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You Magazine: Where Were You When

July 16th, 2019

Where Were You When: Ziggy Stardust made his TV debut

David Bowie’s performance of ‘Starman’ was out of this world, recalls singer Toyah Willcox.

I was born in Birmingham in 1958. My life was quite conventional by today’s standards: I went to an all-girls school, ate with my family twice a day at a dining table and wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to. Men led the households and were affectionately known as ‘blokes’.

Then the singer Marc Bolan came along with T Rex in 1970, strutting his stuff to ‘Ride a White Swan’. He was clearly in touch with his feminine side but was very palatable to look at. While my brother scoffed at Bolan’s satin trousers, I sneaked off from school to see him on stage – and fell in love with rock ’n’ roll.

My adolescence was completely normal until an afternoon in June 1972, when I was 14. After coming back from school, I turned on the TV to see who was singing on Lift Off With Ayshea, a music show on ITV. I was expecting Slade, Bolan, Dana, maybe Val Doonican – but instead, there was David Bowie singing ‘Starman’, in his television debut as Ziggy Stardust. It derailed me completely.

• Continue reading at You Magazine.

Metro: Quadrophenia Cast Spill BTS Antics

July 16th, 2019

Quadrophenia cast spill BTS antics as they reunite to celebrate 40 years of cult film

The cast of Quadrophenia have reunited to celebrate 40 years since the cult movie was released. And what an evening it was.

Returning to Shepherds Bush, where the much-loved classic was filmed, the likes of Leslie Ash (Steph), Garry Cooper (Peter), Phil Daniels (Jimmy) and Toyah Willcox (Monkey) joined Lauren Laverne to talk all things mod. Phil Davis (Chalky), Trevor Laird (Ferdy), Gary Shail (Spider) and Mark Winget (Dave) were also in attendance to discuss the key themes of the plot, as well as spilling a number of backstage antics.

• Continue reading at the Metro. (Photo © Metro/Joe Newman/PinPep)

C86 Show – Indie Pop: Toyah Willcox Special

July 16th, 2019

Toyah Special – talking about her life in music and much much more

Toyah musician, singer, songwriter, actress, producer and author. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Willcox has had 8 Top 40 singles, released over 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays and 10 feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows.

Between 1977 and 1983 she fronted the band Toyah, before embarking on a solo career in the mid-1980s. At the 1982 BPI/Brit Awards Toyah was nominated for British Breakthrough Act, which The Human League won and Best Female Solo Artist which Randy Crawford won.

Toyah was nominated a further two times in this category in 1983, which Kim Wilde won and in 1984, which Annie Lennox won. Her biggest hits include “It’s a Mystery”, “Thunder in the Mountains” and “I Want to Be Free”.

Toyah continues to tour both with her full band and also with an acoustic line-up for her “Up Close And Personal” shows. In 2018 Toyah toured her #Toyah60 show, which marked her sixtieth birthday and fortieth year in music. This was accompanied by the release of her Four From Toyah- Birthday Edition EP of new material, which charted highly in the digital charts.

In 2019 Toyah charted at #74 in the UK album charts with a re-issue of her 2008 album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen. It also peaked at #22 on the Official Charts Company’s sales chart and #7 in the independent chart. This was Toyah’s first appearance in the British album charts since ‘Minx’ in 1985.

• Continue reading/Listen to the audio interview at C86 Show.

Categories: Interviews, Press Clips Tags:

Irish Examiner: Toyah on 40 Years in Showbusiness

June 28th, 2019

The High Priestess of Punk on 40 years in showbusiness ahead of Irish gig

Always the high priestess of punk Toyah Willcox has achieved a lot in four decades. Now at the age of 60 she still enjoys ‘living out loud’ — and makes no apologies for it, writes Lorraine Wylie

In four decades, she’s released more than 20 albums, written two books, appeared in 10 feature films and over 40 stage plays. She’s also presented a number of TV shows.

But to die-hard music fans, Toyah Willcox will always be ‘The High priestess of punk.’ Between 1979 and 1981, she released three albums, Sheep Farming in Barnet The Blue Meaning and Anthem.

The latter hit the musical jackpot and as well as spawning hits such as ‘I Want to Be Free’ and ‘It’s A Mystery,’ went on to earn her a gold disc. Now, she’s ready to showcase her latest collection, ‘In the Court of the Crimson Queen,’ described as ‘a rally cry to forever living out loud.’ Ahead of her performance at the Forever Young Festival in Naas, I caught up with Toyah who told me why, at 60, she still enjoys ‘living out loud’ “I think 60 is a great age,” she tells me.

• Continue reading at the Irish Examiner.

Daily Mail: Toyah – My Life Through A Lens

June 16th, 2019

My life through a lens: Singer and actress Toyah Willcox, 61, reveals the stories behind her favourite snaps

Celebrities share the stories behind their favourite photographs. This week it’s singer and actress Toyah Willcox, 61

1960: I love this picture of me at home in Birmingham. I’m naturally bossy and independent, and even then, aged about two, I had attitude. I never identified with being female and would physically fight my mother, Barbara, if she tried to put dresses on me. I wanted to play war and used to climb mountains and jump off cliffs. I was always hurting myself by doing idiotic things, which upset Mum a lot

1978: When I auditioned for the part of Bessie Watty in the film The Corn Is Green, I hid my bright-pink punk hair under a wig. But when I was cast and returned without it, the director wasn’t best pleased. Katharine Hepburn was the film’s main star. She would run her fingers through my hair and say, ‘I wish I could have done this at your age.’

• Continue reading, and see some great photos, at the Daily Mail.

The Visitor: Toyah Willcox Will Perform at Morecambe Carnival

May 23rd, 2019

Toyah Willcox will be performing at Morecambe Carnival along with a line-up of popular bands and singers.

Actor and quirky 80s pop goddess Toyah will be giving an amazing acoustic performance of her huge hits and some tracks from her acclaimed new album.

The main stage on Saturday August 10 is back for its second year once again hosted by Greg Lambert and Darren Milby.

Liverpudlian superstars The Christians will be headlining and performing all their huge hits such as ‘Ideal world’ and many more.

• Continue reading at The Visitor.

Eastleigh News: Toyah Willcox Celebrates 40 Years in Show Business

May 13th, 2019

One of Britain’s most iconic household names, singer Toyah Willcox, celebrates 40 years in show business with a show at the Theatre Royal Winchester on Sunday 26 May.

The original punk princess, this charismatic and outspoken performer’s show is a retrospective look over a career spanning four decades that saw her amass 13 Top 40 singles, and record 24 albums.

The vibrant production, which features a full electric band, will mark the 40th anniversary of the release of her first single and studio album, and celebrate her hits, album classics and fan favourites.

… Toyah Willcox will be at Theatre Royal Winchester on Sunday 26 May, at 7.30pm.

• Continue reading at Eastleigh News. See further info on this gig at toyahwillcox.com.

Music Tales: Robert Fripp & Toyah Willcox

May 9th, 2019

Robert Fripp & Toyah Willcox: the prog family who proclaimed Sunday All Over the World

One of the brightest collaborations of the late 1980s arose after the wedding of postpunk singer Toyah Willcox and guitar virtuoso Robert Fripp who is by many considered to be the father of the prog rock genre. Formed in 1988 under the name Fripp/fripp, the couple’s band also recruited guitarist Trey Gunn and drummer Paul Beavis.

Having later changed its name to Sunday All Over The World, the band toured extensively in Europe to the delight of a prog audience but their recording career started and ended with one album—Kneeling At The Shrine—released in 1991. Unfortunately, it does not include all compositions performed at their concerts.

• Continue reading at Music Tales.

Chester Chronicle: Get Ready To Rock

May 9th, 2019

Get ready to rock to the sounds of the Eighties

Marion McMullen turns back the clock with some of the stars of the 1980s who are coming out to play at the Let’s Rock retro festival dates across the country

What is your strongest memory of the 1980s?
I sing my hits at least two to four times a week these days – the 80s are alive and kicking. But if I was to look back for a strong memory, it would be how large the clothes were. Everything was big and baggy.

What was your favourite gig?
Drury Lane Theatre, Christmas Eve, 1981. Headline artist for BBC TV’s The Old Grey Whistle Test – there were 12 million viewers tuned in. I was slightly nervous!

Did you ever have a starstruck moment?
(David) Bowie, always Bowie. He took my breath away. I have run away from him twice because I was speechless.

Did you embrace 1980s fashion?
I was very individualistic so I like to think 80s fashion embraced me. All my clothes were one-off designer made. I liked the big shoulders ’til I realised how out of proportion they were.

• See a larger version of the feature here. (Thanks to Colin Dew-Parry)

Dundee Evening Telegraph: Four Gigs in Four Days

May 8th, 2019

The Dundee Evening Telegraph‘s interview with Sharon has also now been published online. Click below to see it! (Photo © Dundee Evening Telegraph)

The Guardian: Richard Madden Interview

May 6th, 2019

A great retro Barmy Aunt Boomerang photo of Toyah and Richard Madden was included in The Guardian‘s interview with Richard, published on Saturday.

The lengthy feature also references Toyah and Barmy Aunt Boomerang:

Madden has had a taste of this all-consuming busyness before: with Game Of Thrones, in his early 20s, and even before then, when he was cast, aged 12, in a BBC One series called Barmy Aunt Boomerang. So, he says, he knows enough for the shift in status not to go to his head

… Then he got the lead part in Barmy Aunt Boomerang (Toyah Willcox played the eponymous aunt), so he didn’t really go to school much between the ages of 11 and 13, and when he went back, he struggled.

• Continue reading at The Guardian. (Photo © BBC) NB: Toyah and Barmy Aunt Boomerang were previously included in a BBC feature on Richard Madden earlier this year.

Thunder In the Highlands: Concert Review by Patchchord News

May 1st, 2019

CONCERT REVIEW: TOYAH with support from THE MEDIA WHORES – The Church. Dundee – April, 2019

The Church in Dundee is not large in size but full of character and given the capacity is less than 400, this was always going to be an intimate gig and the chance to experience a Goddess of Rock at close quarters.

First up on stage were The Media Whores a 4 piece post-punk band from central Scotland.

… With only a short break and time to replenish one’s glasses it was time for Toyah. The soundsystem, hit the intro ‘Every girl born is the queen of her own domain’ so let’s Dance in the Hurricane, a new track included in Toyah’s repackaged album and 2CD package In The Court Of The Crimson Queen.

The track is quality and so was Toyah, elegantly dressed in a tight fitting shiny golden dress and loaded with neck and wrist jewellery. The heavy drumming on this track excites as Toyah twists and turns to the beat.

• Continue reading at Patchchord News.

Super Deluxe Edition: Win a Demon Records RSD Bundle

April 25th, 2019

SDE has a bundle of Record Store Day releases from Demon Records to give away!

One winner will receive the Suede Head Music 3LP coloured vinyl set, The League of Gentlemen Live Again! 2LP, Heaven 17‘s Bigger Than America on coloured vinyl, Toyah‘s new album In The Court of the Crimson Queen on purple vinyl and the Marc Bolan/T. Rex bump ‘n’ grind set on blue vinyl.
One runner-up will win Suede, Marc Bolan/T. Rex and Heaven 17.

This competition, open to all, that will end at midnight BST on Sunday 28 April 2019. Good luck and enter below!

• Continue reading/Enter the competition at Super Deluxe Edition.

Music News: Interview – Toyah

April 25th, 2019

Her latest album’s just become her biggest in almost 25 years and Toyah’s in the mood to celebrate. The former punk marked 40 years in music with a series of anniversary shows last year and is back on the road this week just days after her revamped 15th solo album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen returned her to the charts.

Toyah, 60, admits she’s been pleasantly surprised by the success of the re-recorded set, which also includes a clutch of new songs. “It’s a good album but I don’t think anyone would’ve been as brave to imagine it’d do as well as it’s doing,” she says. “It’s been album of the week in many places so the reception’s just been fabulous.” Crimson Queen, which was originally released in 2009, has been substantially reworked by the It’s A Mystery hit-maker and her co-writer Simon Darlow. “Our record company Demon gave me an opportunity to make the album that I’d originally wanted it to be,” she explains.

“That allowed us to put in live drums and bass, and remaster and retexturize the whole album plus put new material in. We finished this at the end of January and as far as I’m concerned it’s a new release because the majority of the people buying it now never knew it existed in the first place.”

• Continue reading at Music News.

The Courier: Getting To Know Toyah Willcox

April 23rd, 2019

dundeecourier19cAhead of her appearance at Church, Dundee on April 26, singing sensation Toyah Willcox shares some glimpses into her life

Q Which singers, alive or dead, inspire you?
A David Bowie, Jim Buckley, Antony Hegarty.

Q What was your plan B career-wise?
A I always wanted to be a sculptor.

Q Your house is on fire, what one item do you save?
A My husband. If it was an object, then one of my paintings by my friend Frankie Sundsten.

Q Theme song for your life?
A All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix. He was one of the ‘27 Club’, like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, who died aged 27 and the philosophy is that their work is done by then. That’s a tragic but also slightly romantic notion.

Q Last meal on earth?
A Superfood salad with fresh mango.

• Continue reading at The Courier. See the print version of this article. (Thanks to Sharon Dickson)

The Express: “I Was High in the Charts…”

April 23rd, 2019

express19bToyah Willcox: “I was high in the charts yet had to punch sex pests to be left alone”

Eighties singer Toyah Willcox was groped and sexually harassed during her pop heyday and had to be chaperoned to protect her from sex pest club bosses. The star, who had hits with It’s A Mystery and I Want To Be Free, has revealed a string of shocking encounters at the beginning of her career.

At a club where she was performing, she was warned that the owner expected to sleep with her and was urged to have an escort to the toilets. In another encounter, a director asked her to remove her top during an audition, forcing her to walk out. Toyah also fended off sex pests by punching them and reveals that the pressure to be thin was so great that she was weighed by a dietitian before being on Top Of The Pops.v The singer, who has just released the album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, welcomes the #MeToo movement because it gives “vulnerable women a voice”. Toyah, 60, who first took to the stage in 1977, aged just 19, says: “It was unbelievable being a woman very much in a man’s world. We mostly played working men’s clubs, I don’t want to put these places down as the audiences were fantastic but you were just groped. There are even photographs out there of me being groped.

“Some extreme things have happened to me. My band really looked after me, though. I remember going to a club in Leeds in 1979. I arrived and my lighting man said, ‘Do not stay here alone, the owner thinks he has the right to sleep with you. Don’t even think of going to the ladies without one of us escorting you’.

“It’s cool, that’s what my band did, they looked after me. As for the casting couch, there’s one I’m actually quite proud of.This director was legendary. I arrived and I was asked to take my top off. I put two and two together and I just walked. But that happened in those days, it did happen.”

• Continue reading at The Express. NB. This article was created from quotes from Celebrity Radio’s recent interview with Toyah.

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Ultimate Classic Rock: Robert Fripp Recalls

April 18th, 2019

ucr19aRobert Fripp Recalls ‘Missed Opportunity’ With David Bowie

King Crimson leader Robert Fripp recalled the “missed opportunity” of working with David Bowie in 2002, and said his wife, singer Toyah Willcox, had never forgiven him for the incident.

Fripp appeared on Bowie’s celebrated albums Heroes and Scary Monsters during a period in which he had also worked with Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and others. In 2002, Bowie curated the Meltdown festival in London, England, and invited Fripp to take part.

“[There] wasn’t enough time to do it properly, so I declined,” Fripp told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “My wife has never forgiven me. My wife is a very considerable Bowie fan. That’s an opportunity missed, but I don’t feel I could honorably have engaged with it.”

• Continue reading at Ultimate Classic Rock.

Velvet Box Office: Interview with Toyah Willcox

April 16th, 2019

velvetbo19aPunk, rebel, icon. This week we are absolutely bloody delighted to be able to bring you an interview with a true legend. We will not lie to you readers, we are starstruck. Fangirl-ing all over the shop. She is an era-defining songstress, star of stage and screen and – pardon my millennial-ness – #hairgoals extraordinaire. She is, of course, the incomparable Toyah Willcox, and we chatted to her (ever-so-coolly) this week about rebellion, creativity, and her most recent album In The Court of the Crimson Queen.

Your career began in acting but many know you better as a musician. If that’s not enough, you have also presented and produced – what’s it like to have so many ‘hats’ you can wear, and do you prefer one to the others?

I think my career is purely accidental.  If I had superstar status, I would not be able to be diverse. My career is such that I am able to kickstart everything I do, and I think that’s what makes my career so unique. I do love being asked to do projects but most of the time I have to create my own.

So much of your work is based around – or an expression of – nonconformism, of rebelling. What do you think we should all be rebelling against nowadays, and what do you think the best form of rebellion is?

I am going to answer the latter first. The best form of rebellion is non commitment to what you don’t believe in and don’t want to support. The internet has proven that hatred is a too easy and convenient instrument to block all creativity. And, answering the first part of the question, the best rebellion we can have as exceptionally creative unique creatures is not to accept the mundane. For me the mundane is when you are encouraged to imitate others. None of us needs to imitate – we are all unique.

• Continue reading at Velvet Box Office.

In The Court Of The Crimson Queen: Further Press

April 14th, 2019

yourwkd19aAnother new In The Court Of The Crimson Queen cover for Toyah – Your Weekend, the Press & Journal supplement, published in Northern and Highland Scotland, including Aberdeen, Inverness and Moray. The print feature included in Your Weekend is previewed below.

The Press & Journal: Return Of The Crimson Queen – It’s no mystery as to why Toyah Willcox, who recently celebrated her 60th birthday, looks and sounds amazing. “I don’t drink, I don’t overeat, I drink lots of water and en route to shows I travel alone so I don’t have to speak to anyone,” said Toyah — This feature was previously published online earlier this week. See here.

Toyah was also interviewed in Friday’s Express, which only appears to have been available in the newspaper’s print edition as it hasn’t been published online, so far.

The Express: Music: My Six Best Albums – Toyah Willcox, 60, is a pop star and actress whose eight Top 40 hits include It’s A Mystery and I Want To Be Free. Her latest album, a new version of In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, is released today…

yourwkd19b

Marriott Meets Toyah: 2019 Interview

April 14th, 2019

pmarriottnet19aToyah: “There’s a common theme on my new album: how grief makes us better people. It makes our hearts stronger.”

Celebrating over four decades in music, Toyah this week releases a new studio reworking of her 2008 album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen.

Written and arranged by Toyah Willcox and Simon Darlow, In The Court Of The Crimson Queen has been newly recorded and mastered with the added bonus of extra tracks. The album’s 15 tracks explore life, love, empowerment and wonderment.  

In 1977, whilst playing the part of Emma in Tales From The Vienna Woods at The National Theatre, 18-year old Willcox formed a band. After several line-up changes, they spent a brief period under the name Ninth Illusion, without recording any music. The following year, the band – comprising of Joel Bogen (lead guitar), Pete Bush (keyboards), Dave Robin (drums), and Windy Miller (bass) – decided on naming the group Toyah.

• Continue reading at philmarriott.net.

The Guardian: Toyah Willcox Interview – The Q&A

April 13th, 2019

guardian19bToyah Willcox: ‘Relax? I have no idea what the word means’

The musician on her white rabbit, giving advice and still holding hands with her husband after 32 years

Born in Birmingham, Toyah Willcox, 60, appeared in Derek Jarman’s 1978 film Jubilee, and Quadrophenia in 1979. Her early hit singles included It’s A Mystery and I Want To Be Free, and by 1982 she had made two platinum-selling albums.

She has just released a new studio reworking of her album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, and is currently on tour in the UK. She is married and lives in Worcestershire.

When were you happiest? Between 2007 and 2016, I had a large white rabbit called WillyFred. I was happiest pressing my ear to his fur and hearing his heart beat.

What is your greatest fear? Living in an environment of banality.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I am disproportionately ambitious.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.