1981, Marquee Studios, Soho, Central London

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. Over to Nigel Glockler...

"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 inadvertantly 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 everyones' 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 ...


Four From Toyah

I Want To Be Free


Phil Live

Phil and Nigel