SWITCH RADIO 107.5
WITH WAYNE EVANS
SWITCH RADIO 107.5
WITH WAYNE EVANS
WAYNE EVANS: Are you ready for me?
TOYAH: (on the phone) I am.
WAYNE: Are you relaxed?
TOYAH: Actually - yes! I am.
WAYNE: Ah! The rabbit on your lap maybe?
TOYAH: I just fed him a carrot, he’s downstairs.
WAYNE: And what’s his name again?
TOYAH: Willy Fred (below with Toyah)
WAYNE: A big shout out to Willy Fred! (Toyah laughs) Right, now - so a career spanning more than 30 years.
TOYAH: It’s quite something isn’t it?
WAYNE: It is! It’s incredible. Now correct me if I’m wrong: musician, songwriter, actress, producer, author.
TOYAH: Well, no - you’re not wrong! (Wayne laughs) I mean when you’ve been working for 32 years you can cram a lot in.
WAYNE: Absolutely. But that’s not all! You’ve had over ten Top 40 singles, released over 20 studio albums including various collaborations, am I right again?
WAYNE: And you’ve written two books?
WAYNE: Now this blew me away - you’ve appeared in over 40 stage plays!
TOYAH: Oh, easily, yeah.
WAYNE: Wow! And featured in 10 films?
TOYAH: Yeah, probably a few more than that but I haven’t counted lately!
WAYNE: OK. I mean that is just incredible and of course we can’t forget you’ve voiced numerous TV programmes ranging from Songs Of Praise to … you know it’s coming! The Teletubbies!
TOYAH: Yeah. And Brum!
WAYNE: Brum as well! Brum Brum! And (Toyah laughs) You’ve been a Loose Woman?
TOYAH: Oh yes.
WAYNE: You’ve been the mother of a prostitute?
WAYNE: And you’ve eaten bugs in the jungle?
TOYAH: Yeah. It’s pretty varied hasn’t it?
WAYNE: Aren’t you exhausted?! And what on earth happens next?
TOYAH: Well, I don’t know! It’s an interesting one … I didn’t expect that my singing career would take off … I was 44 when I was invited to do a stadium tour on the Here And Now shows and I hadn’t done a tour for about 15 years and that was ten years ago and I haven’t stopped since.
WAYNE: The main reason for me wanting to talk to you today, Toyah, is I’ve three simple word to say to you …
TOYAH: You love me!
WAYNE: Other than that! Other than that! Walk Of Fame!
TOYAH: I know! It’s great!
WAYNE: You’re going to be unveiling the King’s Heath Walk Of Fame on the 16th of July and you’re to be the first person to be on it – now this must feel incredible?
TOYAH: Well, I’m the first person of one of the most incredible lists I’ve ever heard because they’re going to do The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and I think Laurel and Hardy. So I’m just so overwhelmed by it because people probably don’t know my history that well but I lived in King’s Heath for 18 years.
I was conceived and born in the same house. My grandfather built an awful lot of King’s Heath and my father owned a lot of it when I was very young. I don’t have my parent’s now but if they knew this was happening they’d be the happiest people on earth!
WAYNE: I’m sure they would! This Walk Of Fame - can I just say as well, a friend of mine did say that he would like to see you immortalised in stone on the High Street!
TOYAH: I don’t think it will come to that!
WAYNE: Well, I don’t know – he said he would pitch up a tent up and keep the pigeons away!
TOYAH: I know! Yeah, I was just thinking - I don’t want to be covered in pigeon doodah! (both laugh)
WAYNE: You can say what you want – this is going to be edited! (Toyah laughs) You did swear at me at Gay Pride a few weeks ago actually when I asked for an encore of three tracks –
TOYAH: Yes! I realised you were at the Eden Bar because on my desk I have a note from you, when this interview came in I was just emailing Craig (of toyahwillcox.com) because it’s on top of a pretty big pile – I was emailing Craig to say “oh, we must contact Wayne at Switch” and then your request came in.
WAYNE: Wow! That is amazing! That really is – I mean I had my friend there – I was a nervous wreck, we’d been at Birmingham Gay Pride for two wash-out days –
TOYAH: I know – it was unbelievable!
WAYNE: And it was like – what time was it – about one, one thirty that you came on stage?
TOYAH: I went on at 1.30 in the morning.
WAYNE: Well, I was a little bit inebriated by that point –
TOYAH: So you should be!
WAYNE: Tried to get your attention – my glasses flew off, I don’t know if you remember that? You nearly trod on them?
TOYAH: No, don’t remember that –
WAYNE: Actually can you do one thing – can you just blow a kiss to David Evans?
TOYAH: Dear David Evans – I looove you! Mwah!
WAYNE: He was the big tall bald guy singing down your microphone at Pride!
TOYAH: Oh, he was great!
WAYNE: He’s great!
TOYAH: He’s got a booming voice.
WAYNE: He’s coming to – oh, this is a nice little link, he’s actually coming to the Hare & Hounds gig.
TOYAH: Yeah, I’m so excited about this gig. We’re going to do two sets –
WAYNE: OK – don’t give too much away!
TOYAH: Well, we’re doing a long night, we’re not having a support, we’re going to be on all night. And it’s an intimate venue and I just think it’s just going to really really rock out!
WAYNE: The Hare & Hounds - it’s going to be fantastic. And of course tickets are available through the ticket sellers?
WAYNE: And the Hare & Hounds venue on King’s Heath High Street itself as well.
TOYAH: And also if you go to toyahwillcox.com, two L’s in Willcox, you can just click on and go straight to the tickets sellers that way as well.
WAYNE: Is that a little dig at the posters that went round for Gay Pride, Toyah, with one L?
TOYAH: No, it happens all the time!
WAYNE: Oh, right!
TOYAH: And I don’t mind it happening but if people looking for me on the internet don’t use two L’s they’ll get a young girl rapper in New York - who’s called Toyah.
TOYAH: I’m just protecting my side really, I suppose ...
WAYNE: Yes! Yes!
TOYAH: But it happens every day!
WAYNE: Right OK. So it’s Toyah Willcox with a double L. A lot like Liza with an Z, not an S!
WAYNE: There you go! Oh God - I’m getting camper now - I’m feeling more comfortable with you, you see?
TOYAH: Well, I like camp! Camp is good!
WAYNE: We mentioned the Gay Pride earlier as well – what a great little set it was as well, I was looking around at some people thinking if only he was around at the time when these tracks came out, "It’s A Mystery" and everything I mean –
TOYAH: Well, they were having a good time!
WAYNE: They were indeed, they were! Great! I mean it was 40 minutes or something was it Toyah?
WAYNE: It was just – it ended off a perfect weekend, it was fabulous! And having David who shares the same surname and has asked actually if you wouldn’t mind a couple of Evans backing singers?
WAYNE: No! I mean … that was just incredible!
TOYAH: Not only was it incredible, it was so late at night I’m normally getting up at that time!
WAYNE: Aaah! Well, I know that from when I asked you for an encore, I’m never going to forgive you for that you know! You’ll can apologise at the Hare & Hounds - personally!
WAYNE: A Brummie. Do you still class yourself as a true Brummie girl, Toyah?
TOYAH: I do. When I lived in Birmingham and I was a teenager I wasn’t too enamoured with it but I’m there most weeks now. I live 30 miles out of Birmingham and I adore the centre. I love going to the Bullring shopping center, I love going – walking around Selfridges, never buying because I can’t afford anything.
Brindley Place and the canals, it’s just fantastic! And I’m always taking my husband (Robert Fripp, below with Toyah) there to say “look this is how you could dress! Look how you could eat!” I actually think it’s a really fantastic center of fashion and media.
WAYNE: Wow! Coming from you – wow!
TOYAH: So I do feel as though I’m a Brummie and I’m really quite proud of what it is today. I just wish the BBC had centered itself there and not at Salford.
WAYNE: I remember the petition going out and I signed the petition on that, trying to get it in Birmingham.
WAYNE: Doesn’t make sense it having it out in Salford – it’s not Birmingham, is it?
TOYAH: Well, it does make sense to anyone north of Birmingham but anyone in London or in Birmingham itself – oh c’mon!
TOYAH: We want to make – kind of Crossroads again and stuff like that!
WAYNE: Oh, Crossroads! Absolutely! But anyway – let’s get back to you. You’re not only doing the Hare & Hounds – you’re also doing your Halloween spectacular at the Birmingham Ballroom on October the 31st since it is Halloween – what are we to expect for this?
TOYAH: That’s quite a big show – not saying the Hare & Hounds isn’t a big show, you’ll probably get an extra hour at the Hare & Hounds but it’s going to be fancy dress, it’s – as you just said it’s at the Ballroom in Birmingham, and there’s going to be another 4 bands on. We’ll be on doing the full set but I think there will be a few surprises in store.
There’s lots of competitions, there’s lots of prizes to win. Basically it’s going to be a celebration of Halloween and the Toyah band so it will be a giggle.
WAYNE: That’s going to be incredible. Now you have been wearing your original Melissa Caplan creations as well haven’t you - on your recent shows –
TOYAH: Yes, I have.
WAYNE: So are we to look forward to a brand new costume and hairpiece supplied by Sean Chapman? No pressure there Sean, if you’re listening!
TOYAH: Well, Sean has created the new look for The Changeling tour (above) so he’s always creating me new stuff so in a word, yes, there’ll be an autumn look.
WAYNE: The last album, the most recent one, "In The Court Of The Crimson Queen"?
WAYNE: Any plans for a new album?
TOYAH: Yeah - Simon Darlow and I wrote that album together and Simon plays all the instruments on it so you can imagine it’s quite a lot of work for Simon. But yes, we’re getting together to do the second album.
We’ve actually already got 4 songs ready for it. It’s just the question of getting the other ten. But there is a demand for it, I love that album, I think it’s so lively and the tracks we’ve written so far are even livelier and they’re very good fun. So we’re getting there.
WAYNE: How do you keep so lively? I mean when we were watching you at Pride – you don’t stop?!
TOYAH: Well, I just enjoy what I do. I don’t want to waste any time, I’m not getting any younger so I enjoy what I do. I think I’m about energy - I’m not a taught singer, never could be, if I tried I think people would fall asleep. But that’s what I do – I’m about energy, kind of rock energy and I just don’t think I could do anything different if I tried.
WAYNE: You’ve just mentioned the rock energy. Now can we talk about the other project – do I call it a project, The Humans?
TOYAH: Yeah, well, I got the whole team flying in next week to write the third album. And we’ve already put down 20 ideas which we’ve now got to kind of formulate and get sorted. But what’s happening with The Humans, we finish off writing Humans Three next week and then we’ll fly to Seattle in the beginning of September and record it.
WAYNE: Loving the album, "Sugar Rush", and I must say your version of "These Boos Are Made For Walking" …
TOYAH: Oh that’s camp! That was Bill Rieflin’s (below, next to Toyah) idea. He lives in Seattle, he’s been drumming for R.E.M for the last ten years and he was the guitarist in a band called Ministry so he’s got this fantastic background and he phoned me up one day and he said "I think you should do Boots Are Made For Walking" and I just thought I would not expect that coming from a rocker like you.
So he produced that and it was fantastic. I want us to be touring more but it’s really difficult even for someone like me to establish a new band so we’re working on it all the time, just pushing and pushing and pushing. And it doesn’t help that two of our members live in Seattle and two live over here in England.
It kind of makes it very expensive and complex when it comes to work visas. It’s a nightmare! We were supposed be doing three gigs at the end of July and our visa applications got lost with all the Olympics stuff and we couldn’t get their visas. That week when we had to announce that I was crawling up the wall! But that’s just the problem of kind having an international band I suppose.
WAYNE: And the Olympics – no thanks to them!
TOYAH: I know!
WAYNE: When does Toyah rest?
TOYAH: At the moment there is no rest because I think everyone who’s self employed you just have to keep the ball in the air the whole time. So there’s not going to be any rest this year! Next year there’s not going to be any rest.
I’ve just agreed to do a tour called Rock With Laughter which is - they’re still in the planning stage but there is going to be 30 dates around the April period and then another 30 around the November period and that’s a team of comedians with me providing the music with the band. So we’re getting ready for that already. It’s just – rest will come when I’m in 80’s!
WAYNE: Wow! I can’t even imagine that to be honest with you – it’s just non-stop with you!
TOYAH: Well, the thing is I can still sing and my voice is still good so I want to make the most of it while I still can ...
WAYNE: Absolutely. Well, please do, don’t leave as Toyah!
WAYNE: We won’t let you, I’ve got your number now! Toyah, I’m afraid I’m going to have to wrap it up there -
TOYAH: It’s been fun!
WAYNE: Well, I hope so - I hope you’ve enjoyed it, it is my first ever interview and -
TOYAH: Well done!
WAYNE: Ah! Thank you! I first met you actually – I think you still had custard in your hair from Tiswas (below), I used to work in the hairdressers next door!
TOYAH: Oh, God, did you come around for an autograph once?
WAYNE: I did!
TOYAH: I remember that! Because I was standing outside the hairdressers and you ran out?
WAYNE: I had my vinyl albums and you signed them for me!
TOYAH: Do you know, I remember that!
TOYAH: Well, I wanted just to say about the Hare & Hounds, it’s the first time I’ve ever played there so I think it’s going to be quite a magical and emotional night.
WAYNE: So exciting! I would’ve never imagined Toyah at the Hare & Hounds in King’s Heath. Well done you!
TOYAH: How camp is that?
WAYNE: Stop calling me camp! (Toyah laughs) I’ve always loved you and you call me camp! Anyway – just quickly: what will happen at the unveiling? Do you have to be there during the day or something?
TOYAH: Yeah, the unveiling is about between 11.30 and 12 o’clock and that’s kind of – I think it’s good at that time so that it can get it to the press and it will be … the thing about the King’s Heath Walk Of Fame is that it’s being sponsored by businesses on the High Street. It’s not a council run project.
It’s actually the people of King’s Heath want the world to know that King’s Heath has this very incredible heritage. And it’s started with a kind of musical venue – I think it was on York Street - called The Ritz where everyone played at the beginning of their careers and thus The Beatles played there, Led Zeppelin and many may others.
And apparently Laurel and Hardy performed there so the whole idea is that they want to put King’s Heath on the tourism map and quite rightly because I think even JRR Tolkien who wrote Lord Of The Rings, he was involved with King’s Heath as well because he was born in Moseley or lived in Moseley.
WAYNE: That’s right, yeah.
TOYAH: It’s just kind of helping businesses, putting King’s Heath on the map at a time when visibility is really really needed for industry.
WAYNE: I did not know about pink Floyd, The Beatles, I mean that is just amazing!
TOYAH: It is amazing!
WAYNE: It really is! I mean The Beatles just round the corner, or Pink Floyd round the corner!
TOYAH: They probably walked the streets looking for something to eat!
WAYNE: That’s just amazing but - well done you anyway! Well deserved and long overdue. We tried to sign a petition to get you on the Broad Street Walk Of Fame but this is even better! I must say this is incredible. However, you could’ve been next to Jasper Carrot up there I suppose!
TOYAH: I suppose so! There’s still always time!
WAYNE: There is! Maybe I’ll sign another petition!
WAYNE: OK! We’ll have a Wayne & Toyah Best Friends Star so …
WAYNE: Toyah! Thank you so so much for this!
WAYNE: It’s just … you wouldn’t believe the smile I’ve got on – I’m like the Cheshire cat and them some, seriously! (Toyah laughs) Is that camp as well?
TOYAH: No, and I didn’t mean it when I said how camp is that, I meant I’m playing King’s Heath, I didn’t mean you’re camp!
WAYNE: Yes yes!
TOYAH: But you are!
WAYNE: As camp a kipper on a moped! Right, let’s leave it at that! Right then Toyah! I will let you go, I will see you at the Hare & Hounds!
TOYAH: I look forward to it!
WAYNE: Thank you so much –
TOYAH: And I will definitely be doing encores!
WAYNE: Three! And don’t tell me to f off!
TOYAH: Well, that’s just me!
WAYNE: I think it’s wonderful! I tell you what I went home drunk telling "Toyah told me to" … anyway! Toyah - thank you so so much, good luck with everything! Can’t wait to see you in King’s Heath!
TOYAH: I can’t wait to be there! I look forward to seeing you again!
WAYNE: Love you loads Toyah! Byeee!
Songs played during the show: Elusive Stranger,
Ieya, Angel & Me, Blue Meanings, Street Creature,
Brave New World, Victims Of The Riddle,
Race Through Space, Danced, It’s A Mystery,
Jungles Of Jupiter, We Are, I Want To Be Free,
Latex Messiah (Viva La Rebel In You),
These Boots Are Made For Walkin’
The interview is available
to listen to HERE
Photos by Leigh Carter,