ALLISON FERNS: Toyah joins us on the line this afternoon. Hello Toyah!

TOYAH: (on the phone) Hi, Alison! How are you?

ALLISON: I'm well! What a career you've had! 13 Top 40 singles, 20 albums, 2 books. You've appeared in something like 40 stage plays, ten feature films! What haven't you done?!

TOYAH: Well, I think all of those figures have actually gone up quite a big in the last ten years! (Alison laughs) I'm a working woman

ALLISON: You don't stop!

TOYAH: Well, why should I?

ALLISON: Exactly!

TOYAH: If you do a job that you love you don't actually do the job the with a end in sight. You just live it. I love singing, my voice is getting better all the time. Technically I'm getting better all the time and I love writing

So with my band The Humans, which is a bit of an alter ego from Toyah of “It's A Mystery” fame - it's myself, Bill Rieflin, who was - now, here's someone eclectic - he was the guitarist in The Ministry, he was the guitarist in Nine Inch Nails, he was the drummer in REM and he's the bass player in my band The Humans

ALLISON: That's some pedigree!

TOYAH: I work with people who are very highly qualified and capable of many many things

I love the fact as well that you've never let yourself be pigeonholed. You've got your singing, you've got your acting, you've got your writing

TOYAH: Well, people do try to pigeonhole me and I think to a certain degree people need to. I have no qualms at all about doing shows where I sing my hits because my hits are no longer about me. They're about the audience and the audience now defines that

ALLISON: People's memories, your music will be the soundtrack to things that were happening in their lives at that moment

Sadly mainly my music is the soundtrack to people either breaking up or being expelled from school … (Alison laughs) But that fits in really well what I'm doing today, which is slightly rebellious

And what a great venue. You're coming to Trading Boundaries in Uckfield. Have you been there before Toyah?

Yeah, I sold out there in October ("Acoustic, Up Close & Personal") and it was just stunning!

ALLISON: It's such an interesting place

We could've sold out the whole week. Basically it's a sit down cabaret event and it's got the most fantastic shop! I'm going early this year to go shopping

ALLISON: We've got some lovely stuff! They've got these beautiful wooden letters that light up that I'm particularly keen on! (laughs)

They've got some fantastic furniture, some fantastic clothes. It's got a courtyard with the most stunning high end shops. Roger Dean has been exhibiting there. That is an artist that got me in the profession. He did all the artwork for people like Yes and Asia. I when I first saw his artwork when I started touring at the age of twelve and I've since met him and made friends with him

But getting back to Trading Boundaries people sit and they have a fantastic meal and we do the show. It means as a musician and as a crafts woman I can share my craft with the audience because it's that intimate that you can let people in a bit more than you do, say, at a theatre

With The Humans it's a very lively concert. It's myself and two basses, that's the head. That's what you get at the front of the stage. It's bass driven because the bass is my favourite instrument. We all sing and we have lead guitar and keyboards as well but that's not dominant. The dominant thing is the voice and the bass guitar

ALLISON: It sounds great. Is it fair to say you didn't have the easiest of childhoods? 

Well, compared to what the younger generation is going through now I think I had an absolutely blessed childhood. I had a few physical problems I had to overcome. I always had a problem with walking, I have curvature of the spine and my feet were clawed but I grew out of that with physio therapy

I was in the Birmingham children's hospital twice a year and they kept on eye on my body healing itself. So when you're a young girl and you want to look pretty and be accepted by your friends ... it was a pretty strange existence

ALLISON: I can imagine it was. You keep very healthy. Some might call it strict or some might call it a very sensible way of life?

TOYAH: Some call it boring as well! (Alison laughs) The only thing I get ostracised for ... I'm teetotal and I don't smoke … Both of those things are a huge problem for people socially. It's astonishing .. “You don't drink? Why don't you drink?! What's the problem?”

ALLISON: I suppose it's that whole rock star persona as well. People probably think ... “Toyah Willcox , oh yeah! She's probably this, that and the other …!”

TOYAH: I can be quite wild without drinking (Alison laughs) I'm also … stop me when you get bored! I eat 80% raw -

ALLISON: Oh, OK! A lot more people seem to be doing that, don't they?

TOYAH: Yeah and I eat fish. I'm desperate to cut sugar out of my life. I'm desperate! Every day is battle!

ALLISON: It's tricky. One of my colleagues is doing that at the moment. She said her partner is doing it and her partner has now stopped craving sugar altogether

TOYAH: I'm waiting for that to kick in

ALLISON: Yeah, it hasn't started yet! (laughs)

TOYAH: Four o'clock myself every afternoon I have to lock myself into a room untill the cravings go. It's that bad. I've been a sugar addict all my life. I would do anything not to want or expect sugar as something that is pleasurable

ALLISON: No, it's so hard as you say 

TOYAH: It's impossible!

ALLISON: It's lovely to talk to you. Thank you so much for taking the time and we can't wait to see you at Trading Boundaries in Uckfield on the 11th of April. As you say you're performing with your band The Humans, in fact I can play a track now

TOYAH: Thank you!

ALLISON: This is “These Boots Are Made For Walking”. Toyah Willcox, thank you so much!

TOYAH: Thank you!


Post a Comment

<< Home