Issue 1, 1983

TOYAH: Picking Up Those Broken Pieces

“Everyone was frightened of me. If any girls tried to bitch me they knew I’d start to swing my fists. I’m becoming more intellectual about my hatreds. I’ll grow in wisdom but not in years."

"I’ve deliberately thrown my old image out of the window, all the coloured hair - you can still look good with natural hair. I won’t be dying it again when I’m 35.’”

Toyah has always confused me as much as I’ve never been able to decide whether I like the lady or not. Let me
explain . . .

From a musical level the whole Toyah concept had never managed to ring true. Her whole approach to the punk phenomenon has had a phoney wild, but not too dangerous to be family entertainment, feel about it as if the raw product has been shoved head first in a corporate machine - masticated and regurgitated out of the other end of homogenized, safe as milk, new wave. TV personality fodder.

I totally ignored this imitating little flea of a bint who kept cropping up on the box giggling and squealing, a totally prefabricated “let’s play naive” approach which had all the charm and appeal of rock’n’roll alternative to Bonnie Langford.

It wasn’t until the release of I Want To Be Free that yours truly started succumbing to the phenomenon thousands of kids and housewives had sussed out already.

The video featuring T as the axe-wielding newly-wed, trashing her cake a la Texas Chainsaw Massacre totally won me over. In true Makowski manner by the time I got hip to this lady’s trip she had become totally uncool in the eyes of the media. The flavour of the month now had a bitter edge to its taste.

So, while the music weeklies proceeded to dissect the woman’s every move with the delicacy of a morgue attendant with a blunt pen knife, I began to study her progress and became more enamoured with every move, although I must add that I still couldn’t help feeling hyper-critical too.

I listened to the the new album Love Is The Law and the single The Vow, which come in the wake of a tour and, after much wrangling and false starts, managed to track down Toyah for a quick chat in-between a hectic rehearsal schedule.

This was my first encounter with her and there was a certain amount of resistance to my interrogations. But gradually that frothy bubbly persona that has enchanted square eyes nationwide began to surface and my main concerns led me to believe that the damsel has finally matured, developing into a very entertaining realistic person who plans on being around for a long time.

The “angry young lady”, who used to spout about the arrival of the antichrist, has gone along with the coffin she used to sleep in to be replaced with a more enchanting hypnotic character who takes her music career seriously enough to temporarily abandon a very lucrative acting career in order to give her recording and roadwork total focus.

“In the early days I felt that I had to go around mouthing off”, she revealed. “It was the only way I could get any attention. Now that I’ve established myself I don’t feel I have to be so upfront any more."

"Anyway, people either love or hate me. Take the press. From my experience so far, a lot of journalists are usually so biased before they’ve even met me. I dunno, it really makes you wanna beat people up. Nowadays I’m my own critic. My audience doesn’t read the weekly papers, they’re into heavy books or Smash Hits.”

When I told her that I didn’t feel her new single was her best piece of work, considering there are so many better tracks on the album, she revealed that it wasn’t her choice of track and in fact didn’t know it was coming out until actual release.

“The thing is that Love Is The Law is our last release on Safari so I’ve come to terms with the fact that a lot of things with them are going to be out of my control. That’s something I’ll learn to live with. Two years ago we sacked our manager and since then we’ve been taking care of business ourselves."

"Since getting involved in this business I’ve never been through so much shit. Maybe it’s a case of the same old story. There’s always ups and downs in this business and if you manage to survive then there’s no reason why you can’t be around forever.”

The nucleus of Toyah comprises guitarist/arranger/songwriter Joel Bogen. “Joel and I stick together. In my situation it’s really unfair to hold a band down and prevent them from doing any other work and it’s too expensive to pay retainers when you don’t know when you’ll be doing anything again. Anyway, whoever it is, we always consider it as our group of friends.”

Now that her Safari days are over, Toyah looks at the latest album as the completion of the trilogy which began with The Changeling and Anthem. The end of an era, so to speak.

Toyah regards the change in the labels as opportunity for a fresh start, especially as far as her plan for global acceptance is concerned and this crooning chameleon has an opportunity to start afresh and present this “coming of age” image to a potentially massive new market in America.

“My style has definitely matured, my voice has strengthened and my audience … well, I really try and prevent putting them into categories; old or young, they’re all the same to me and I love them. Things are slowly coming together.”

“We’re picking up the pieces,
All the little pieces … “
(Broken Diamonds)

Pete Makowski


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