Music's most adorable couple, Toyah and Robert Fripp lit up first the nation, and then the world when their 'Sunday Lunch' series grew to become a phenomenon. Seeing the husband and wife iconic artist and King Crimson founder come together for a series of cover songs recorded in their kitchen, the weekly event has grown to clicks in the millions, leading the pair to take it out on tour. We caught up with Toyah at Rewind South to talk about Sunday Lunch, and plans for a movie celebrating it. Sheep farming in Barnet; Eamon O’Neill.
Hi Toyah, it's a pleasure to be chatting to you today; how are you?
I'm really good, thank you.
You're no stranger to Rewind festival, are you? I've seen you comparing here over the years.
I compared in 2018, and I've been performing with Rewind since it started. It's been really a lovely, lovely family to work with.
What's it like to be coming to Rewind to perform as a musical artist today?
Okay, let me bring you up to date. My social media has 120 million followers. I've had five top 30 albums in the last four years. I'm on the road with Robert Fripp playing to 30,000 people. I've been on the road for the last 20 years, so I'm very happy to come here. This is what my day job is. I haven't come out of the cupboard, and I haven't come out of retirement.
Robert Fripp is clearly your husband, and like most, I've been addicted to Sunday Lunch from when it first started. You're bringing that on the road now, aren't you?
Yeah, we're touring at the moment. We've just done Isle of Wight, we did Glastonbury, we've just done Cropready [Fairport's Cropredy Convention], and we're doing theatres in September and October.
What sort of material are you doing on those dates?
Well, the Sunday lunch phenomenon, which is a worldwide phenomenon which a movie's being made about, it's basically, we picked up on classic rock, and our treatment of rock is; if you can teach Mozart and Beethoven in schools, then why can't you teach classic rock? Because that's what it is now; rock from Led Zeppelin, rock from Black Sabbath; it's classic, it's never going to go away. And it's something that I think, kids would really love learning about. That's not that we're going on the road and being educational, but our show kind of goes on a journey with artists we know, artists who visit us in our homes; for instance, when we didn't Cropready, Robert Plant was with us. So an artist, Robert's worked with, and I've worked with, and I've had charting hits with, so it's a really big spectrum of music over two and a half hours.
From Sunday Lunch, I've seen you go even heavier, playing the likes of Metallica, and then you do something like The Prodigy's 'Firestarter'; it's such a broad scope.
We do Black Sabbath, we do Metallica, we're adding all the time. We do Cream, and we obviously do people like Blondie, because Robert worked with Debbie Harry. So it's it's it's very broad.
How did you go about choosing the songs? Are these Toyah and Robert Fripp's favourite songs?
It has to fit with just a single guitarist and a single singer. So there's absolutely no point doing certain shred tracks. If you've got a bass shredding, and you've got a guitar shredding, Robert can replicate that. So we choose songs where Robert feels he can replicate the truth of what leads that song, and then we just work on that.
Sunday Lunch was something that started life and really blossomed in the lockdown of 2020.
Sunday Lunch came about because we posted one clip, 28 seconds, something like 19th of April 2020, and we had 100,000 replies within five minutes from people who were just desperate, absolutely desperate. They were on their own. They were in lockdown. They didn't know when they'd be able to leave their apartments, and we, Robert and I realised that this was at that particular time, a very lonely and frightened world. So we decided to keep posting, and it grew from there. What we didn't expect is it went from about 100,000 to 10 million, and then last week it was 120 million. So it's getting bigger and bigger. It's actually become like a brand.
You've mentioned a movie about Sunday Lunch; can you tell us anything about that?
We have a documentary crew following us, and we have quite a big production company scripting an idea at the moment. Obviously we won't be in it. It's for actors to play, but that's all in the back kind of pool of what do you call pre-production. All of that's going on.
Do you have any say in details like, who's going to be in it?
I mean, movies take years, you know, for the even scripts to be accepted, so who knows what will happen?
Something lovely about Sunday lunch was that it was performed right from your kitchen in Pershore, Worcestershire. You have a real heart for that part of the world, haven't you?
Well, when I was born - I'm 65 - my parents had a boat and a caravan in Wyre Piddle, which is just outside of Pershore, so I've been going to that area all my life. Every weekend was spent in that area, and when I married Robert, we honeymooned, and we had to hide from the paparazzi, so we honeymooned on the High Street in plain sight in a pub, and the press never found us. And Robert just completely fell in love with the place.
Watching the pair of you perform together, it's clear that you still adore each other.
I do adore him. He's 77, he's very precious!
So what's next for the for your for the pair of you?
We're touring Sunday lunch, so that starts at the end of September, doing all kinds of main theatres around the UK, and then we're out again in the new year. So it's really busy. Trevor Horn has recorded us and produced us on his new album. We've re-recorded 'Relax' [Frankie Goes to Hollywood}, and that's out on the 1st of December.
That's going to be something.
It's beautiful. It's really beautiful.
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