“We realised during lockdown that classic rock changes people's lives…” Toyah and Robert Fripp on why they do what they do

Robert Fripp and Toyah on BBC Breakfast
(Image credit: BBC Breakfast)

Robert Fripp and Toyah appeared on BBC Breakfast news this morning, 21 June, to promote their forthcoming appearance at Glastonbury, the first time either of them have played the Worthy Farm festival. 

Asked about the Toyah and Robert’s Sunday Lunch videos “which spread such joy” during lockdown, Toyah gave a bit of insight into the thinking behind them. 

“We realised during lockdown that classic rock changes people's lives and it gives people the chance to visit really good memories. For me, it will be David Bowie’s Life On Mars, which I first heard when I was 12. Every time I hear that song, I'm taken back there. And very much the concept of what we are doing is taking people back to classic rock, but also introducing new generations – who've just come from the dance tent – to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, or even introducing them to classic Blondie.”

The presenter commented that the age range of people entering Glastonbury for the festival was huge. “Let's face it,” said Toyah, “we should live every year of our lives as if it's the best year of our lives and age should not be something that we judge.”

Fripp has played some of the biggest festivals in the world, and King Crimson opened for the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in 1969. The two just played at the Isle Of Wight Festival. ”I was probably the oldest person on the site,” says Fripp, “and I was probably the only person on the site that actually played festivals in the 60s. In 1967, when I turned professional, we all knew that music could change the world. And the free festivals were a primary vehicle for [what] today you might [call] social transformation. By getting together with music, and a lot of people in these events had such a power that we knew the world could spin backwards and the future could reach back and grab us.”

What was the difference between the older festivals and today’s, he was asked. “To begin with, they were all free,” said Fripp, “primarily run by volunteers, including the Hells Angels. And today, the spirit is there, but the organisation is much more professional. And if you're getting several tons of equipment on the stage, and turning up to an event with hundreds of thousands of people, it's very good that the organisation is professional.”

Viewers in the UK can watch the interview on BBC iPlayer here from 1hr 49mins.

Tom Poak

Tom Poak has written for the Hull Daily Mail, Esquire, The Big Issue, Total Guitar, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and more. In a writing career that has spanned decades, he has interviewed Brian May, Brian Cant, and cadged a light off Brian Molko. He has stood on a glacier with Thunder, in a forest by a fjord with Ozzy and Slash, and on the roof of the Houses of Parliament with Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham (until some nice men with guns came and told them to get down). He has drank with Shane MacGowan, mortally offended Lightning Seed Ian Broudie and been asked if he was homeless by Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch.