To Be A Vampire
Willcox talks to Viv Hardwick about her Vampire
Rocks role and why she doesnt believe a
word she reads about herself in newspapers.
If you were going to
select anyone to be a Vampire Queen then Toyah
Willcox was always likely to be top of the list.
I was born to play this role, she
laughs and says that the impression of her isnt
a worry. I really like the idea that
eventually I get to play a devil queen. Its
the baddie role, the roles where you can really
go out there and not be logical with your
behaviour and I really like what weve done
with this particular character. Shes
completely off her rocker and has to become quite
human and feminine to win her husband back.
So its quite
hysterical, she says.
The 50-year-old has agreed
to take on the role in the show, Vampires Rock,
for 44 dates, which includes York next month and
Sunderland in October, 2009.
interesting the majority of the dates are nice
intimate theatres, but at Christmas were
doing Liverpool Arena and then Belfast, so its
a lovely mix of venues. Its actually a big
show with a lot of us on stage and theres a
full rock band who are on the stage all night,
plus dancers, actors, a full lighting rig and
pyrotechnics. It must be the biggest touring
one-night show in the country.
Vampires Rock has been
building a cult following for the past five years
and shamelessly appeals to the fans of The Rocky
Horror Picture Show.
People go along
because they feel part of the show. When Steve
Steinman, the creator, contacted me I was both
intrigued and very interested, says the
singer/actor who came to the showmans
attention after spending the last 12 months
creating Toyah TV on MySpace.
lots of bizarre videos, and energies and brand
new music. He said we can actually take
that and slot it into the show. My new
album came out and it charted at No 11 in the
itunes rock chart. So this is one of the first
symbiotic relationships to happen between new
music and a show which puts rock classics on a
pedestal, she explains. Her opening number
is her creation, Lesser God, but she also gets to
perform Billy Idols Rebel Yell and Alice
Coopers Schools Out, as the songs
provide a background to the script.
There a lot of
people out there who love their rock and roll but
they want to see something that is a little more
than a band and singers. So this is Spinal Tap
with teeth, she explains, adding that you
can argue that the script shouldnt get in
the way of the music.
Here, the ultra-thin plot
is Baron Von Rockular wanting to trade in his
2,000- year-old wife for a younger model. Its
a fast-moving show with a lot of comedy, so its
not a musical in the sense of a disgruntled
teenager looking for fame, Toyah
Her route to Vampires Rock
has been a year on the road touring with the Here
And Now arena shows, which has proved a huge hit
with fans, plus festivals.
Seeing her workload, which
included filming a new series of BBCs
Secret Diary Of A Call Girl with Billie Piper,
she says: I actually dont enjoy
sleeping. Its something I have to make
Im economical with
my time. For example, two hours before curtain up
I shut the dressing room door and dont
speak and thats phenomenonly restful. I dont
party and I dont like drinking and youd
have to pay me a million pounds to go into a
nightclub. I just dont live like that.
She does admit that she was more of a party
animal in her younger days but dismisses a lot of
the media reporting on drug-addicted
young pop stars as to be taken with a pinch
Every day I read
weird things about myself and its just
staggering. There was a headline on the Daily
Telegraph on-line recently: Toyah says
Madonnas ashamed of doing old songs.
I dont know Madonna and havent seen
her in concert for three years, but when you saw
the article you believed I was there on her
opening night. There was another headline Toyah
Wants Her Breasts Removed which makes me
think people sit around a table thinking up the
oddest things to say about the oddest
Thats why I dont
believe what I read about anyone else, she
Toyah has tried to put the
record straight with her autobiography, Living
Out Loud in 2000, and done her own piece of
journalistic research with a book on plastic
surgery from the inside Diary Of A
Facelift in 2005.
Everyone does it,
absolutely everyone and denies it and I have a
problem with that. I think its wrong to
have surgery and then go and tell people that youve
lost weight because youre dieting or you
look 20 years younger because youve got
good genes. It doesnt help people get on
with their lives that kind of dishonesty.
So thats why I wrote
about it, says Toyah, who found that many
of the people having the surgery were men. There
are just as many men who have the good old botox
as women, says the performer who claims she
has no complaints about the results on
I do what I do for
me. In the end everything is down to personal
choice, she adds. Interestingly, when I ask
if her intention was to look younger to further
her own career, Toyah asks if the interview can
move in another direction.
With a new album, Latex
Messiah, and a Greatest Hits compilation on sale,
Toyah says of her music career: I surprised
myself because I had retired as a recording
artist. I never expected to do it again. I
started 12 months ago writing for other artists
and then people said your voice is sounding
great, you should do an album and thats
why I started releasing a new video to a song
every few months on Toyah TV. So when the album
came out on itunes it charted immediately.
Radiohead have proved that sometimes itunes sell
more than mail order and CD sales, she
When I mention that fans
downloading her tracks straight to their
ever-present MP3 players are more likely to
listen to her music than CD buyers she
acknowledges the point.
visibility and Im lucky that I have a music
history and I get to play live, but it does seem
that everything is condensing and speeding up.
PNorthern Echo/7 Days