It's been a busy year for Toyah Willcox - a new album, television work and now she's on tour with Vampires Rock. As the show prepares to sell out Ipswich's Regent Theatre she chats to James Marston. 

Toyah takes the call in her dressing room at Manchester's Palace Theatre. 

She's cheerful and excited and getting ready for a photo shoot when I ask her about the Vampires Rock tour. 

She said: "It's a fabulous show. It's a bit like Rocky Horror Show, it has a following all of its own. Audiences have come along dressed as Dracula, vampires, ghosts and ghouls. We're a good ten days into the tour now and we've been selling out the venues which is great. 

"I play the part of the devil queen. I'm 200 years old and the queen to Baron Von Rockula played by Steve Steinman. The story is he wants a younger wife. It's a story that goes down well with the audience. It is basically a heavy rock concert with a storyline."

When Vampires Rock premiered in 2004, it was immediately popular. Now the hit show, that according to the marketing blurb "combines a unique twist of rock, vampires, and comedy", is back for a new 44-date UK tour. 

Toyah said: "I think I get about four or five songs on my own and I'm involved in some of the big group songs. It has been fantastic so far and I'm having lots of fun."

With a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Toyah is no stranger to the stage. Over the year's she's notched up an impressive 13 top 40 singles, 20 albums, made ten feature films and presented hundreds of TV shows.

And this year she has brought out a new album - In the Court of the Crimson Queen. She said: "It's coming out commercially next Easter and it's been doing well on the iTunes charts."

More recently she's appeared in the hit TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl for ITV2, alongside Billie Piper.

During Vampires Rock she sings not only her own songs from her new album but also numbers by Twisted Sisters, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Guns and Roses and the Osbournes. 

Toyah said: "It's a very loud show. The costumes are fantastic. What I love about Vampires Rock is that it doesn't cut any corners. There are pyrotechnics  and excellent lighting. It is a visual experience."

The year is 2030 and Baron Von Rockula (Steinman) is searching for a new bride. When Pandora Honey Roseybox arrives to audition for the resident vocalist position at the Live and Let Die club, little does she know, the only job on offer is to be the Baron's eternal bride.

The night of classic rock is played out by the Baron's hand-picked band, The Lost Boys, and more than a hint of comedy thanks to his sidekick Stringfellow. 

At the heart of the show is the evil baron's attempt to convince Pandora to lose her soul to rock and roll.

Toyah, 50, said: "It reminds me of the visual rock I grew up with in Birmingham."

From her home in Worcestershire, Toyah is used to spending time on the road. 

She said: "I've been touring for 30 years so I'm used to it. I'm an on-the-road person."

Ipswich Evening Star
October 2008