Oxford English dictionary definition of Toyah
Willcox runs thus, "small irascible vole
equipped with contagious laughter and fiendish
footwear". Her heels lay entrenched in red
carpet, London SE1, as the toes sped busily
through Whitehall streets impaling unsuspecting
passers-by on the svelte felt (suede actually)
points, like an animated kebab.
It often seems that
no matter what publication you perceive, there
beams Toyah, scowling, "when I was young I
masticated over helpless neighbours", and
she sits, her toes travelling unhindered through
the Northern wastelands, whilst the mind remains
rooted in the interview situation. As ever she
laughs easily, punctuating speech with ceaseless
giggling until the subject of music arises, when
she takes on a far more serious demeanour. We
begin by discussing her current thespian
involvement, 'Sugar and Spice'.
of lines involved. Have trouble learning
any more. I mean, that's the biggest part I've
ever played., It took six weeks to learn that
part. I did have trouble learning 'em but
eventually I achieved it. The achievement is the
only reason for doing it."
ever muffed them onstage?
the fucking time (laaaaauuughhs), every night.
You get to the point where if you're not
concentrating I find I'm talking a load of
gibberish because I'm missing certain words out.
I'm not thinking about what I'm saying, and the
cast are looking at me in horror. You do things
like that 'cos there's so many lines, you forget
you are talking sense."
Did you do
it because you needed stage experience?
I would like to one stage play a year 'cos it's
training, really good training."
training than a film?
Film can be so related and you don't have to
concentrate so much. I just find it a good
refresher course. It just makes you
coming up? Tell me in ten seconds.
God, I don't know. 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde', a
film on BBC2. I've done 'Urggh', the music film,
two albums coming out. One with the new band
which we're working on, and one live album called
'Toyah, Toyah, Toyah' which I've got nothing to
do with whatsoever, and a live version of
'Danced' is coming out as a single, which to me,
I'm just treating it as a goodbye to the old
band. I don't like the rehashing of old material.
All I'm interested in is the new
What do you
see as the perfect role to play?
all men's parts - the Marquis de Sade, a man who
is into pornography and cruelty. he's a sadist
and a masochist. It's written in verse and it is
a brilliant play. It's horrific and totally about
madness. I would love to play him, but there's no
female role I've ever been impressed with except
'Taming Of The Shrew'. I don't know...Queen
Elizabeth the First...period sort of
stop you doing a man's part.
the directors (screech!) and the promoters
typecasting? All your roles have been
will get round that with age. At the moment I'm
so young, and young parts are usually based on
the type of parts I'm playing. So I won't get out
of the evil type roles I'm playing until I'm
older I don't think. Till I'm more mature, 'cos
I'm so small. So small and childlike...I end up
playing deceptive roles."
of people thinking, 'is she putting it on?' when
used to "act" at one point but I don't
anymore cos I'm a bit more independent now. I've
finished with Jem. I haven't got anyone mothering
me now, and I have nothing to hide anymore. I
used to have to hide this complete tantrum going
on in my head the whole time. I used to suffer
from this a lot, just explosions going on in my
head. I used to hide them. I just used to sit
there being very nice, otherwise I'd be running
around smashing up the furniture. But now I don't
have to worry about that 'cos I've sorted myself
out. In know who I am now. When you know who you
are you don't have to hide anything or prove
Do you like
'em. I was made to throw one for a tv documentary
being made on me, and by the time people started
arriving I was so frightened at having to go out
amongst them that Tom, my bodyguard, had to drive
me off 'cos I couldn't go out. They really freak
me out, parties. Everyone wants to talk o you,
you get piss artists trying to chat you up,
you're just expected to be nice the whole time,
and I all I wanted to do was go, "Get out of
my fucking warehouse!" It gets up my nose,
because you can't have a conversation. The people
I invite to parties never turn up, but the rest
of London does."
of 'niceness', does this bother you?
don't really care. What's annoying me is people
are writing interviews of me that make me look
really aggressive. There was something in the
Sunday Telegraph about, 'I care about so and so
but everybody else can sod off' and it was a joke
but they printed it as though I meant it, as
though I hate everyone on this bleeding planet,
and I don't like the way people bend your words.
I don't care what people think of me...so what if
you're nice, so what if you're horrible? They
think, 'she's a punk rocker, and punk rockers are
supposed to be nasty, but we have found a nice
punk rocker and (laughs) so fucking what?!!!
your favourite piece? What do you regard as your
most successful tracks to date?
I would've enjoyed 'Sheep Farming In Barnet' if
it had been produced better and fuller. As a band
I was happier with what we achieved with 'Blue
Meaning'. It was definitely a band contribution,
something the band did as a whole for a change,
rather than me bossing them about, even though
the band fell apart after it. I'm not really
happy with anything we've ever done, except
'Victims Of The Riddle', which was the first tune
I ever write, but 'cos a certain member of the
band was so stinking jealous that I had written a
tune on keyboards it went out as he had written
it, otherwise he'd have left the band and I
didn't want that 'cos I quite liked his keyboard
from now on I don't give a fuck about personal
problems. If Anyone does not like anything then
they can fuck off 'cops I'm not having my career
ruined. I played mother to that band for two
years and they just walk out on me. It's left me
bitter, but I know I can survive without
Is the new
music very different?
gonna be based more on 'Victims Of The Riddle'
type things. It's gonna be more simple and more
from the heart than the head. I dunno, I want it
to be like 'Danced' and 'Neon Womb', the numbers
with energy, but also with something that people
can understand in the lyrics. I want to make it
more fun with better use of technical effects
like stereo, but not over the top. We've still
got Joel Bogen who has improvised no end. I'm
going to sneeze. Aaaaachoooooooooo."
you. We're using the keyboard player from Blood
Donor. He helped write 'Victims Of The Riddle'. I
can control him and he can control me, we are
quite a god writing team. The bass player is
called Andy, and the drummer's called Nigel. I
can't remember their surnames, and can easily say
they are better than Charlie and Steve. They come
up with really nice, unselfindulgent rhythms.
They're really inspiring, so I am pleased. We
haven't had to take a step back, we are taking a
major step forward.
got the old band's experience in front of 'em.
They know what the possibilities are. I'm going
to use them at set times, and when I'm acting
they can do what they want. They're free spirits.
They're prepared to drop everything to work with
me. Things are better already. I actually like
it. I'm quite impressed with the music, which is
marvellous because it's my success they're
sitting on. They are cool, mature
Do you get
pissed off with interviews?
don't get pissed off with 'em, I just...em, they
helped me explore myself as the
we left it. As I wandered off into the London
streets to get hopelessly lost, the red-haired
object was scuttling about wondering who to
invite on her 'Friday Night, Saturday Morning'
stint. After that it's 'Blue Peter', 'Play
School'...who knows what else?
to Mick Mercer