Toyahs in fine form
By Caroline Dutton
Toyah Willcox is up there
with puffball skirts and neon leg-warmers when it
comes to embodying the Eighties. And on October
12 she's taking a trip down memory lane alongside
fellow '80s icons Martin Fry of ABC, and Howard
Jones on the Hitmakers Tour.
Toyah Willcox is
positively champing at the bit to climb into her
outrageous stage costume and belt out the hits in
the up-coming Hitmakers Tour.
"I can't wait!"
She shouts excitedly down the phone.
"I worked with Martin
Fry and Howard Jones about three years ago and
it'll be really good to be back with them. We all
love each other's music and we all have very
Squeezing three of the
Eighties biggest electro-pop stars onto one stage
seems a recipe for disaster, but Toyah insists
there's no diva-behaviour.
"There's no room for
egos in this kind of work," she said.
"But we all have that Eighties' bigness
about us. We're certainly not wallflowers by any
Toyah exploded onto the
scene in the late 1970s with a mean streak of
punk-influenced attitude shown in songs like It's
A Mystery' and I Want to Be Free'.
1982 saw her winning Best
Female Singer in the Rock & Pop Awards and
more recently she has graced theatre stages and
television productions in a varied acting career
and even had a stint in the Australian jungle as
a contestant on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of
Here!' She says musicians nowadays have it much
"The music industry
was very different when I started out," she
said. "We had independent labels the whole
point of punk was that if you made 500 singles
you could sell them yourself. That whole ethic
kept it going.
"Now record companies
are very big and very corporate. If you don't
sell a million you're out. I think that's really
harsh but I'm optimistic because My Space and You
Tube are allowing bands the kind of platform we
got. The whole world is tuning in to see what
people are up to.
"It would just be so
wrong if the only intention of the music business
was to sell a million albums. We'd lose all that
The Hitmakers tour comes
hard on the heels of a resurgence in the
popularity of 80s music and fashion - something
Toyah is revelling in.
"I'm loving the 1980s
coming back in fashion," she said.
"You've got to
remember that in the 1990s the 80s was considered
the pits. It reminded people of Thatcherism and
consumerism. But the one thing that's positively
survived is the music because it's so
"Our audiences range
from 15 to 60 year olds. The young kids don't
remember the bad days of politics around the 80s,
they just remember the music."
Toyah said she was lucky
to "side-step" negative associations
with the eighties throughout the 1990s because
she focused on her acting and presenting
"All through the
1990s I was presenting on TV and wasn't involved
in music much at all, " she said. "It
allowed me to almost step away from the barrage
"Now in 2000s I'm
playing Wembley, Manchester Arena. I certainly
wouldn't have expected that in my
And she admitted keeping
herself looking much younger than her 48 years
"I have to battle
with my weight the whole time," she
"I eat a good organic
veggie diet, I go to bed early, I don't drink.
You've got to and that's not just to stay looking
attractive either, that's to have the energy to
perform. We're all the same. On this tour all our
partying will be done at tea time - we'll all be
in bed by 11pm."
So what can audiences
expect from the Hitmakers Tour?
uplifting evening," said Toyah.
"All of us are
totally in love with our music and in love with
our audience. You'll get the hits, it's up tempo,
it's up beat and we want to send everyone away
with a big smile on their faces."
You can't say fairer than
See Toyah Willcox, Martin
Fry and ABC, and Howard Jones in the Hitmakers
Tour, at Manchester Opera House, on October 12.
For tickets call 0161 242 2524.
26th September 2006