SONG: Thunder In The Mountains

ROSS: Toyah Willcox is somewhat of a pop icon but much is misunderstood about her career. If we look back at her 80’s pop success she’s probably best remembered for bright hair and outrageous outfits. But there is so much more to Toyah Willcox than just the singer. Let’s pick up the story from when she left school:

TOYAH: I took my O-levels quite late because I lost a year during my schooling to have corrective surgery on my feet but I left school at about 17 after doing my O-levels and I went straight to drama school and already by then I was known in Birmingham for being the oddball that walked around with dyed hair

You’ve got to remember that this is pre-punk, this was about 1973-74 and it was while I was drama school I had to kind of earn my own way to pay my fees because ironically the drama school I went to, which was in Birmingham, I was the one member of my year who didn’t get a grant

I just failed my grant audition ... the man who took my grant meeting, I think he was called Mr Slade, took an instant dislike to me and he wrote down on a piece of paper which I saw: “She has a lisp and isn’t attractive” and therefore I didn’t get my grant

So when I started drama school at the age of 17 I did have to pay my way because my parents couldn’t pay for me and I worked in all the theatres in Birmingham so I’d go to drama school from 10 to 5 , then I’d go to the Alex Theatre or the Hippodrome Theatre and I’d dress the stars who were on tour

I got known really quickly, I got known as the Bird Of Paradise and that was a name given to me by Judy Geeson and it was followed by Simon Williams and Sylvia Simms or people who I dressed who took an immediate liking to me. And also what I did during this period I did extra work at a fabulous TV station owned by the BBC called Pebble Mill which is now being erased to the ground

It was there that I got spotted. There was a director there called Nick
Bicât and his brother was a composer and Nick was a playwright and they were looking for a girl to play a character who breaks into the Top Of The Pops studios to sing a song and she gets caught. Now, they couldn’t find this girl in Birmingham, they certainly couldn’t find her in London

One day apparently in a peak of despair Nick Bicât went to the wardrobe department in Pebble Mill and out poured his woes and he said “I really don’t know what to do, we start shooting in two weeks” and the wardrobe lady said “There’s a girl in Birmingham you really have to see because she’s an oddball and she has brightly coloured hair and she’s like no-one else we’ve ever met and she does extra work.” So Nick Bicât came to the theatre school to see me and he apparently made his mind up there and then that I was this girl

But he asked me to come to London and I did a singing audition and I sang David Bowie ’s “Life On Mars”, which ever since has meant so much to me because I got the job. I did the audition with the actor Phil Daniels and two days later when I was back in Birmingham, already living the high life because everyone in drama school wanted to what London was like and what the audition was like, so I already had a story to dine out on for another year

The phone call came from Pebble Mill and they said “Toyah?” and I said “Yes?” and they said “We’ve got some good news for you, you’ve got the job and you start on Monday”, (laughs) and I can’t tell you the absolute joy! When ever I get a job I just feel that joy, thank goodness and that really was the beginning for me because although I was pretty bad in this play, it was called "Glitter" (below), and it was part of a series called "Second City First", and I was the leading role, it was me, Phil Daniels and Noel Edmonds in his first and last acting role ... and even denies that he’s done it to this day

That was the beginning because when it showed three months later on national telly and unbeknownst to me an actress called Kate Nelligan was watching and Kate was about to star in a production of "Tales From The Vienna Woods" adapted by Christopher Hampton at the National Theatre to be directed by Maximillian Schell, the very famous German superstar

She got Max to sit down and watch me and they decided that I was right for a part in this production so the next day I got a call from the National Theatre saying would I come down and audition and that was it. I never went back. I moved to London the day I got the National Theatre job with a carrier bag full of salmon sandwiches that my mother made

I can remember sitting on the train thinking “I’m not gonna go back, I won’t go back, I’ll find somewhere to stay” (laughs) because I was just so ripe and ready to leave Birmingham. I remember I walked into rehearsals and met everyone. There was Brenda Bletham, Warren Clark, Elizabeth Sprigs, Kate Nelligan and they said “where are you going to stay?” and I said “I don’t know” and Brenda Bletham, bless her, said “I’ve got a sofa, you can sleep on that” and I thought nah, don’t want to sleep on a sofa, it’s not good enough! So I said “No, that will be alright, thank you” and really didn’t do anything about it and eventually at the end of the day Kate Nelligan said to me “I have a granny flat where I live Stockwell, would you like it?” and I moved in

I phoned mum that evening and I said “Mum, I’m not coming back” so mum said ”well, what are you going to do, what are you going to eat, where are you going to live?” and I said “don’t worry, I’m moving in with Kate Nelligan and I have the flat for as long as I want it, oh and Maximillian Schell is taking me out for dinner tonight” so literally in 24 hours my life changed like a flip of a coin

And it was … it’s been like that ever since really. So I worked at the National when the play opened, I got all the pictures, I got all the headlines even though the one scene I had in the play was literally two pages of dialogue. But people found the lisp quirky and they just found me quirky and it always worked in my favour

I got an agent, wonderful woman called Libby Glenn who is an American and had been an actress and was in a film called “Isadora Duncan” with Vanessa Redgrave. She didn’t like acting so she became an agent and one day she phoned me up and this is literally a year after leaving drama school and I’d already moved to London and life had taken its course. She phoned me up and she said "there’s an audition for you tomorrow with George Cukor and Katherine Hepburn (below with Toyah) for a remake of the Emlyn Williams play "The Corn Is Green”

I thought “yeah fine, whatever” … By this time I had bright red hair and she said “could you not go with your red hair please, could you borrow a wig?” So I borrowed a wig from the National Theatre and it was my “Tales From The Vienna Woods” wig. I went along to Eaton Square where there was an awful big queue of kids up the hallway, up the stairs to the flat. It was my turn, I rang on the doorbell and George Curkor opened the door and let me in and I sat down and did a reading with Katherine Hepburn

Now, at this point I didn’t know who I was meeting … I had no idea. I phoned mum and told her I was doing this and this was just a lovely couple of old people. At midnight that day my agent phoned and said “congratulations Toyah, you’ve got the role. They are so enamored with you, they want to do a reading with you tomorrow”

I thought fine, OK, well, the wig had already gone back to the National Theatre by this point so the next day I go to Eaton Square and I knock on the door. George Cukor comes to the door and he looked at me and he said “would you like to take your hat off” meaning my red hair and I said “it’s mine, it’s all mine, Mr Cukor, it’s not a hat” and he kinda had that look on his face ... “oh, what have we done?!”

He let me in the door to meet Katherine Hepburn and he said (puts on a thick mock American accent) “Katherine, this girl's hair, have you seen her hair? It’s not a hat, Katherine! It’s her hair! “ and Katherine just immediately stood up and ran her fingers through my hair and said (mock accent) “Ohhhh! Toy-aah! It’s just so wonderful! I wish I could’ve done that when I was you’re age! It’s like feathers!” and she completely forgave me

We spent the whole afternoon talking about punk rock (laughs), she was more interested in the band I had and the touring and my lifestyle as a woman of the new age. Because what you’ve got to remember about Katherine Hepburn is she is one of the first women ever to ear trousers and she got vilified for that. Her first acting reviews were appalling. She was called wooden, she was called masculine, ugly and The Washington Post actually said “This woman must never grace our stage again!”

So her to meet someone like me, who was already liberated, already incredibly opinionated and independent was really refreshing for her so we struck up an incredible bond. This bond carried right through filming and she was very protective towards me. Because obviously I was green around the edges and didn’t have any of the technical knowledge she had

And also I was full of bravado and I didn’t have any of the manners she and George expected because she had to be called “Miss Hepburn” and George “Mr Cukor” or “Sir”. I mean it never occurred to me call anyone anything like that so there were a few occasions when George would derive and say “It’s Miss Hepburn to you!”

But Katherine always remained positive. I can remember we were filming scenes together - we did a lot exclusively together and she would always have the camera favour me, which I thought was delightful. So generous and so wonderful. Mr Cukor used to shout at me every day and I thought I’ve let him down. For many many years, because I was only 20 when we made this film, for many years I felt that I’d let him down. Then I picked a book up recently on his life and it fell open at a chapter and the chapter started “Mr Cukor was famous at shouting at his actresses” so I realised I was actually in a very privileged place

SONG: Be Proud, Be Loud (Be Heard)

I decided by the age of seven I wanted two distinctly separate careers, I wanted to sing and I wanted to act but I didn’t want to do stage musicals because the music never appealed to me. I was very much a rock chick even by the time was twelve so when I was at the National Theatre working, and I started at the National when I was 18, it was the right environment for me to work out how to put a band together and how to meet musicians because the theatre was full of musicians as well as actors

Through a series of coincidences I just got involved in a punk band and that was purely from asking around “has anybody got a band, does anyone need a singer?" I just used everyone I met as an opportunity so there was no clear defined path, everything was about chance really

I ended up in a punk band from Golders Green, and we used to rehearse at Golders Green cemetery and we did a few gigs together. The leader of the band was a man called Glen Marks and his father ran Golders Green cemetery. I remember because Marc Bolan died during this period and we hid in one of the gatehouses to watch the funeral

We went off and we did terrible gigs, I mean really bad gigs and I was a really bad singer and a performer at that point because it meant so much to me that I was permanently nervous. I’d walk on stage and just become a jibbering wreck and hide behind a kind of ugly bravado, there was no craft there or anything

So I remember we played the Dagenham Ford Motorworks and we played youth clubs all over the place. I realised this was going nowhere fast. But Glen Marks introduced me to a protégé, who was at his school called Joel Bogen (below on the far left). Joel Bogen was a very accomplished musician, he was guitar player and he was by far the most accomplished musician that I’d met at that time

Joel and I struck up a writing partnership and this partnership lasted many many years. In the beginning we’d only meet up on Sundays and we’d write and we’d answer ads from the NME. Eventually we got a keyboard player called Pete Bush, who had a music room in his house in Totteridge so we all rehearsed there and slowly the band came together from friends of friends of friends

We started to do more serious gigs but during this period my acting was taking off. I was working with Derek Jarman making "Jubilee" and all of these film jobs allowed me to take the band a step further because I was getting publicity which meant I could say “oh, by the way, I’ve got a concert happening next week”

Now, in those days, and I’m talking about 1977-78-79, the pub circuit was a really healthy circuit and we were starting to turn up to play pubs all over the country. About 2000 people were turning up so we were getting a reputation for being a good band. Even though as a punk band we hadn’t been signed yet which was frustrating us and it wasn’t until I got to make "Quadrophenia" in '78 that I managed to get a record company to come and listen to us. They were called Safari Records. And they signed us on the spot

We hired a studio near where I was filming "Quadrophenia" and I can remember saying to Sting who was in "Quadrophenia" - “oh, I’m just off, Sting, I’ve got to do a showcase for a record company” and it felt so good saying that because Sting was very much on the ascendant. He’d already been signed and he was big news then. When I came back after lunch I said “by the way, Sting, I’ve got a recording deal” (laughs) and he was so lovely and gracious about it, it was fabulous!

But the funny thing is, everyone who worked on "Quadrophenia" wanted to be in a band. Phil Daniels, Mark Wingett, Gary Shail - they all wanted this elusive record contract. And Sting got one first and then I got one and it was all so competitive it was hysterical

ROSS: "Quadrophenia" was obviously a big film ...

TOYAH: Mmm …

ROSS: And it did do well - it probably goes down in legend really, doesn’t it?


ROSS: How much of an impact on your career did that film have in itself?

TOYAH: We made "Quadrophenia" in 1978 and it was really a hard role for me to achieve. Firstly I was brought on board to screen test the Leslie Ash role with John Lydon - Johnny Rotten, and (the director) Franc Roddam called me and asked me if I would get John Lydon through his screen test so … I had a few meetings with John Lydon. We rehearsed the scenes we had to shoot at Shepperton (studios) and we went off and did the screen test and it was quite terrifying for both of us

But I have to say John Lydon was a really lovely actor. He had a fabulous quality and Franc Roddam phoned me a few weeks later and said “I’m sorry, it’s just not happening. Firstly the insurance won’t back a film with John Lydon in, they think he’s a liability and we’ve cast Leslie Ash in the role you screen tested for” and I said “wait a minute Franc, there’s other roles!” and he said ”surely you would only want to a lead?” and I said “no, no, can I be seen for something else?”

This went on for months and eventually I turned up outside Franc Roddam’s window and I knocked on the window and said “I’ve heard that you haven’t cast Monkey yet?” and he said “come in, come in” and Phil Daniels (above with Toyah) was in the office with him and Franc said “well, look, do the scene with Phil now and if you snog him ... the job’s yours” so I did it! I’d known Phil before, I’d made "Glitter" with him, we were friends. So it was absolutely cool. So reluctantly Franc Roddam gave me the role of "Monkey". But boy did I have to fight for it!

We then made the film it was a complete immersion because Franc wanted us to meet original mods and rockers, he wanted us to experiment with the drugs they took back them. He wanted us to know what commitment that generation made to being a mod. So the red hair came off, white hair went in its place. I had to kind of disown punk for a while, which made me very uncomfortable because I liked being a punk rocker

We went off, we had parties in the East End with mods and rockers, we got up to all sorts of things that were illegal and then we started shooting. The shooting started in Brighton and it was very very nice, it was good fun. In the beginning days it was probably more fun and then as on any film the pressure builds and builds so you kind of have to hit deadlines and the budget starts to run out

When the film was finished we were all invited to see a press showing of it. I went with Sting and Mark Wingett and Gary Shail and I can remember sitting there watching it and none of our scenes were in it. It was completely re-written in the editing room. It was solely about Phil’s character and his obsession with Leslie Ash’s character. We were pretty narked because we'd put a lot of value and hope in what this was going to do for us in the future. I remember it was tough period - "Breaking Glass" was being made, which I also auditioned for which Hazel O’Connor got. Kate Bush auditioned for it too

So we were pinning all our hopes on "Quadrophenia" putting us into that stratosphere. But when we watched it we were all kind of segregated, we were all downgraded to kind of bit players. So it was very very disappointing for us. That said ... it’s had the most longevity of any film I’ve made. It’s built and built in its legendary status and it hasn’t done me any harm whatsoever

At the time it game out in '78-79 the press slated it, which was again heartbreaking but the audience rated it. So within about six weeks of it being out on general release I could tell its affect because mods were turning up to see my punk band. I was getting 50/50 in the audience. No other band dared do that because you kept your audience to a specific. It really over the years has helped revive me repeatedly to a new generation. The only other thing that’s done that for me is "Teletubbies"

Every new generation that’s come in has discovered "Quadrophenia" and you know what young people are like - they think they’re discovering something for the first time … So for twenty five odd years that film has introduced me to new generations and I’m very very grateful for that because as you get older it’s the best thing you can have happen to you ... There is something out there that generations love

Toyah had spoken openly about the illegality of some of the things she was asked to try whilst making the movie. So I asked her what her own experiences were with drugs?

TOYAH: Well, funny enough when I moved to London in '76 there was obviously a lot of drugs around but personally I didn’t have the money to get involved. What I never realised was how much heroin and cocaine was around. But as my career evolved, and I arrived in London a chubby ten stone 5 foot woman, the pressure was put on me to loose weight and especially when the band was getting better and better and better. So the only thing I really dappled in was slimming pills which were very easy to get your hands on and they were a form of amphetamine

So around kind of '77-78 I was taking about 5 slimming pills a day and it got my weight down to 7 stone which is what I had to do. I would’ve never done it any other way. But all around me people were smoking spliffs and those who could afford were having cocaine. But it wasn’t until I rehearsed a kind of charity event with The Stranglers ... Hugh Cornwall had been put into prison for something and The Stranglers were putting on two days of shows at the Rainbow Theatre with quest stars. I went into rehearsals to sing two songs with Hazel O’Connor and The Stranglers. That was the first time I’d even seen heroin and I’m not saying The Stranglers were taking it, I am saying everyone else was

There were lines of heroin chopped out everywhere and I found that incredibly shocking. Then when we got to the Rainbow Theatre the security there that had been hired, they were all snorting heroin as well. I can remember one occasion when the security that were there to protect me and Hazel were actually vomiting in the toilets because they had all taken heroin

In the culture that I come from, the punk ethos, heroin was looked on the way we look on paedophiles - you just don’t touch it. It’s scum, it’s base, it’s the worst thing you could do. So that really surprised me and I then discovered that the heroin users of that period, like all drug addicts, do it secretly because people do frown upon it

The most common use of drugs by punks was the cheapest and that was sulfate which is speed. Everyone was doing that, absolutely everyone. It kept you going basically because we worked incredibly hard. But I wouldn’t say that drugs were rife because punk rockers just didn’t earn the money like bands like The Rolling Stones or The Who who were earning in the £60’s, we were getting by on £30 a week so that kind of kept us on the road as it were

ROSS: Now moving into the pop career. When do you feel you had your first big success as a pop artist?

TOYAH: My first hit was "It’s A Mystery” in 1981 but what people never realise is for five years running up to that I’d been a touring and recording artist so my first real hit, the one in my heart, was in the very first Indie chart which started in 1978-79 … My very first single “Victims Of The Riddle” was number one in that chart for 12 months

So even though it was an irrelevant chart at the time, I was the first number one artist in it and I’m incredibly proud of that because I think the Indie music is were everything begins. That’s where fashions and trends begin. Then I had an album out called “Sheep Farming In Barnet”, which sold incredibly well and went to number one in the Indie album chart

"The Blue Meaning," which was my second album, came out in 1980 and that went in at number 2 in the main charts but funny enough album charts back then weren’t taken as seriously as the singles charts because the single market was bigger … So as far as I’m concerned I had a hit album way before “It’s A Mystery”. And then “It’s A Mystery" came along and literally went in at number 4 in 1981

SONG: It’s A Mystery

TOYAH: I'd always wanted to do Top Of The Pops. Obviously as a child you sat and watched it religiously every Thursday and even though it was dream to do it I was kind of excepting by the age of 22 I might never get to do it. It was an incredibly powerful program back then, you really weren’t a star until you’d done it. I was doing concerts, I’d had albums out and I had a huge following but I still didn’t believe I’d make into the mainstream

When the call came through that “It’s A Mystery” had gone in so high and that I was going to do Top Of The Pops the next day … I was quite freaked out really! Because I wanted that first appearance to be absolutely perfect and my costume maker back then was a girl called Melissa Caplan. She was an art student and I’d ordered some new costumes with her but there was no way she could’ve gotten anything ready for the next day. I said “well, y’know Melissa just stay up 24 hours, get it done overnight because this is TOTP”

I remember we got to the studio the following day at ten in the morning all terribly excited. It really is a very basic program. You rehearse a few times and then you’re shut in your dressing room for 8 hours and then you do the show. I mean it’s exciting but when you talk about it, it sounds absolutely banal

Melissa’s costume never arrived, she just couldn’t get it done in time ... I remember I had a dress made by a designer called Willy Brown and I don’t like dresses but Willy had designed the clothes for David Bowie on the “Heroes” project so I thought I’m going to wear this dress. In a way it was saving grace because it was very unusual and very beautiful and very feminine and I looked so innocent!

I remember we were on and Adam Ant was on the show and Adam by this time was a massive star and I hadn’t seen him since the making of "Jubilee". We never got to see each other to talk but I was just wildly excited and trying to control my nerves and thank goodness we were miming because I don’t think I could’ve sang live, I was so terrified

I just knew out there my parents would be watching and that made it wildly exciting because the rebel had kind of made it. Because when I left Birmingham no-one had any expectations for me whatsoever and to suddenly be on TOTP and looking really nice (laughs) even though I had bright red hair - it was very very satisfying and it was probably the only time I’ve ever felt that I had arrived at a destination

ROSS: I asked Toyah is she had a personal favourite amongst the songs she’s ever recorded?

TOYAH: It’s very hard to say I have a personal favourite of any song I’ve ever done because every song is so infused and flavoured by who and what you are at the time that you’re involved in writing it … Sometimes the memories taint the success of the song

With "It's A Mystery” that happened because the band that I’d been touring with for three years split and only Joel and I remained. It was a heartbreaking time. I was appearing in The Royal Court Theatre in a Nigel Williams play called “Sugar And Spice” (below) at the time with Caroline Quentin

The band decided to split because it was obvious that I had two loves in my life and they felt I wasn't dedicated enough. A producer called Nick Tauber came along and he started Joel and I demo'ing and he had picked a song called "It’s A Mystery” which Keith Hale had written, from the band Blood Donor. But at the time “It’s A Mystery” was just a vocal intro and an instrumental ending so it had to be arranged into a song. After it was arranged I wrote the second verse because there was no second verse available

We went into the studio and we recorded it and I really didn’t like it. I felt it wasn’t me, it wasn’t representative of what I was trying to do which was slightly outlandish and bombastic and very feminist in it’s approach at the time. But that’s the song that happened. It’s so ironic that this song I really didn’t believe in or didn’t personally like became the most important thing in the whole of my career

Then with “I Want To Be Free” that went to number 8, that was fine. It was a lyric I’d written at school about hating being at school and hating being patronised and talked down to because I was considered a child. That went to number 8 so great and then “Thunder In The Mountains” came along which went to number 4

I should’ve really enjoyed the success of “Thunder In The Mountains” but by now I was on a kind of boulder that was rolling quicker and quicker and quicker and I had to produce songs in shorter timespans than ever before because everyone wanted the next song - the next look. With “Thunder In The Mountains” I can remember I wrote the lyric the day that Princess Diana and Charles got married

I had two stalkers sitting outside my flat in their car. They had my phone number and they were phoning every five minutes. They were making my life unbearable. I had a deadline on this song and I can just remember pacing round the flat desperate, feeling like a trapped animal wishing the phone would stop ringing. Wishing these two people would go away because they were in a way destroying what they wanted me to do to make their life feel good

So already the success and the pressure was on me by the third single for that year. So when “Thunder In The Mountains” did incredibly well it was slightly tainted by a resentment from me of what it took to get it finished because my wonderfully creative life was actually turning into feeling like a fish in a goldfish bowl. So when anyone asks what is my favourite track, every track has a memory and has some history attached to it. I would actually choose one song that is probably my least well known song, it’s called “Martian Cowboy” and it’s off an album called “Love Is The Law”

I love this song because it was recorded in 1983. I was appearing in “Trafford Tanzi” (below) at the Mermaid Theatre at the time which was a massive success. It got me worldwide critical reviews. I’d go in and do “Trafford Tanzi” from 7 till 10 and I’d go into the studio from 11 till six in the morning to make “Love Is The Law” the album

It worked perfectly for me because all the adrenalin from “Trafford Tanzi" would then keep me recording through the night. And “Martian Cowboy” (chuckles) I’d written in the morning with Joel Bogen and he went into the studio and put the backing tracks down ready for me to come in and do the vocal in the evening. I can remember thinking “I want to be really relaxed for this” so I took a temazepam sleeping pill! (laughs)

I usually kind of kept these on me to slip into Joel’s drinks because he was so funny after he’s taken temazepan. I didn’t do it often and it wasn’t the most responsible thing for an adult to do (laughs). I had actually sneaked one into Joel’s drink once and locked him between the studio and the engineers desk in the glass booth and we recorded him going “what’s the matter - I don’t know what’s going on” (laughs), but that’s another story!

Anyway I took a temazepam and did the vocal for "Martian Cowboy" and Nick Tauber said “I don’t know ... I don’t know how you’re doing it but you sound so relaxed!" (laughs) It’s one of the best vocals I’ve ever done because I’m absolutely chilled out and it was done at two in the morning and it has a really lovely feel to it

It’s a song that has a great sense of continuity throughout it. As piece of writing and a piece of performing I like it. I’m quite proud of that and it’s not tainted by any outside memories. Its history of how it was written and where it stands - it’s a very pleasurable history. So I can still listen to the song and hear the song - not think about the stalkers outside or anything like that

SONG: Martian Cowboy

ROSS: I saw Toyah recently doing her one woman show and noticed that she does a lot of covers of other people’s material as well as her own. I asked her why she’d chosen particular songs?

TOYAH: The songs I do in the show are partly reflective of my history and obviously I do hits, I do songs that people remember me for. But there are a few other songs in there which are "River Deep Mountain High”, “Sweet Child Of Mine” by Guns’n’Roses. I’ve put them in because I can perform them really well and they add another dimension onto who and what I am

Because people remember me as a singer for “It’s A Mystery” and “I Wanna Be Free” so they remember this kind of hyper active child running around the stage. So I wanted to add songs into my one woman show that kid of put another dimension onto me as a singer. So it’s personal taste, it’s ability, and it’s also just trying to surprise my audience a little bit

ROSS: You make a point in your one woman show about your age …

TOYAH: Hmm-hmm

ROSS: And the fact that on your gigs you’re wearing shorter and shorter skirts and showing more and more of Toyah the woman to the world ...

TOYAH: (laughs) What woman?

ROSS: Why is it you do that and what do you feel you’re putting across, what message?

TOYAH: Hmm-m. When I was twenty, like anyone else who’s twenty, you don’t think beyond the age of 25 or maybe 30. You think you’re going to be young forever. You’re just not interested in the inevitability of growing older. When you grow older perceptions towards you change and there are these clichés, especially in the entertainment business, that a woman will get less acting roles, she’ll get less visual roles because her sexual power is ebbing

Now, I personally think that’s a pile of bollocks and it’s perpetuated by an industry that will keep perpetuating it as long as we allowed to be … y’know … perpetuated! So I always make a point of telling people my age because everyone I know of my age lies! I’ve got very famous female friends who say they are ten years younger than they actually are. I have strong feelings about this because if we keep doing this as successful women, as business women, then no-one, the future generations will never be encouraged to accept how wonderful every stage of our life is

We’ve managed in the western world exclusively to treat women over the age of 35 as if they’re invisible. I think it’s ludicrous. We’re living longer, we want second careers, we wanna keep working. Therefore we’ve got to make sure we are valid in the workplace

Now, luckily there are a few women around who’ve proven to be absolutely incredible right up into their 60s. Madonnab who will be hitting 50 in two years, you’ve got Kate Bush who’ll be hitting 50 in two years. I’ll hit 50 in two years. I think very few of us through the punk movement liberated a lot of women for the future ... liberated them from Laura Ashley prints

I am determined to do the same for women who want to keep working right up until they’re 65-70. Making us valid and attractive and approachable, not kind of “oh, isn’t she unusual because she’s two stones heavier and got grey hair”. Just because you grow older doesn’t mean you have to get unfit, doesn’t mean that you loose your sexual prowess and all of that

So I think it’s incredibly important to keep women on the map no matter what age they are. I do quite actively fight ageism. Obviously because I’m there and I’m in that moment now. But I’m so not interested in being treated as unusual because I’m successful at 48. And being treated as “well, you’re 48 therefore you’re not interested in music anymore”. It’s silly things like that

I’ve got more money now than I ever had at 20 and a lot of women of my age have, therefore we are as marketable as a 20 year old woman. We’ve got to go out there and create that presence and that need for age appropriate clothes because the problem I think women have at the moment is that we’ve got Top Shop to shop in - or you’ve got Jaegar so really we’ve got to find designers who are going to design appropriately for us

There’s all these new horizons to be explored because I’ve grown up in a commercial world that thinks women are only living and breathing from the age of 12 until they’re 30. There’s a lot of re-invention to go out there

SONG: Obsolete

TOYAH: Looking at music and age, the only music category that respects age is the blues. We haven’t quite yet got the same respect for blues artists, who are in their 70s, as for say like the Rolling Stones who are a bit of visual joke. Ironically they are behaving as white blues artists

Now, when you look at dance and rock and disco and all of that, they are treated exclusively as young things but I’m just not interested in dealing with bigotry and those kinds of boundaries. So if I’m working in an area where really the walls are so thick you can’t knock them down I just move on and find another way of working. I’ll always work live because I’m a good live performer

If MTV wants to ignore me, if the music press want to ignore me then I’m still going to survive because I draw an audience because of my reputation. I’ve been doing it for 20 years, so I think yes, the music industry, which is getting smaller and smaller, record and albums sales are diminishing and diminishing - they are exclusively going for the teen market because they’re still spending money

What we’re facing now is what the world of entertainment faced in 1920 and that’s a major revolution. No-one knows where it’s going. In 1920 film was invented and Hollywood started. Hollywood as we know could’ve actually started in Yorkshire but for some reason it happened in Hollywood. That meant of lot of silent film stars suddenly fell by the wayside as it became important that actors needed more than one dimension. They needed to be able to speak as well as act and look great

Now what we’re going through with music in this new millennium is that the industry as we knew it has become so small and even artists like The Rolling Stones don’t sell albums. They could never live off their album sales. But they’re stadium artists. There’s a revolution going on and no-one knows where the commerciality of music is going to go. I think that actually makes a very exciting time for people like me. Because I draw as many audience to a live show as a chart act does

Last year I did the Hastings Music Festival - opened it on Friday, I closed it on Saturday and had more people in the audience. The poll vote that went on in the papers that week ... I won the poll. But I don’t have Keane’s visibility. So everything is changing and have to think how do you cope with that? How do you capitalise on that? Personally I think it’s going to be through the internet. So if I’m to start writing and recording again it’s going to be for an internet audience

ROSS: You spoke just now about sexual prowess. Let’s touch on that, if we may? How open were you sexually when you were on tour, because people always read in the paper -


ROSS: - about jumping into bed with people and it’s normally the guys that are boasting about that. The girls tend to not say what happened with them so give us a bit of an inside as to what you were like at the time?

TOYAH: If you were to ask me were there sex drugs and rock'n'roll in my career when I started out in my twenties for me there was nothing. I was surrounded by security. My boyfriend (Tom, below with Toyah) was a member of my security team and when I was on the road the only thing I ever saw was the tour bus, the hotel room, the dressing room and the stage

Everyone else around me might’ve been involved in sex, drugs and rock’n’roll and back then, and I’m talking almost 30 years ago, it was exclusively men from what I could see that had the groupies. I always had a boyfriend so actually, my life was incredibly conservative

I would drink perhaps but I could do nothing that interfere with my performance the next day. So my life was incredibly rigid, incredibly closeted. I can remember the only time I ever used my voice was during the performance. The rest of the time remained silent and that was to protect my vocal cords. So my life back then was surprisingly uneventful

My management made sure no-one ever met me and no-one kind of ever got to see me in private. I remember touring as an incredibly lonely experience. But that said those performances on stage were heroic and magnificent. I put everything into it and actually when I came off stage there was nothing left to give, I was completely spent! So I was very very dedicated to the perfection of what I was doing

ROSS: Do you think that kind of sexual prowess you talk about has come out in later life?

TOYAH: Oh yeah! It wasn’t until I hit 40 that I became remotely interested in my sexual power. Obviously I have had sexual charisma and magnetism back in my 20s and my teens but I was completely oblivious to it because everything to me was about business and it was about the business of being a serious performer and the business of being a good singer. It never occurred to me that I could use my sexuality to sell units. It wasn’t really until Madonna came along that that light bulb went on for a lot performers. It was like “oh! OK, right, sexuality and singing - it can go hand in hand!”

So really it wasn’t until I was 40 and I’d had a pretty bad decade as a 30 year old, I hated my 30s. I put on weight, I did TV presenting which I didn’t enjoy, it was nowhere near as satisfying as being involved in music. I hit 40 and I thought well, if I’m going to do something I really believe in, now’s the time to get on and do it

I lost a lot of weight, I lost two and half stone, I got a band together, I went on the road and kind of realised that I was at my most sexually potent. Throughout my 40s I’ve exploited that to the full, I’ve worn less on stage in the last 8 years that I’ve ever worn on stage. Thigh boots, mini skirts and kind of suits of armour, bustiers. I really have gone out for it. I’ve made of point of being a sexual being

That falls hand in hand biologically with my clock ticking away saying “well, you know, this is the last embers of your biological clock - what are you going to do about it?“ Well, I’ve taken it out on stage. Most people kind of hurry up and have their last child … I’ve never been bothered with children or a family. I suppose I’ve used my 40s to really say this is a fantastic decade, this is what can be done in this decade and in many ways it’s the most successful and happiest decade of my life

SONG: I Want To Be Free

ROSS: Whilst many celebrities hide the fact that they’ve had cosmetic surgery, I found Toyah extremely open about the whole issue

I think today the attitudes have changed considerably but let’s go back three years because that’s when I started researching plastic surgery. I found that the whole industry had a smoke screen around it and the only information I could find were programs on the telly and programs on the Discovery Channel. They were all about bad plastic surgery. I wanted to know about the good one! I wanted to know where can you go to the guys who can really do it?

I found that all my friends who are in this industry, really good close friends, were saying they didn’t know anything, they couldn’t help, they wouldn’t have surgery. All around me I knew that they were having surgery! They were having botox but I could not find out who to go to or what procedure I wanted. When I looked it up on the net I found that one company in America did 240 different procedures

How the hell was I going to know what was right for me? I think when you’re going to deal with a part of your body and let’s say especially the face … this is something you see every day in the mirror. People see you every day and the first thing they look at is your face so obviously it means a lot to you. People will judge what they think of you by your face

I was already 45 and I looked quite tired, I’d lost a lot of weight and I wasn’t happy with the way I was ageing. What I really didn’t like was that I’d get up in the morning after a great night's sleep, feeling fantastic and I’d look in the mirror and I’ see someone reflected back to me who didn’t look well. That was a big problem for me because my voice is maturing and it’s at its peak, my abilities as an actress are at their peak and there’s this damn face letting me down!

So I started this journey of discovery and luckily I started to find people who would talk. The main person I met was a woman who works at Knightsbridge called Linda Meredith who is a skin specialist. She felt exactly about herself as I was feeling about myself. We became very strong buddies and companions through this journey

Because she was working with very high profile A-list superstars she started to find out names of who did what and how they did it. It was important for both of us that we wanted surgery but we wanted the surgery to be secret, we didn’t want scars on our face. I could name a male TV presenter here and now who has gone off to Switzerland twice for facial surgery and his scars are visible I’m not going name him! Keep watching the telly - you can’t miss him! I said to Linda there is absolutely no way I’m ever going to have surgery where I’ve got scars on my cheeks, under my chin, down the middle of my throat

I want invisible surgery and we ended up going to have meetings with a French surgeon we heard about, who has supposedly operated on Hollywood A-listers. The reason he is so good and so successful is because his work is very natural. I didn’t want to end up looking as if I was standing in a wind tunnel. All I wanted was the very bad bags under my eyes to go, my turkey neck to go and I just wanted to look well! So I had meetings with this man - he’s called Dr. Olivier de Frahan and I told him all of what I’ve said just now. I said “look, I have a problem with visible surgery. I am an actress, I may not be a megastar BUT my face is important”

He understood and I saw him for six months before operated. I took him photographs of myself throughout my ages. I said what I liked about these photographs, I said what expressions mean the most to me and he devised the surgery around who and what I was. I know many surgeons who don’t even meet their clients until the day of the surgery. So I really was incredibly specific about it

It occurred to me that there is a lot of women out the who need this knowledge. Because they are going to surgeons - trusting that every surgeon has the same ability and every surgeon will invest the same amount of time in them that I demanded from my surgeon. That every surgeon will give them something that will make their lives better. What was quite remarkable with my surgeon, he sat me down and he said "a facelift won’t bring you happiness." He said "if you’re not loved, if you’re marriage isn’t working, if you are resenting something, no facelift will ever get rid of that"

So he had the whole psychology too. I thought my God, this is absolutely amazing. It’s science, it’s much deeper than the world of media was presenting to their readers and to their TV viewers. I thought I’ve got write about this because otherwise I am an enemy to women who are going to see me and see that I look better. And undoubtedly a newspaper will out me for having surgery and if I’m not completely honest about the journey and the effort and the time I’ve invested on this then I’m not really helping fellow women

So I just wrote the book (Diary Of A Facelift, 2005) and it was a very interesting experience writing the book because it opened up so many areas to me I explore as an actress. That is the importance of your face and face value and how people judge you at face value. Then you think wait a minute! Why do they judge you just at face value? And then you go deeper into characteristics and habits you have that are all to do with making people like you

The book just evolved like a ... continuous spiel of consciousness. I think I was a very qualified person to write it because as a rock singer and as an actress I’ve always been involved with image and how important image is. So I came out with this book. You would think if you’re going to write a book about a facelift you can actually do it one chapter but no - it’s very very in-depth and very important. The most surprising reaction I’ve had to it is people have read the book and they’re not interested in the surgery, they’ve come to me and said “do you know I’ve always suspected that the shape of my nose has meant people think I am strident or people think that I have a hot temper"

I’ve explored all these avenues of how we judge people. Like very full lips mean you’re incredibly sexual. What it means very full lips means that you’re hormonally ripe, you’re very fertile. That’s why Angelina Jolie is so succesful. Because that full mouth means she’s incredibly fertile. Small eyes, they have meaning to people. People would judge you if you’ve got small eyes. So I’ve written a book that really is about the power of the face

ROSS: Is it only the face that you’ve had done or is there other parts of the body as well?

TOYAH: I’ve only had my face done because funny enough it’s the one think I couldn’t live with! I haven’t had anything else done. I would really love other things done but my husband would prefer me not to and he was very supportive of the facelift. He lives and works in America and virtually every woman he knows has had a facelift so why should he deny his wife that when I wanted it so badly

But as for the rest of the body my feeling is as long as I’m fit and I’m slim then you can have great clothes and you can hide everything. I have absolutely no ambition to never wear a bikini or a swimsuit in public again so it’s not a problem. But - having said that – I know by the time I’m 55, possibly 60, there are many things I’d like done. I’d like a tummy tuck, I’d like my bottom lifted and I’d like my breasts reduced! But my husband just won’t tolerate that

ROSS: You see so many programs on telly about it now, with sort of boob reductions, boob enlargements, designer vaginas. There’s so many things going on now

TOYAH: Well, the thing is you can have surgery that’s natural. At the moment an awful lot of young girls want surgery to have large boobs. I find that completely alien because I’d like to get rid of my boobs. I hate them with passion and they’re only there because my husband likes them!

ROSS: I can understand that! (both laugh)

TOYAH: But surgery can be there for lots of subtle reasons. It’s not just about your boobs. There is an awful lot of women out there, my age, who are just ready to have fun with their lives and they’ve saved their pennies, they’ve worked hard and they now want to kind of relax a bit and have a bit of a party time. Perhaps they’re looking for a second partner in life. They want to feel attractive again and all of that so I think surgery is the way of the future

It’s not going to go away, it’s not a fad by any means and surgeons are inventing ways that we can choose which age we want to remain at. There are some very famous 30-year women out there who aren’t ageing because they’ve started looking after themselves young. They started botox at 23, they’ve perhaps had a little nip and tuck and a little bit of an eyelift, a browlift which means they’ll never age. They will remain at 30. I realised at 45 that if I didn’t have surgery it would be impossible to get back to looking 35 because you just age too far

So the whole science is at what age do you start this maintenance and what age do you want remain looking. I know 60-year-old women who look 30 because they’ve known the tricks. They’ve known that they’ve had to start this kind of non-invasive surgery or very small procedures incredibly early on so that their face doesn’t stretch and deteriorate to a point that the only way you’ll ever have tight skin again is to make it as if you’re standing in a wind tunnel

SONG: Echo Beach

ROSS: Amongst my favourite anecdotes Toyah told me was laying on a bed with Sir Lawrence Olivier and encounter with what she believes could be the ghost of his ex-wife

In 1983 I was in play called the "Trafford Tanzi" in the Mermaid Theatre and I was asked if I would go along and have an audition for a John Mortimer screenplay called "The Ebony Tower", which was taken from the John Fowles' short story. It starred Greta Scacchi, Laurence Olivier (below with Toyah) and Roger Rees and eventually starred me, I got the job. So we all had to fly over to the Dordogne in France where we were filming and at the time Laurence Olivier wasn’t a well man, he had stomach cancer and he was hemophiliac as well

He could only work three hours a day and the whole day was structured around Laurence’s availability. He had a permanent nurse with him and he had to take about 30 pills every 30 minutes. These were keeping him alive so obviously we were all very concerned about him and we really looked after him. But I struck off with him and I think it’s because I really enjoyed listening to his stories. They were absolutely wonderful! He was staying in a very posh chateau and the rest of us were in a kind of road motel just a mile away

Every evening I would meet up with him and have supper with him. He was just more than happy to talk about his experiences with Marilyn Monroe because he did "Prince And The Showgirl" with her. He ended up loathing her and I found this interesting because I actually think Marilyn Monroe was a phenomenal talent. Obviously Laurence Olivier was (too) but they were just from a completely different cultural genres. He talked a lot about her and she arrived deliberately late which kind of meant everyone was tired and not ready and when she suddenly turned up and said "well I’m ready" everyone else had run out of steam!

But I also helped Laurence Olivier learn is lines in the morning. He would be brought into the chateau where we were filming and he had a room there and I’d always go up and join him in the room and we’d end up lying a double bed together with our scripts and talking away. We would actually never learn our lines! We’d always end up gossiping! I remember this one story he told me. He was married to Vivian Leigh, who was an astonishing actress! But she had a very bad nervous breakdown late in her life after making “Gone With The Wind”. People thought that was the end of her really

He was telling about this and there was obviously some deep regret and some guilt there because he was very earnest when ever he talked about Vivian Leigh. The one thing struck me in the conversation was she had this nervous breakdown and she returned from it. She returned a better actress. I got the feeling that this baffled and miffed Laurence Olivier. He would talk about this and we’re lying on the bed and at the foot of the bed was a wardrobe because we were in a real living chateau

He got to the point where Vivian Leigh had died at her apartment in Eaton Square in London. He was called over to go and view the body. When she’d died she’d fallen off the bed and as what happens when you die, you’re incontinent and he was saying how shocking it was to see her in that state and how no-one ever wants to been in this state. By this time the atmosphere in the room was quite electric and he could tell a story as if you were actually there and you’re re-living it. In the wardrobe door there was a key in the lock and key turned and the door suddenly swung open

The hair on the back of our necks was standing on end already because of the power of the story but then it was like oh, OK! I turned to Laurence Olivier and I said “I don’t think we’re alone!” and was he so excepting of this and he said “no, I’ve always felt her around”

ROSS: Amazing. He used have a little tipple in between takes I understand, didn’t he?

TOYAH: I would meet Laurence Olivier after the days filming at his chateau which was one of the poshest places in France with the most amazing restaurant where butlers served you. My orders were never allow him more than 3 bottles of champagne and get him to bed by 10 c’clock but of course all of that went out the window

We’d get to third bottle of champagne and we’d both be pretty merry and I noticed he’d started to leave the room to go to the bathroom a lot. I thought no, he can’t be needing to go to the bathroom that much and I started to worry whether he was OK. I followed him out and in the reception area of the chateau was a very large glass display case with Napoleon brandies in. They were about £500 a shot

So he wasn’t going out to go to the gents, he was going out to have a shot of brandy or a shot of whisky but it was vintage whisky. I would tell him and I would say, “my orders are three bottles of champagne and then to bed! What are you doing?!” and he would just go “fuck off, darling.” Our drinks bill at the end of the film was phenomenal. It was something like £35 000. It was ludicrous!

This was a man who was terminally ill and he was enjoying life! You’re not going to stop him! He was crafty, as ill as he was, what was so impressive about him was that his spirit and his lust for life was that of a 20 year old. It was undiminished by time or illness. The passion was blazing! The same as when he was in his twenties. And it was magnificent to see

ROSS: I asked Toyah is there was anything in her life that she would change?

TOYAH: What would I change about my life? Well, when I was at school I wish I’d learned more. I pissed my school days away and I’m cross with myself about that because if I really put my foot down I could’ve learned an instrument and I never have and that’s held me back so badly

My lack of interest in English literature - I could smack myself on the back the head for not reading more. I was dyslexic at school but I still could drudge my way through a book. I was definitely lazy at school. I’ve always used dyslexia as my excuse but what is unforgivable is dyslexics are above average intelligence

I never really did anything about it until I left school. So I’ve wasted that brilliant youth when you can absorb so much. I regret that big time! Other things I regret are to do with my procrastination. I’m one those of people that will only do anything at the last minute. I think there is a brilliance in me and I’m not going to be modest about this. There is a brilliance in me that could’ve done much much more if I didn’t procrastinate so much. So the opportunities I have in the future is to prove that brilliance! (laughs)

I just will just not let a day go buy without exploiting my ideas. Because every idea I’ve had has emerged some point on the planet. Even through Spielberg or Channel 4, my ideas are in tune with culture. Therefore I don’t want to lie in bed and the light bulb going on oh, that’s a good idea and wait for someone else to exploit it. Because I believe in morphic resonance. Morphic resonance is that there is a kind of layer round the planet that is full of ideas that are ripe for plucking

I can give you an example of this. In 1982 when I was writing lyrics, all around round the world you had people like Hazel O’Connor writing lyrics, Kate Bush writing lyrics, Kim Wilde writing lyrics without any of us knowing each other at the time. We would write exactly the time themes. That is morphic resonance. I’ve never cashed in on the fact that I’m so in tune with that. Almost to a psychic level that I really could pip other people to the post with ideas

So instead I sit round dinner tables with friends and I sit with my husband and go “I’ve had this idea blah blah blah, little alien comes to earth and then changes the earth" and my husband says “act on it! Do it! Make it real! Make it yours” and that is what I want to do in the future. Act on this ability I have to know culturally what’s going to happen next

ROSS: I think the truth in that is the universal consciousness which all tap into. Many sci-fi writers tap into that in the same way. Let’s just talk very quickly about your husband (Robert Fripp of King Crimson, above with Toyah). You’ve had one of the longest running relationships in showbusiness with someone who himself is very famous in the industry. Normally a recipe for disaster. How has yours survived so long?

TOYAH: My marriage is it’s 20th year. We’ve been married for 20 years, it’s a wonderful successful marriage but it’s a job. It’s something you work at. It’s not something you take for granted. It hasn’t been easy. Hasn’t been terrible either but it’s not something that has just played its own way through time. When I first got married it was very difficult because my husband was critically more acclaimed than me as a performer. People played on that. It took a while for my husband to realise it

I’d say to my husband - let’s say we were at a dinner party at Notting Hill ... and people were actively undermining me. I’d say to Robert “did you notice that?” and slowly he got to realise how people would play us off each other by undermining me and only acknowledging him. Part of that is sexism too but by having very open conversation about how this was happening and it was happening in the press as well, we got actually stronger and stronger. Because we became more protective of each other. People used to actively try to make us argue and break us up. Unbelievable behaviour we witnessed and the resentment we’ve witnessed. So we worked at our marriage over time

Now famously this year the McCartneys have broken up. Heather Mills ... everyone criticising her for being abrasive I totally understand because Paul McCartney is a hundred times more famous than my husband and I think there’s people out there who are jealous of relationships - who will do anything to undermine a relationship. I’ve certainly experienced it

But over time people realised - by the 10th year we were married, by the 15th year we were married that actually they weren’t going to be able to break us up because the marriage went beyond our careers. If you were to ask me what are the keys to that ... I have a lot freedom. He does too but we’ve been able to run careers successfully apart from each other, which is very satisfying. I am financially equal to him which is important to me. I’ve never asked him for a penny in my life, we go Dutch on everything

I really feel I couldn’t live off a man anyway and the fact is that in recent years my wealth has built and built and built and it means that I can relax and be trusting in a relationship. I don’t know why it’s so important to me but I would feel trapped if I depended on my husband for anything other than friendship and a soul partner and reliability. The thing is we’re together because we want to be together, we’re not together out of necessity

ROSS: When you say you have a lot of freedom in marriage - is it an open marriage sexually?

TOYAH: Oh, God! My marriage isn’t open sexually, we are fiercely possessive of each other. Ironically there is no way I would do anything to make my husband jealous. It took him about five years to learn that I really didn’t want to know about his past and he’s ex-girlfriends and I had no desire to meet his ex-girlfriends. Just because they’re ex-girlfriends doesn’t mean that I have to have some sort of form of relationship with them

I am incredibly blinkered like that and in a way my husband is too. We are very physically private. I think what has worked is we’re both physically shy. When we go out into the big wide world, we’re going out to work. I’m not interested in flirting with other people or have other people flirt with me. I don’t find it particularly flattering and I don’t have a need for it. So that’s ever really been a problem

ROSS: How do you find each other's music?

Ha ha ha!

ROSS: Appreciated or not appreciated?

(Laughing into her hands) Oh, my God!!! I don’t know any of my husband albums other than an album called “Discipline” and I’ve never heard “20th Century Schizoid Man” but it’s the same - he doesn’t know my work either! We’ve made no effort to study each others work! For a while we had a band together called Sunday All Over The World, which I did some of my best singing and my best writing on and there’s songs on that (album "Kneeling At The Shrine", 1991) that I’m immensely proud of! But there’s defined borders around that, it doesn’t bleed into anything else

In recent years my husband has branched out as a solo artist. I’m incredibly involved in that and he likes me at his shows. I do actually talk to him about chord structures and sounds and where he should be taking it. He has actually critically taken all of that on board. But that’s only started happening in the last four or five years. Apart from that I really don’t get involved in his career

SONG: The Vow

ROSS: So what does the future hold for Toyah Willcox?

I have a lot of projects coming up. What people don’t know about artists is that there is a lot of projects on the horizon that boil away and never reach the surface so you don’t know how involved someone is with them. So for instance this year I’m a director and a co-creator and a presenter on a new game show that’s being placed, it’s probably going to go with channel Five

I’ve been working on it with two friends for a year. My friend Colin David who’s an inventor, came up with the idea over dinner and I said “we have to make it!” So we made a pilot, we put a company together, we own a company called Eccentric Games. I’m a co-producer with him on that project

I’m also a writer and co-producer on a TV series and a film that we’re selling at the moment, called the "China Detective", which I’ve been working on for over a year with a writer-composer called Martin Cisco. I’m cast as the lead in the remake of "The Medusa", which is raising money. I’m also cast in a film with Phil Daniels called “The Bentley Boys” and again these are all projects that have been waiting to be greenlighted. 50 % of my life is about getting projects going, they don’t always happen but you have to give them a 100 % of your commitment

On top of this I’m making telly programs, I’m touring the band and I’m writing books so it makes for a very active life. When people say to me “what are you doing at the moment?” I say “You really don’t want to know, the list is endless!” but just because you don’t, say, see someone on telly or you don't see someone and you think maybe they’re not touring at the moment doesn’t mean I’m at home watching telly! (laughs) You’re actually busier than ever because you’re kind of plotting the future

SONGS: Angels & Demons and It’s A Mystery (Weybridge Mix)

Listen to the interview HERE
(Please note a part of the audio is missing in the last quarter)


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