it was the script for “Robin Hood” … er -
LORRAINE: “Prince Of Thieves”?
TOYAH: “Prince Of Thieves” - offering me the part of Maid Marion!
LORRAINE: You dafty! See?! See what happens when you're not organised and you don't go through your paperwork?!
TOYAH: I tell you – as soon as the postman puts the letters through the slot I'm there grabbing them -
LORRAINE: Opening them all! See! What might've been?
TOYAH: Oh, don't!
LORRAINE: But you can't go there can you?
LORRAINE: You just can't! That would've been a good one!
TOYAH: That would've been fantastic but I've done great movies this year -
LORRAINE: You have! You have! You've got a couple coming out haven't you?
TOYAH: I've got “Aaaaaaaah!” coming out -
LORRAINE: Is it called just aaa like aaaaaaah? (makes a high pitched squealy noise)
TOYAH: It's the iconic comedians – it's Noel Fielding -
LORRAINE: I love Noel Fielding!
TOYAH: Julian Barrat -
LORRAINE: He's a wee cutie!
TOYAH: Steve Oram, whos's written and directed it. It's a very dark movie, it all takes place in a flat and none of us speak any language, we only grunt at each other.
LORRAINE: OK ...
TOYAH: So I really don't – the producers said it's fabulous but don't take your grannies to see it. So that's out this year and I've just filmed another film called “Extremis”, which is absolutely extraordinary, very disturbing.
LORRAINE: So you never stop. Good luck with everything that you're doing, it's great to see you. We'll put all of the dates and everything on the website so people will know where to go see you and see you with The Humans too. Thank you Toyah.
TOYAH: Thank you!