Toyah

The Changeling

1982, The Roundhouse Studios, Chalk Farm, London

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 LONGTERM, 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 YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE !!!

"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'.

Toyah - The Changeling