BBC RADIO WALES
WITH ELERI SION
ELERI SION: She's on tour and just about to start another. Thankfully she has just a few minutes to talk to us this afternoon on BBC Radio Wales - Toyah! How are you?
TOYAH: (on the phone) Good morning! Well, (they both laugh) good afternoon! I'm well, thank you! Even though I haven't seen daylight yet today.
ELERI: I was going to ask you – are you tired? Are you frazzled? Or all is good? You don't know what time of day it is?
TOYAH: I can still survive without not knowing what time of day it is and I'm not tired but just very very busy and it's exciting!
ELERI: It's so lovely to speak to you! 30 years in the business and you're still going from strength to strength.
TOYAH: I think it's 32 years! So -
ELERI: Well, I'm corrected! Right, it's 32 years in the business! And very varied so when you look back - which period of your career did you think “ah, that was the best time!”?
TOYAH: Now. I only live in the present. It's been fantastic. Last year was incredible. This year is going to be even better. I'm 57 this year and I've never been busier. I've got a feature film out, I'm doing TV documentaries and I'm on the road all year. As you mentioned I'm touring three shows this year so it's really great.
ELERI: Oh, you're in three lots? I thought you were doing an acoustic -
TOYAH: I'm doing the acoustic in Cardiff on Valentine's Day at The Globe which I'm really looking forward to because it's perfect for Valentine's Day -
ELERI: Is it?
TOYAH: I have 2 guitarists on either side of me. One is Colin Hines from China Crisis, we all sing and it's absolutely lovely. It's a lot of fun, I tell lots of naughty stories from my past, show film clips behind me. And the second half is like a concert and people can dance so that's really good fun. But then I'm back in Swansea on the 17th with my American band The Humans which is – my band member in that is Bill Rieflin who drummed with REM for ten years and was the guitarist in The Ministry before that so it's a very lively kind of rock edged band.
ELERI: So, you're also with The Humans – going to be recording a fourth album?
TOYAH: Yeah, we're writing that now and we'll be recording that – I'm not sure we'll have this year to record it because Bill is also in my husband's band King Crimson. I was in Seattle a month ago and managed to write five songs towards it so that has literally put us half way there. So what I find – I think what any musician would find is that you have to find time to do these things and you grasp every opportunity while it's still there.
ELERI: And that means you're not going to be with your husband on Valentine's Day but I presume you've missed quite a few over the years?
TOYAH: Yeah! (laughs) Last year he was in Argentina so all the members of King Crimson took me out on Valentine's Day and it was one of the loveliest days! (Eleri laughs) It was so great to be surrounded by these American giants. This year I'm in Cardiff and I plan to have a lot of fun with my audience but Robert (below with Toyah and their rabbit WillyFred) and I have booked – Monday the 15th is going to our belated Valentine's celebration because at the moment he is in Mexico.
ELERI: Goodness me! How do you have time to see each other then?
TOYAH: You know ... when we sit down and look at our diaries it's only time when my heart sinks.
TOYAH: It's just impossible. He is touring right through from August and will go with him on parts of that tour but of course I will be touring as well. But it's not easy.
ELERI: That's why you still love each other so much.
TOYAH: Yeah, we haven't had time to get irritated with each other. (Eleri laughs)
ELERI: I've got ask you because earlier on, on another show here on BBC Radio Wales Boyd Clark was on and he said "will you please say hello to Toyah" because he played your husband in a play. I can't remember the name of it but it had a very odd name -
TOYAH: I've no idea what that play is-
ELERI: I hadn't heard it of it -
TOYAH: Oh! Was it …? It'll come to me! It'll come to me! I'll try and remember before you go.
ELERI: OK. OK. So talking about The Humans then because most notably you've got a London date at The 100 Club which you -
TOYAH: Yeah, I haven't played there for about 30 years.
ELERI: Was the last time you played (there) when you were in an emerging unsigned music act?
TOYAH: I think so -
ELERI: Ah! How will that be going back there!?
TOYAH: Yeah! And it's a cult venue so I'm so looking forward to it. It's going to be a crazy night, it will be sold out. It will be absolutely jammed up to the rafters. But it'll be a great night. And with a venue like The 100 Club it's not very big, I mean it's no bigger than someone's lounge so everyone will be just on the stage with us I imagine!
ELERI: You now what, I was watching you on Top Of The Pops back in 1983, I went on Youtube this morning and did it feel like everyone was on top of you when you used to record Top Of The Pops because -
TOYAH: It was always a little nerve-racking because you always did it live. We never sang live, you just weren't allowed to because the technology back then just wasn't good enough but you knew you were going out live so there's people watching – you didn't swear and you didn't you anything controversial. So it was always slightly nerve-racking but absolutely wonderful. You were kind of ushered in – you did your bit and you were ushered out.
So I didn't feel people on top of me, I was always very hungry because we didn't have time to eat in those days. We were in the studio by ten rehearsing, then make-up, then you did two more rehearsals, then you went live so it was a long day but just oh! Just wonderful! I think in answer to your question five minutes ago what was the best time – you can not deny doing Top Of The Pops is a highlight in anyone's career.
ELERI: And looking back at your footage – which you've obviously had to look back on in order to put images to your stories for your acoustic tour-
ELERI: Your hair, Toyah, was pretty striking! Well, actually it was crazy! Did ever long (for) in that period - “oh, I wish I could have a normal day!”?
TOYAH: Yeah, there were days like that because it took about 12 hours to get my hair to look like that. Yes, I used get through cans and cans of hairspray -
ELERI: So you didn't colour it? Did you have to colour it or it would be like colour spray?
TOYAH: No, no it was always – I coloured it.
TOYAH: Colour spray would've just dissolved down my face at the gig because it was always so hot and sweaty on the stage. (Eleri laughs) No, I had every colour under the rainbow. The looks were so fantastic, once they were done they were really worth it.
ELERI: If you couldn't be wild in the 80's when could you be? When you look at artists in these days – some of them can morph into each other looks wise and sound wise. What kind of artist would you have been if you were starting out now? I think of Lady Gaga, she is the one who's out there dong something different isn't she?
TOYAH: I agree but I think a lot of women are just so incredible these days as musicians and song writers. You just can't knock Katy Perry for talent, she writes songs for other artists and her live shows are mind blowing and she's really captured and personified her quirkiness. Lady Gaga is utterly brilliant, I think she's backed herself into a corner with the crazy looks because you do get days when you just want to be normal.
But if I was starting out today – I think you almost have to come out from a point of normality so that your talent shines ahead of you. And what I mean by that – look at Adele who went to Paul McCartney's fame academy and studied song writing so when you think of Adele you think of music before you think of what she's wearing on that day and I think that's the right way to do it.
ELERI: Well, it's been so lovely speaking to you – thank you so much for coming on this show -
ELERI: We're going to play now – if it's OK by you – an acoustic version of “It's A Mystery” -
TOYAH: Oh, go for it!
ELERI: Toyah, all the very best on the tours and everything else that's going on in your life and of course enjoy Valentine's Day on the 15th!
TOYAH: Same to all of you! Thank you very much!
ELERI: Bye bye!