Toyah Enjoys Vampire Rocking

Steve Steinman's, Vampires Rock returns to Blackpool Opera House tonight – this time with special guest, former chart star and television personality Toyah Willcox.

It's a return visit to the resort for the actress and rock star who was here for Gay pride last year.

"I was on North Pier and it seemed very shaky," she said. "I thought 'this is moving' so I did my show and ran."

In a career spanning over 30 years, Toyah has notched up 13 top 40 singles, recorded 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays, made 10 feature films and presented hundreds of TV programmes from The Good Sex Guide Late to Songs of Praise.

"I've always been careful to try and maintain a healthy career balance," she says. "I've been lucky with good management.

"Most of the time I create documentaries – I'm lucky in that people phone me about work – not the other way round."

Her acting career began at the Old Rep Drama School in her home town of Birmingham and her breakthrough was playing Mad in Derek Jarman's 1977 epic punk film Jubilee.

It was later that year she put her first band together and within two years she was juggling hit records with roles such as Miranda in The Tempest and Monkey in the film Quadrophenia.

"It was a case of my chart success interrupting a healthy acting career," says Toyah.

That's part of the reason she had no qualms about joining up with Steve Steinman in Vampires Rock.

"It's one or those shows that is growing and growing," she says. "I was asked if I could go into it and I thought 'why not?' It's one of the largest touring one night shows in the country with a full band and a full show – and it's a rock show rather than a concert."

Set in New York in 2030, the undead are among us and livelier than ever, none more so than in club Live and Let Die, where aspiring singer Pandora (Emily Clarke) arrives to audition to be resident vocalist.

Little does she know that the only job on offer is to be the eternal bride of evil Baron Von Rockula (Steve Steinman) alongside current spouse the Devil Queen (Toyah).

It's been one of her busiest years – a best selling Best Of album, a record audience for her documentary on insomnia ("l am an insomniac - so I've got a lot of time on my hands"), a free festival in King's Lynn performing to 15,000 people and playing Billie Piper's mum in Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

She has also embraced new ways of marketing her past and future recording product.

"I-Tunes and YouTube are phenomenal vehicles - I've taught myself all about them because I saw them as the way ahead."

Hence the Official Toyah MySpace site which previews her new material and the Toyah YouTube channel with her videos.

Blackpool Gazette
November 2008