REBEL WITH A CAUSE

Toyah's new single is all about love. In the video she plays a glamorous temptress. Has the fiery rebel finally conformed? Ro Newton found out.

"I've grown up. I've become a much more secure person and don't feel the need to prove myself. I don't want to be a joke anymore."

So says the new Toyah Willcox. The actress and chanteuse extraordinaire is now sporting a new philosophy.

Toyah's back and means business. She's as vivacious and enthusiastic as ever but determined to move away from her old image.

"I don't like gimmicks," she states, "because eventually you become one. It's false security. I'm searching for a kind of critical acclaim and quality I've never had.

The 'image' thing has alienated an audience from my music that I would dearly like to win over."

Does this mean Toyah 'the rebel' is finally going to conform for the sake of mass appeal?

"I couldn't even try to be utterly normal because I'm not," she grins. "I want people to see the real me. In the past I've wasted time posing, now I just get on with it. I'll never be a lovey-dovey girl - there'll always be a sting in my tail.

"I've spent four years being zany, portraying the outrageous punk, and I'll always be wild. When the doors are closed I strip off and run around the house naked screaming like a banshee."

LOVE

Toyah's blunt honesty is intriguing and sometimes disturbing. Her new single 'Don't Fall In Love', released after a lengthy absence from the charts and a new record company deal, reveals a dramatic change in lyrical content.

She no longer recounts nightmarish fantasies but ventures into that much used and abused emotion - love.

"For me, love is what wars were fought over. Women are what wars were fought over. They are the controllers through time, oppressed because they are so sexually powerful and threatening. Men only lock up what they're afraid of."

So underneath all the powder, paint and peroxide, is Toyah a closet feminist?

"To be a feminist you don't have to resort to looking and behaving like a man," she exclaims. "You see these really beautiful women with men falling at their feet. If they had half a brain they could be real rulers, but they always end up as slaves to man.

"I'd like to see women being more subtle - like the black widow spider, attracting the males and then attacking..."
 

In the 'Don't Fall In Love' video Toyah appears as a sophisticated temptress which, considering her views on image, does seem a little contrived.

"We chose a dress that was really wicked," she enthuses with a mischievous gleam in  her eye. "It was made of rubber and took three people to get me in it."

WAR

This will doubtless attract unwelcome attention from the weaker sex, something Toyah's not averse to...

"When I was doing Trafford Tanzi, I had to wear a skin-tight leotard and soon found out that men were coming to see it because they got off on watching a woman fighting a man. It was perverse. There I was, making a wonderful political statement for women, and the dirty raincoat brigade just lapped it up."

In future, Toyah doesn't see her career following one particular path.

"I'm terribly fickle," she admits. "I've a total addiction for everything I do - until I get bored. I thrive on spontaneity and I've got to keep moving.

"I'd love to be able to produce and direct a film and when I'm very old and rickety, I intend to write a fantastic book which either makes people cry or shit themselves... I'm interested in psychic research and developing the sixth sense.

"Most of all I want my voice to mature and get rid of the lisp. When I see myself on the screen and hear that voice I cringe... no wonder people want to strangle me!"

Number One Magazine
May 1985