Sheep Farming In Barnet (1980), The Blue Meaning (1980), Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!
(Live) (1980), Live At The Rainbow (1981), Anthem (1981), Live At Drury Lane (1981), The Changeling (1982), Love Is The Law (1983), MINX (1985), Prostitute (1988), Ophelia's Shadow (1991), Take The Leap! (1993), Velvet Lined Shell (2003) 


Toyah talks Sheep Farming in 2020 πŸ — 

Toyah talks Sheep Farming - read the transcript
of the 2020 box set interview above HERE

SEE ALSO the 2020 box set Special Feature



The main song on The Blue Meaning was 'IEYA'. This song already had a remarkable history. I've always believed that music is a universal language and if I was asked to define God, I'd say God is music. Music transcends everything. It's the most wonderful form of communication and proof of the existence of God. And really good music makes you transcend your natural state; it helps you evolve. The glory of punk was that it brought music down to a level where young people could find their identity, find their feet and become confident.

'IEYA' started off as a jam, a jam on stage. Some months before, we'd been playing Bath, where we had a hall full of two thousand rioting kids. The show itself had gone phenomenally well, and as usual in those days we hit the fourth encore and we'd run out of music. What we used to do was repeat a song called 'Danced', about the second coming of Christ, which would slowly build layer upon layer of sound, encouraging the audience to dance and dance and dance almost into a hypnotic state.

Well, at Bath we had a lot of trouble with the National Front. A lot of my band were Jewish, and we all found it particularly offensive that the NF would recruit at concerts - they'd go around the audience intimidating the youngest, the smallest, the scrawniest boys into joining the NE By the end of this concert in Bath, the NF were chanting 'Sieg heil' at the back. Charlie Francis, our bass-player, found this intolerable, and Joel kept taking his guitar off to go and beat them up, which we all had to stop him from doing. Instead we just shouted back 'Nazi scum' and got the audience to chant 'Nazi scum'

For the fourth encore, all we could think of doing was something that had started as a jam in the sound-check that day, which was 'IEYA'. It was a sequence of chords that grew, so every verse had more chords added to it, and it had a fantastically simple chorus, a chant, 'IEYA'. 'IEYA, I am solar, IEYA I'm the beast.' I have a habit of writing about extreme opposites: I often write about Christ and Christianity in hidden forms, and then the next day I'll write about the Devil and mankind

'IEYA' is about mankind believing in ourselves so much that we believe we are immortal and can become our own gods, therefore challenging God as the Devil, in the form of the Devil; man being the beast. So we walked on stage and started 'IEYA', and within the first sixteen bars the audience was behaving in a way I'd never seen before. And because 'IEYA' had no real form, we'd only ever jammed it, what should have been a four-minute song went on for twenty minutes, and the audience didn't stop dancing once, and I just kept making up words as I went along

At the end of the concert the NF were so incensed that the police were called and had to get us out via the Gents window at the back and into a police van, because the NF were outside, kicking in cars, waiting for us at the stage door to kick our heads in. A full-blown riot was in progress.

When we started to record 'IEYA' in the studio in Battle, we had to put it into a digestible form and decide how long it was going to be. It turned out to be seven minutes long, which is longer than any average song. But the atmosphere in the studio became terrifying. Just like when The Exorcist was made, things started going wrong. Technical equipment wouldn't work, arguments would start out of nowhere, distrust would enter the studio, and I had a severe problem with writing seven minutes' worth of lyrics in what was a repetitive song.

It took days for me to record the vocals. It was a multi-layered song, and the chorus had many voices - all mine. But doing the verses was murder. I hadn't quite learned by this time that the simpler I kept the subject matter and the simpler I kept the phrasing and the words, the more effective the song would be. I always wanted to make things over-complex to try and prove myself.

Eventually, after many frustrating late nights in the studio, the song was put down and we sent it back to London for Safari to hear. Safari loved it so much they played it over and over again in their office and decided it should be a single. On about the twentieth play in one day, a man appeared at the door of Safari records with a knife, grabbed Tony Edwards by the throat and said he would kill him if he ever heard that song

Thus began the legend of 'IEYA' - the song that could turn any concert into a riot. It was just an incredibly powerful song. The question is, did we write it or did it come to us from somewhere else?

(Toyah Willcox / 2000)

Toyah talks Blue Meaning in 2020 πŸ —

Toyah talks Blue Meaning - read the transcript
of the 2021 box set interview above HERE

SEE ALSO the 2021 box set Special Feature


Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Was an album I new nothing about until it was happening. Prior to the live recording I had a film crew following me around making the ATV documentary that was to be screened prime time in Winter 1980. The crew had been at my warehouse, at band rehearsals, at play rehearsals, followed me shopping, eating and playing.

By the time we had made it to Wolverhampton the novelty had worn off and to be honest I wanted a bit of peace and quiet. So imagine turning up for a quiet out of London gig to find the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit outside and a full film crew inside the venue, all this and I hadn’t had a hit single yet.

What I did have was an incredible fan following which made my rise into the mainstream inevitable and everyone wanted to be there first. Can I remember the gig? Yes, I was in the town Slade came from, and Jasper Carrot for that matter.

The gig was to end a tour that had started months earlier but a play at the Royal Court called Sugar and Spice interrupted the schedule as did a short tour of Germany. This was the last gig I did as a club act, three months later I was the biggest thing in England since sliced bread!

(Toyah Willcox / 2006) 

Toyah talks TTT in 2022 πŸ —
SEE ALSO the 2022 box set Special Feature


Toyah talks Live At The Rainbow 2022 πŸ —
SEE ALSO the 2022 Reissue Special Feature


Toyah talks Anthem in 2022 πŸ — 

Toyah talks Anthem - read the transcript of
the 2022 box set interview above HERE

SEE ALSO the 2022 box set Special Feature  

(Originally released as Good Morning Universe - Live At Drury Lane)

Toyah talks Drury Lane in 1982 πŸ —
SEE ALSO the 2023 Reissue Special Feature 


Toyah talks The Changeling in 2023 πŸ —

Toyah talks The Changeling - read the transcript of
the 2022 box set interview above HERE

SEE ALSO the 2023 box set Special Feature


‘Love is the Law’ is a saying I borrowed from the famous occultist Aleister Crowley. I was never a fan of what he represented, which was mainly dark, devious and debauched, but I thought the phrase ‘Love Is the Law’ was possibly one of the most beautiful to ever be uttered because it crosses every social and tribal divide.

The making of this album was the happiest period of my life because in 1983 everything was going right. I was starring in a stage play called ‘Trafford Tanzi’, which won me especially huge critical acclaim, and I was about to star in a film, ‘The Ebony Tower’ with Lord Laurence Olivier just as soon as the album was finished.

Because my schedule was incredibly full, the band moved into my house in Finchley, London where we transformed my gym into a make-shift recording studio to pre-write and programme all the material in the daytime. I’d then go to the theatre for five o’clock and meet the band at the Marquee Studios to do the main recording of the vocals after midnight. It was a killer timetable but I loved it with a passion.

Because of work and time commitments we tended to write very quickly. I’d complete a lyric the same day as I had to record the vocal, this has it’s up and down side, but the most powerful effect is spontaneity and a broad spectrum of possible meaning in each song as I never had time to rethink anything.

Also, as you may guess, I was surfing on adrenaline for almost six months and by the time I got to the recording studio at midnight each day I was literally ready to explode, thus the track ‘I Explode’, one of my all time favourites. Sometimes my head would be racing so much that the only way to get me to calm down was to give me a sleeping pill.

This is not something I would readily admit, but it was the only way the producer could get me to sit long enough to finish a track and is the reason ‘Rebel of Love’ and ‘Martian Cowboy’ sound so relaxed for a Toyah song!

(Toyah Willcox / 2005)


Up until 1984 my record company and various other ‘suits’ in my life had always referred to me as Maggot - to my face, which I thought was particularly brave. As soon as producer Chris Neil came on the scene he shed a more gentle and flirtatious light upon me by calling me the Minx. Luckily it caught on and allowed me to grow up and mature into a butterfly rather than a bluebottle.

By 1984 the world had changed beyond recognition from the punky, spikey, spitting and cursing days of 1977, when my music career started. There was a shocking conservatism among artists especially women, which was only banished by Madonna with the improbable wish, ‘like a virgin’.

Minx was my growing up, my first steps into maturity and my first step into large, world dominating mainstream record companies. I had left my long-term relationship with indie label Safari Records in the hope of reaching a larger market and signed to CBS’s fledgling label Portrait.

CBS, at this time was run by Maurice Oberstein. A living legend in music, who had worked with the Beatles, the Stones, the Who. Now his dream was to collect all the best female singers in the world and sign them to the one label, Portrait. He went out into the world in 1984 with a shopping list of names from Dionne Warwick to Pat Benatar, to Tina Turner to Debbie Harry and tried to buy them all.

From this came Minx and out of all the albums I have ever made, this one belongs firmly in the 80s. It is such a period piece it astonishes me. It’s that clichΓ© that, at the time one believed you were breaking new ground, being inventive, being the first, but in truth this album is as free of its’ place in history as the mini-skirt is free of the 60’s and Glam Rock is free of the 70s.

There are albums I have made which remain fresh, competitive and relevant in present times but Minx bless it, is a granny among the young. This isn’t to put it in a negative light, but to place it rightfully in its musical pocket. This album won me a worldwide following, in countries I had had no previous success and many put that down to the femininity of the writing and production. Minx definitely made me more accessible and desirable to a wider audience.

(Toyah Willcox / 2005)

1985 / 1987
MINX /DESIRE From the 2020 Box Set SOLO



What is a Prostitute? “A woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse for payment”, if you want to be literal. But that is not the meaning in this case. For me, Prostitute is a word of great power, often misused and misinterpreted. It is a word that evokes poverty, a slavery and entrapment of the opposite sex. It is a word that says compromise has become exploitation. A word created by misogynists and applied to too many great women through the ages.

The period in which “Prostitute” the album became a concept in my head was a period of unavoidable change. I had lived through phenomenal popularity as an early eighties icon, and I felt that all that was new and vibrant about me had become staid and predictable. I was desperate to change and move on and to express the real me that had become embedded in layer upon layer of images and misquotes.

I had recently married my husband, it was 1987. I made one fatal mistake. In private we were an ordinary couple who loved everything about the other. In public we were the odd couple that prompted ridicule and speculation about the longevity of the relationship. My husband Robert Fripp is a very intelligent man and considered an academic in music. I, on the other hand was a pop star, shallow, an airhead in the eyes of the academics. This is how we were perceived and I had made the fatal mistake of believing love was enough to justify a bond between two people. Boy! I was f ------ angry.

All the scum of music journalism suddenly felt the right to play God and judge our private lives, instead of showing any form of decent human nature, all they did was display their mental fascism. At this time hubbie and I had the same management and they too treated me as the little woman who would retire and have babies. I was ready to kill!

By entering into this marriage I felt I had gone from all-powerful artist to invisible woman. My bank manager would discuss my bank accounts to my husband without even bringing me into the conversation. It goes without saying I was f------ fuming. There was a great need to get this out of my system. Metaphorically I was ready to kill.

A friend of mine at the time was Alex Paterson, he was a roadie when I knew him, and later went on to form The Orb. I mentioned to him that I was desperate to do an album of pure vocals, where the content of the lyric was the driving force and very little else interfered with it. Where the structures were basic but the words carried the impact. This fascinated Alex, where I saw vocal complexities, he saw vocal minimalism.

It was a good meeting for both of us, he helped me sort my head out and after that I decided that for the first time in my career I was going to compose and produce an album where I would not compromise my ideas for anyone. Alex went away and created “Little Fluffy Clouds”. This album was an exorcism for me, an exercise in self worth.

In the UK when my management tried to sell it to the music reps, an awful lot got up and walked out of meetings; all male I hasten to add. In America, Billboard magazine said it was the dawning of a new era for me as a producer and that it was an antidote to Madonna. (I disagree as I feel Madonna is one of the greatest women of all time)

I started to receive mail from professors at eminent universities telling me they played the album at their lectures as an example of the new way of thinking coming from contemporary women. I could have made a career out of being angry in America alone, but why throw fuel onto an insatiable fire when change can be achieved in far subtler ways. This album struck a chord that never stopped resonating.

(Toyah Willcox / 2003)


If I were to be asked which of my albums were my favourites, my answer would be Sheep Farming In Barnet because of its youthful naivety, Love Is The Law because it has a freedom about it's style of writing, but above those I would rate Ophelia's Shadow as the one album I made that truly represents me. It was planned as part two of a trilogy, Prostitute being number one, and was made during a more settled period in my life.

Prostitute had proved it's self a small critical hit which gave me a lot of freedom as a solo artist and producer to call the shots on a larger album using a full band. It was recorded at the same time l as I was writing and performing for the band that I had with my husband Robert Fripp, Sunday All Over The World. Creatively I felt I had escaped the tag of being an Eighties pop star and was dawning on a new future as a true musician/songwriter.

At the same time I was appearing in the Christmas show Whale at the National Theatre, so life felt good and on track. Because of that O.S. is not such an angry album, which believe it or not I had complaints about from professors in the USA who thought they had found a new raging feminist after the release of Prostitute, instead O.S. is more feminine, touching deeply the truth of who I am, more so than any other project I have ever embarked on. I am fiercely proud of this album and want it to be the one I am remembered for as I think it has never found its audience.

The title for the album came from my love of the spurned character Ophelia, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ophelia is driven mad and kills herself because of unrequited love. The Shadow is a reference to Jung's Shadow, the dark alter ego we all have that plays our demons out, inside our heads. The idea is about the old femininity, the one that is capable of self sacrifice and unconditional love meeting up with a new mind set, the woman who is free of her romantic heart and capable of uncompassionate actions.

There is also direct reference to the transience of beauty and a celebration of decay, but that is just perversity on my part, I love the idea that a person can carry a bible of dreams, whether they have been realised or not. The Shaman Says is about lust and the gentleness of fingers upon acoustic guitar strings is part of its sensuality. Prospect is about digging to find yourself, your gold, your soul.

Take What You Will is very much in the Prostitute vein that most men feel they own their women lock, stock and barrel. The final piece of music on the album is played out by the legendary jazz pianist Keith Tippet, who I have been a fan of for years. It leaves the album without closure and a feeling of suspense. How can you have any closure on an autobiographical piece when you are only 28yrs old? 
(Toyah Willcox / 2003)

1988 / 1991

From the 2020 Box Set SOLO 

By 1992 I started television presenting, this was complete career change, nothing I had ever planned, but it restored my confidence in life and in myself. Alongside this I was acting but I wasn’t singing and no matter how hard I tied to leave the world of music, lets say my soul dragged me back! Because of my past experience I felt I couldn’t seek music management, in fact I never have since 1990, I’ve managed myself. But there was a calling to be singing again.

I had spent a year in Berlin writing and recording with Kiss of Reality, and was now back in England presenting all over the country. One of these jobs was in my then home town of Salisbury where I was very active on the youth scene. In fact a young, undiscovered P.J. Harvey and myself where briefly involved with an all women’s choir during this period.

I was filming a series called A Tale of Four Cities, when I chanced upon a young local band called Friday Forever. They were extra ordinarily talented and to help put their foot on the ladder to becoming professional I took them out on the road on a national tour, where we split all profit equally among ourselves. They did very well out of this!

Record companies were showing interest but I wasn’t ready to commit to a company who would tell me what to do regardless of whether it was right for me or not, so I financed Take the Leap! We all moved into a deserted farm house on the outskirts of Salisbury and for three weeks we lived and breathed the music.

The drums were in the living room, the lead guitar in a bedroom, the bass and rhythm guitars in other bedrooms and in order to get good sound separation I was in the barn surrounded by hay. All the tracks where recorded as live with very little overdubs or repair. My live soundman Paul Nicholas was at the helm and problem solving all the way as we tried to chase ducks, cows and crows from the building. Once all the tracks were down we hotsy trotted to Judy Tzuke’s studio in Weybridge and started the mixing process.

The boys in the band did really well, they ended up recording and touring with Judy Tzuke, Mark Owen and Scarlet. Not bad for a team of 18 year olds who were still taking their A-levels when we were recording. I love God Ceases To Dream and I hope some of the songs will get picked up for a film soundtrack one day. Personally, I give the best vocal performances of my career on this album.

(Toyah Willcox / 2006) 

1993 / 2003

From the 2020 Box Set SOLO

Toyah talks Solo - read the transcript
of the 2020 box set interview above HERE

SEE ALSO the 2020 box set Special Feature


1981, Marquee Studios, Soho, Central London

PHIL: After the shock of being asked to leave Original Mirrors (and it was a shock at the time) I bumbled about for a few months, doing casual work in betting shops for money, playing, hanging out and getting stoned with my mates The Dirty Strangers, remaining on the look out for something worthwhile to pursue in the music business. I remember once meeting a young (very young 20 I think !!!)

Guy Pratt down at Hammersmith Rehearsal Studios at this time and us both being unemployed and musing over getting decent music careers. The next time I saw him, less than three years later, he was playing with Icehouse and I was playing with Mike Oldfield ... not bad progress for both of us !!!

Anyway ... through my connection with The Boys, a band that the Bernie Torme Band had supported in 1978 and who were signed to Safari Records, my name came up for consideration for the new Toyah band which had recently shed three members. Having been part of Original Mirrors was apparently a big plus on my minimal CV. I went up to meet Toyah and her band partner Joel Bogen in Rob Lyons' (Joel's best mate) flat in Mountfield Road North Finchley for a chat to see what it was all about. I loved the quirky nature of the material Toyah and Joel had been writing to date and their style really opened the door for me to become seriously experimental with my playing.

I had to learn a lot of the previously recorded material for our first gigs together and I'd never really listened to anything like it let alone even THOUGHT of playing stuff like this. It was, I think, quite unique and there lay the attraction for me AND apart from my obvious musical ability and enthusiasm, I also proved to THEM that I could smoke pot for England!!!

I got on well with them both and related to their 'vision' of the band moving forward so I was IN !!! I remember leaving to get the bus home (yes ... the number 13 bus from Finchley to Baker Street!!!) and Toyah asking if I was alright ... that's the one thing I recall about that evening because I thought that was very sweet of her. To me it was perfectly normal to get that stoned; I was already a dependent addict. Whilst I didn't suffer too much physically (you can take a hell of a battering at 23), there was something 'mind altering' in my body the whole time.

We first got together as a band in December 1980 to record the 'It's A Mystery' EP with Nick Tauber producing, Toyah and Joel, myself, Nigel Glockler on drums and Adrian Lee on keyboards at the Marquee Studios, behind the Marquee Club in Soho. The EP released in January 1981, as it was, was a success so we did our first college and university tour to support the record in early 1981 (including a show at The Rainbow, Finsbury Park !!!) and then the Anthem album sessions were scheduled.

We started to rehearse and arrange the music at JBL in Victoria, gathering for breakfast every morning round the corner before (for me anyway) the obligatory joint smoking started. I think the joke was ... no skinning up before ten ... ten in the morning !!!.

These early times with Toyah were, for me, the happiest. I think this album is a good reflection of the creative abilities and energies of this particular band although there's a proliferation of machine-type stuff on it much due to the advent, at the time, of MIDI of which Adrian would have considered himself a pioneering expert. He WAS a wizard with technology and had a lot of influence in the studio BUT we were, in essence, another rock band.

Nigel got me listening to the band Japan and I got obsessed with having a 'chorused' bass sound as a result. We also listened to Rush (thanks Nige !!!) and The Moody Blues' 'Long Distance Voyager' quite a bit on the tour bus. That's what I remember anyway.

The subsequent tour to support this album was a fantastic time for all of us as we were players in and part of a genuine 'pop phenomenon'. In a relatively short space of time this band became more and more successful, sold more records, got more publicity, got more money and, inevitably, there were more drugs around. It was usual for us to have cocaine delivered to the studio which helped to feed egos and paranoia and propagate a feeling of gravity and high tension.

So we could be incredibly high and happy one minute and having a blazing row the next. For me, having more money than I'd ever had in my life, it was now normal to snort coke, smoke pot and drink booze all day everyday and certainly all night. To be fair to Toyah she never got too involved in the drug taking, rows or disagreements openly ... she was, as always, incredibly busy working at her career and she did work very, very hard.

I don't really listen to the MIDI driven stuff on this album; I think it feels a bit flat and dated thirty years on. I love the rocking tracks particularly 'I Want To Be Free' which is still one of my favourite bass lines I've ever come up with. I never get tired of playing that line ... I think it's genius !!! The obvious influence to me there is Phil Lynott. Everything I ever learned, absorbed or copied from him is in the bass line in that song ... it's early period Thin Lizzy through and through. 'Jungles of Jupiter' was my take on The Police and probably should have been the third single from this album whilst 'Marionette' had one of Joel's excellent repetitive chord structures around which I could really play the bass my way.

Of course Toyah sang her wonderful fantasy lyrics over everything ... I don't think she has ever sung as well as she did during the two years or so she, Joel and I were together and I think that was because we really PUSHED each other in a healthy, competitive way.

NIGEL: I totally agree with Phil in that we were really a rock band in in disguise! - I remember listening to Rush' s Moving Pictures album endlessly in Phil's flat on his auratone speakers whilst downing endless cups of tea and smoking Marlboro's like there was no tomorrow! - God, we loved the Lee/Peart interplay !!! I also remember showing Joel the Eddie Van Halen tapping technique in the studio one day. But we were perceived as, I guess, a New Wave band, so there were boundaries musically, although we were quite experimental in places.

In the beginning we grew very close but, as time went on, I felt it all became a bit fractured - did the drugs help cause this? Who knows? I just started to find it unbearable - we inadvertently divided into two camps - Adrian and I in one, Phil and Joel in the other. It almost became a competition as regards the songwriting which, even now I think is not a healthy atmosphere in any band - jealousies arise etc - my big regret is that we were all a bit immature/naive regarding this - everyone worked so damn hard to turn peoples' very basic ideas into musical platforms for Toyah's amazing vocal excursions - there were no passengers !!!

It was this worsening atmosphere that caused me to quit and join Saxon, otherwise I know I would have stayed. Looking back we should have had it out - who knows what might have been !!!

I'd love to re-record all that stuff as a proper rock band - we're all so much more proficient as musicans now, and more mature! When I think what we could do to all that material my brain goes into overdrive - the cross-pollination of everyone's influences would be so exciting! And I think Toyah's singing better than ever - sorry to disagree Phil !!!

The good thing is that Phil and I are close mates again, and I'm so glad of that! - and I'm fucking proud of what we achieved!

Thank you Nigel for your input. It's important that I get an objective opinion from somebody who was intimately involved in this process at the time. There WAS a strong, loving and unspoken about bond between us that has sadly eroded over time ... I suppose people grow up, drift apart and move on. None of this helped latterly by my ultimate descent into chronic addiction when I became a singularly unloveable person to say the least ... Having said all that Joel and I are still close friends to this day but I had to clean up and start learning how to BE a friend ...

Anyway by the time the next Toyah album was made, 'The Changeling', we'd shed more members and become moodier, darker and a lot more serious having been through a lot more mayhem and madness ... hahahaha ... read on ...


1982, The Roundhouse Studios, Chalk Farm, London

PHIL: After the success of 1981 culminating in our New Years Eve gig at The Drury Lane Theatre, which was broadcast 'live' on the BBC as 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', the beginning of 1982 was a time to take stock. Nigel Glockler had left the band during the previous summer and Adrian Lee left the band immediately after the Drury Lane gig.

Looking back at it with hindsight and perspective we were all quite emotionally and physically drained after the whirlwind that was 1981. The European tour in the autumn of 1981, whilst it was fun from the playing point of view, and quite exciting experiencing new countries and cultures, was fraught with tension.

Adrian was obviously setting himself up to develop a solo career which certainly didn't sit well with me and Joel who were very much "all for one, one for all" in a band sense and hated the selfishness of people just taking from the band all the time. Toyah was working at everything that was thrown at her, be that music, tv or anything else in the popular media; Joel and I had become very close (we still are) but even we argued like fury under the right circumstances.

Simon Phillips, who'd been hired to play drums after Nigel left, was able to use his experience to engage or detach himself from proceedings as and when necessary. There's no doubt in my mind that with the addition of Simon, our levels of ability and the intensity of our music work was taken up a notch. I'll write more comprehensively about all this when the time is right; right now it's about The Changeling album ... an album recorded with great challenges, difficulties and tensions, but a great album nonetheless and overall, my favourite Toyah Band album.

Joel, as he always did, had carried on writing music at every opportunity and I'd been helping him to record the demos at his home in North Finchley whenever the band as a whole weren't doing anything or Toyah was doing other work in the media. I remember us (me and Joel) suggesting everyone agree to a break of six months or so. We thought it would create a bit more mystery around the band rather than continue to batter the public with new material and constant tv appearances, gigs and tours. I think that Toyah was worried she'd lose HER popularity and the management and record company were happy to carry on 'milking it' for as long as they could.

The whole sound and theme of The Changeling album could have taken us, and Toyah, onto to a whole new and more serious artistic level LONG TERM, away from the pop sound and into a genre and musical world inhabited by the likes of Siouxie and The Banshees, The Cure or even Kate Bush ...

IF we'd have had six months rest, propagated a bit of hunger and curiosity amongst the public and media and given them all the chance to accept and get used to some forward thinking changes. One could argue that we were successful anyway during 1982 BUT, only for a very, very short time ... We had the potential to engender, perpetuate and MANAGE a career for life. Oh well ... the album itself ...

We had a new producer for this one, Steve Lillywhite, a tape op turned engineer turned producer, who was considered 'hot' at the time. Mine wasn't to reason why particularly; as it turned out I found a good partying partner in Steve AND subsequently played on other projects for him.

The Roundhouse studio was the chosen venue for recording and we started there in February 1982. Remember there was a lot of pressure to go in and record more 'poppy' stuff but for us, we just recorded what was happening for us at the time and the recordings turned out, I believe, as a perfect document of that particular time.

We did fourteen pieces of music in three days, as backing tracks to begin with, which Toyah then worked on lyrically as the recording process progressed. Then it was just a question of natural selection; the most obvious tracks came to the fore and the album took shape ...

SIMON: The one big thing I remember about recording the Changeling was the fact that it was the first time I had recorded to a digital system. I had heard much about it but for some reason none of the projects I was involved in were utilizing this new medium.

The system installed at the Roundhouse was the 3M Digital Audio Mastering System which comprised of a 32 track recorder, a 4 track recorder and a digital editing controller. It was basically the first time I was to hear playback without tape hiss. This certainly gave the album a special if not different sound and I think was perfect for the music we were recording.

I first worked with Toyah in 1981 recording a single called "Good Morning Universe". It was basically just drums and vocals to start with and it was very different to most of the music I was playing at the time. I found it extremely creative without the usual boundaries of what had become the norm for rock or pop music at the time. So when it was time to record The Changeling I was happy to see that there would be even more creative and different approaches to the music.

Steve Lillywhite, the producer and engineer, I had met a few years before when he was just starting as a tape op at Phonogram Studios. In my opinion he was perfect for this record as he was also interested in breaking down the old barriers of how to perform and record music. I thought the music that Joel Bogen and Toyah had come up with was perfect for the treatment that we gave it and each take was a performance - very organic actually from my recollection.

I had a wonderful time with Toyah and the boys recording the record. I knew the studio well as I had played many sessions in there during the 70s so was at home with the sound of the room and Steve did a great job on the drum sound.

That's about all I can remember about it!!!

On reflection I think this is my favourite Toyah album - at least amongst the albums that I was involved in helping to make. I think that we went on to prove and qualify how good we were together with our performances on the tour following the release of this album. That is evidenced by the next album I'm going to write about 'Warrior Rock - Toyah On Tour'.

WARRIOR ROCK - The Changeling Tour

1982, Hammersmith Odeon, London

PHIL: So by this point in time the Toyah Band had had 5 hit singles and two hit albums while I'd been in the band. The Changeling album had been recorded under a great deal of stress and released to 'average' reviews. For the relatively recently acquired commercial audience it was probably a bit too 'deep, dark and moody' but for us I think it was a perfect document of that time, for that particular group of people, and my favourite Toyah studio recording.

Those studio recordings were a natural progression of the way that group, Toyah, Joel, Simon and myself, played music and songs together once we had got to know each other better, and the live performances on the summer 1982 tour were a perfect extension of that principle.

Taking those two albums together, Anthem and The Changeling, on the road kind of capped the previous eighteen months work which had been pretty relentless. For me the whole tour was like one big party; in fact the whole Toyah experience since January 1981 had been like one big party but if I were to take this tour apart from the rest, it was a big, BIG, BIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGG PARTY !!!!! My God . . .

The tour in general was quite a long blur for me with one day morphing into the next caught up in a cycle of getting stoned, traveling, checking into a hotel, sound checking at the venue, eating if possible, getting more stoned, doing the gig, getting more stoned after the gig, doing the after gig meet and greet, getting more stoned still and then getting REALLY stoned into the night, sleeping if possible and then starting the whole process again the next day.

Sounds mad I know but that's what it was like for me and I can't say I didn't enjoy it because I LOVED IT !!! I had enough money for partying and anything else I fancied and, what's more, it was such a long way from what I saw as my miserable and deprived life as a teenager. I was actually living the dream and having an absolute ball.

My set up on stage, whilst relatively simple, was still probably the most comprehensive I've ever had during my career because of the way it was mixed out front. I had an original late 1960's Ampeg SVT 300 Watt bass amp head and two matching 8x10" speaker cabinets, a Roland S555 Tape Chorus Echo which was engaged the whole time as part of my 'sound' and my black maple necked 1978/79 Fender Precision bass and, curiously enough, NO spare bass guitar.

The complicated part was the number of channels I had that were being mixed together out front by Tig Lewis (R.I.P. another victim of heroin addiction) our wonderful sound man. I had two direct channels, one directly FROM the bass and one AFTER the effects and then TWO channels run from miking up the cabinets; it made for one FAT sound I can tell you.

I'd always been fascinated by the trebly sound that Chris Squire got with YES and I went a bit further in trying to make the bass sound like a giant piano … that was the idea anyway. It can be heard most clearly on this album at the beginning of 'Danced' when the bass is loud and proud and JUST LIKE A GIANT PIANO !!! I also had a Roland tuner which I hated; over the years I've gradually lost the tuner from any set up I've had as my basses are ALWAYS in tune.

If the bass moves at all for any reason i.e.. stage temperature or enthusiastic band mates bashing into me, then I tune up with what I can hear on stage … I hate any extra machinery or technical shite in the way. Non of my heroes had tuners and they all did very well !!!

On this tour there had been designed and constructed a sort of Egyptian influenced stage set with a couple of different levels that Toyah could run about on with her also having the freedom of using a radio mike. I remember largely sticking to the stage floor level where there was ample room to jump up an down and run across the stage which Joel and I did with much enthusiasm. We had become very aware of each other and where we were at any given time during show so the audience's focus was always in the right place. I think people think that with a band like this that you go out there and it just works on it's own BUT I always remind people that it's like being in a football team.

There was always a lot happening onstage and we needed to communicate with each other constantly. Whilst we may have had a basic format each night, that format had to be flexible and in that way we kept it interesting, on edge and even dangerous so, one could say, you didn't know what was going to happen next. With the stage set came a set of curtains which made for a very tense and exciting opening to the show. We were dragged out of the dressing room every night by Alan Hornell our tour manager with me usually crying, 'Please Al … just one more drink, one more joint, one more line !!!'.

We'd creep into position in the dark, get ourselves ready to start and then begin making those noises that can be heard on the record before the curtains opened then Simon would hit the opening drum fill to 'Good Morning Universe' as the curtains opened with the crowd screaming blue murder. I LOVED this opening to the concert … you can hear me making noises on the bass with my tape echo unit directly influenced by my love of Roger Waters bass work from Pink Floyd recordings, particularly 'One Of These Days' from 'Meddle' my favourite Floyd record.

For the record there are some overdubs on this record which were done in The Marquee Studios at a later date before mixing. They were mainly done because of technical difficulties with some of the sounds recorded on the night. There are various lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards and a couple of bass lines done again that were, in actuality, no different to what was originally done on the night. Listening to and watching clips from the Drury Lane concert the previous New Years Eve 1981 as a comparison, I can safely say that all our live performances were just about as good and accurate as they could be in relation to all the physical energy and performance that was put into them onstage.

As far as the songs go on this album I love them all. Particular favourites are 'Good Morning Universe', 'Castaways', 'The Packt', 'Angel And Me' and our always and forever blistering version of 'IEYA'. As I said earlier, we had a basic format for the songs but also had the organic capability as a team to take those songs on different journeys on any given night.

No wonder we were once sarcastically labelled as a pomp rock band … it was true … theatrical performance, suburb musicianship, good songs and a fantasy figurehead up front; almost like a pompous Ziggy Stardust (which I'd seen the last show of at Earls Court in 1973 as a fifteen year old) or Genesis in their Peter Gabriel-era mid seventies theatrical prime (I wasn't a fan!!!). It's a wonder to me that not a single date from this tour was ever actually filmed ...

The photographs on the inside sleeve of this double album reflect pretty accurately the way we were as a band from day to day. For all the apparent external pressures we had fun together before, during and after the shows. I think this album as a 'live' document, recorded at the height of Toyah-mania, is as good as any live record I've ever heard from any other band or artist. A fitting tribute to a band at the height of it's powers which was subsequently never as successful again.

All in all though, by now I was thoroughly drug dependent so my perception, retrospectively, could be viewed as a little skewed. For me the writing was on the wall even though I had tried to hang on out of a vague sense of love and loyalty; realistically I was going to move on even though, at the time, I didn't know to where … BUT … there was one more Toyah album that I had a small part in helping to make … 'Love Is The Law' … BUT between this album and my contribution to 'Love Is The Law' came a most unexpected and fortuitous upturn for me, Mike Oldfield's 'Crises' …


1983, Marquee Studios, Soho, London

PHIL: I have mixed feelings about this album primarily because, apart from writing and submitting quite a lot of demo material I had written with Joel, I didn't really have much to do with the recording at all.. The Toyah Band had done yet another UK tour at the end of 1982 and the ticket sales had started to evidently diminish compared to the success of the Changeling tour the previous summer.

My view retrospectively is that it was just too much more, too soon, with no new recordings but the 'live' album to support and, with Simon Phillips having gone to pastures new, we should have gone away, had a good rest, regrouped, made solid new plans and come back in 1983 fresh and strong with a new look and sound.

As I said in The Changeling story this band could have had a very long and carefully planned artistic career like Siouxie And The Banshees or The Cure but other people in and around the band had other agenda. In the music business and life that often means the selfish and narrow minded way forward isn't necessarily the intelligent way forward. I suppose I also realised that any lingering hopes I had at this time, the end of 1982, that we were going to continue as a band were rapidly disappearing.

I had been asked by Mike Oldfield to join his band for his summer European tour earlier in 1983 and, having done some studio sessions for his album 'Crises' in February of that year, had decided that this was an excellent opportunity which I needed to take so I could move on and hopefully UPWARDS with my music career.

I can't remember exactly how or when this happened (probably about the end of June) but I know that after I'd come back from Mike O's tour I got a call about coming down to the Marquee Studios to put some bass on a few tracks that apparently 'weren't quite right yet'. Touring with Mike had been, yet again for me, a veritable whirlwind and, whilst I had partied merrily across Europe, my career and reputation had climbed considerably overnight. Coming back to my old 'band friends' was a nice thought but I found that the atmosphere around the whole thing had changed.

I was still partying and snorting coke for England and most certainly at the top of my game as a young musician and supremely confident at what I was doing musically. In retrospect when I think about it, I could sense there was a little resentment towards me from certain people in the Toyah camp as I was suddenly in a new band (MO's band) that had a massive hit all over Europe with 'Moonlight Shadow', and I mean MASSIVE, and that kind of international success, for one reason or another, had eluded Toyah and the Toyah band. Joel to his eternal credit was pleased for me, as a true friend would be, as was Keith Hale, but I can't say that everyone else was.

The sound of the band that I had known and been part of had certainly gone and in it's place was a somewhat 'wishy-washy' sound that had obviously been worked up in a home studio somewhere without the participation of a full group as such. Remember that music production had been moving into an era where computerised technology, often controlled by keyboard players, was beginning to creep into and also overwhelm a lot of productions.

That's not to say that bands who'd learned to use the burgeoning technology as part of their sound were producing mediocre music; far from it. OMD, Depeche Mode, Human League, Heaven 17 and Ultravox for example all found a valid place for what I call 'machinery' in their successful productions.

In my experience and understanding, if you're going to have a traditional live band, that band should work because you have a drummer, bassist, guitarist and keyboard player, all with their own idiosyncrasies and talents, doing their own things and contributing accordingly and coming together with the singer topping it off, often writing the lyrics and delivering them with passion and self belief.

With session keyboard players largely assuming control, with no real feel for the other instruments other than what their machines could produce and what they THOUGHT should have been be played, you got and still can get very soulless and unsympathetic sounds and arrangements which may flatter to deceive but aren't in fact very good at all. I think that was the case with a lot of this album … If you listen to the beef and guts of 'Anthem' and especially 'The Changeling', for me there's no contest sound and feel wise …

The brightest spot in this whole exercise for me was that, after two and a half years, I finally got the credit for helping to write one of the singles. I'd come up with the verse sequence for 'The Vow' and I remember playing it to Joel in my front room in my flat in Regent's Park. We were always messing about with grand ideas based on or influenced by classical music because Joel is, on the quiet, a very good classical guitarist … part of his training as a kid I imagine.

I considered The Vow's guitar picked chord sequence, or the way I tried to play it, quite original at the time and Joel went away with it and added his bits, then Toyah added hers and it finished up as quite a lovely rock ballad. I daresay that two years earlier it would have been a much bigger hit than it was. Ironically I didn't actually play on it either … Still, after all, it was an ambition fulfilled for me …

Going back to the sound and the feel of this album I remember getting my usual hard and crunchy sound with the Ampeg and the black Fender Precision and then overdubbing the bass to some of these tracks and feeling like I had to smash the life out of them because the feel of the tracks just wasn't there for me. It was so obviously an album made largely by session players, certainly not a band.

Now there's nothing wrong with session players of course; I've largely been a session player in my own career BUT there are horses for courses and getting session players to try and recreate a band 'sound' for something they've hitherto had no idea of i.e. Toyah, plus band, plus personalities, plus direction etc. again was naive and short sighted. Maybe it could be seen as a career progression for Toyah ??? I don't know … maybe I'm just biased !!! I know there are a lot of people quite fond of this album so maybe I'm doing them a disservice but it just doesn't do it for me.

I've had to have a really good listen to this album to work out which tracks I did finally play on because the credits recorded in various places on the internet differ depending on the source. So here's a list of the tracks I BELIEVE I played on …

I Explode … My bass is mixed in with some kind of synth bass, certainly on the verses Rebel Run … That's me and my 'thumbs rock' sound The Time Is Ours … Not sure about this one … I'm listed as playing but it sounds VERY laid back for me … needs more listening !!! Love Is The Law … full 'rock' mode … MY Fender/Ampeg sound Remember … ditto above

As a post script I did do a couple of backing tracks 'live' along with Andy Duncan playing drums. Andy and I were to appear on other records together and I always found it very easy to do backing tracks with him 'live'. We played together on Jimmy Somerville's album 'Dare To Love' in the 1990's and I played some of my best ever bass to his programmed rhythm tracks on Robbie William's 'Sing When You're Winning' … good guy …

RIP Phil Spalding (19 November 1957 – 5 February 2023)