Toughness Is: Getting Your Act Together

If you can put a name to this face with the piercing eyes you are probably one of the handful of people who got a jolt from Derek Jarman's seminal movie 'Jubilee'. That's where Toyah Willcox made waves as the punk wildcat with the scorching vocal delivery, hissing and spitting at the recording studio glass panel separating her from the world's richest man Borgia Ginz (he of the hyena laugh).

The fiction of 'Jubilee' has a real life parallel. Toyah is lead singer in a new band named after the 20 year old singer/actress. Perhaps that should read actress/singer because Toyah is soon to star in a George Cukor movie 'The Corn Is Green', in which she plays a "mixed up Cockney kid who gets pregnant". Patricia Hayes, of 'Edna The Inebriated Woman' fame plays her mother and the legendary Katherine Hepburn staggers back into celluloid once more in the lead role.

Birmingham born Toyah sees the role as her passport to America and as a means of getting the group some instant attention. The four London lads who make up the rest of the, three month old, group seem pretty chuffed with the idea too.

Original songs, an impressive demo tape featuring four of them and Virgin Records expressing interest in signing them, the group are throwing all their energy into building a stage act. Nothing too theatrical as yet, mind you. That takes money.

Lead guitarist Joel Bogen met Toyah two years ago when he was in another band. That's when she made her first foray into singing with a group. Before that she trained as an opera singer, though listening to her sing one hears more actress than diva filtering through.

Joel and Toyah met up again this year and the idea of 'Toyah' was born. Joel auditioned musicians (he stresses the word) and chose Pete Bush (keyboards), Dave Robin (drums), and Windy Miller (bass). So far they've played private gigs but on July 13 they play the Young Vic.

NME, 1978