Toyah Willcox Stars in Steve Steinman’s Vampires Rock

Toyah first said she could do only 20 shows, vamping it up as the Devil Queen in a special guest star role in Steve Steinman’s touring musical Vampires Rock.

Steve, however, talked her into playing 44 performances last year and the Eighties’ pop star, film and stage actress, television presenter and author has agreed to return to the rock musical for another run of 55 shows between September and mid-February.

Why? “I’m enjoying doing other people’s songs because your memories are very different. They tend to be much more romantic than when you’re writing your own material to deadlines,” says Toyah, who returns to the Grand Opera House, York, on Thursday night.

“The songs we sing are great and mean something to everyone; the band is really phenomenal, the girls are phenomenal and it’s just a great show. “It’s fun, and it’s a tough environment at the moment, people are struggling, and so this show is a real tonic for the audience and performers alike.”

Vampires Rock is a musical spoof cum fantasy concert set in the year 2030 in a New York City where the undead are livelier than ever, especially Steve Steinman’s evil, club-owning, 2,000-year-old Baron Von Rockula.

Cue covers of Meat Loaf, Queen, AC/DC and some new additions for Toyah: “Live And Let Die… that’s going to be quite a challenge, that one; Shot Through The Heart; Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. That’s part of the show’s humour. Obviously, with Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, there’s just such an irony to singing that,” she says.

The 51-year-old Toyah “loves the dressing up” for playing the Devil Queen, a woman as red hot in her wardrobe as her name would suggest.

“There are new costumes for this tour, but I want them to be a surprise. One is red; there are two sets of armour, eight costume changes and three pairs of shoes over ten inches high; three sets of thigh-high boots; a silver thong and a gold thong. There’s great fun in planning them as you never know when you’ll find.”

You can see an example of Toyah’s costume designs in the video for her new single, a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, recorded with her new group The Humans.

“I have a place in Seattle now with my husband Robert Fripp and I’m going out to America regularly, playing in the band I have there with REM drummer Bill Rieflin and Chris Wong,” she says. “We now have an American manager and we’ll touring next year in the spring.”

First vampires, now Humans, whatever next awaits Toyah?

York Press
October 2009