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King Crimson guitar mastermind Robert Fripp and his wife Toyah Willcox rocked their fans in the latest episode of Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch.

The couple covered ZZ Top classic “Sharp Dressed Man” this week.

The cover has also featured the talented guitarist Sidney Jake.

For their ZZ Top cover, wife Toyah Willcox wore a sleeveless suit jacket and tie, minus a shirt.

Robert Fripp flashed by his musician wife Toyah while performing the song. She opened her shirt and showed off her body to her husband. The guitarist was surprised in front of it and liked it very much.

“The kitchen trio are back and even if we say so ourselves, all looking mighty fine …… AND ROBERT FRIPP IS FINALLY BROKEN!!!” Toyah Willcox captioned the new cover video.

At press time, the cover video earned more than 70,000 views and more than 3,700 likes.

This is the second time the couple have played ZZ Top songs. At the first time, they covered their “Gimme All Your Lovin‘”.

The couple has been mesmerizing the whole rock world with the covers they made through the pandemic, shared on each Sunday.

In the series, the couple played many epic songs of the legendary artists, including Metallica, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, David Bowie, and many more.

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Robert Fripp and Toyah Willcox on Their Viral Quarantine Videos: ‘We’re in This With You’

On April 5th, 2020, music fans stuck in their homes and cruising the web for diversions were greeted with one of the most unusual sights in a season filled with them: King Crimson auteur Robert Fripp and his wife, singer and actress Toyah Willcox, both elegantly dressed and dancing to Bill Haley and the Comets’ early rock anthem “Rock Around the Clock.”

Filmed on Willcox’s iPhone in the kitchen of the couple’s home near Birmingham, England, the head-scratching clip launched one of the year’s least likely and most talked-about viral series. Every Sunday since, “Toyah and Robert’s Sunday Lunch” (sometimes called a “Lockdown Lunch”) has presented a new clip of the couple having quick, good-natured fun at home. The ever-upbeat Willcox sings and vamps (while wearing a variety of costumes, from workout suit to cheerleader costume) while a deadpan Fripp accompanies her on electric guitar.

Occasionally, the couple is seen dancing together, as in a minute-long performance to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, where both wear tutus. But in most, they offer up abbreviated, roughly one- to-two-minute takes on songs no one would ever expect King Crimson’s guitarist to cover: classic metal and hard-rock songs, from “Smoke on the Water” to “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, as well as Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” (for this past Valentine’s Day), “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and “Purple Haze” (with Willcox changing the line in the chorus to “excuse me while I kiss this guy”).

And they’re clearly connecting with people: Their tribute to “Enter Sandman” has over 5.7 million views on YouTube, their version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” nearing 900,000. The song choices reflect Willcox’s back story. Emerging from the Seventies British punk scene, where she made her name as an actress (in projects like the film made of the Who’s Quadrophenia), she fronted her band, Toyah, before going solo in the Eighties; her music integrated punk, hard rock, and goth. She and Fripp married in 1986 and have collaborated in the early-Nineties band Sunday All Over the World and on her own records.

With the first anniversary of the videos approaching — and Willcox preparing a new album of original songs, Posh Pop, out this summer — the couple sat for a Zoom interview in the very kitchen where they’ve become viral stars. Here’s a mature couple that love each other having fun,” Fripp says. “Astonishing, isn’t it? At home in their kitchen!”

“What’s the alternative if we weren’t having fun the whole time?” Willcox adds. “It isn’t even worth thinking about.”

Whose idea were these videos to start with?
[Points to Willcox.]

Willcox: It started with “Rock Around the Clock.” I wanted to get Robert moving. This whole thing about being in lockdown was people were stopping moving, and our generation must move. So I taught him how to jive to “Rock Around the Clock,” and we filmed it. It’s the first time we’d ever posted anything like it, our first step into that form of social media. And we got a million hits within a couple of hours as far away as the Philippines and Australia. And we thought, “Wow.”

Fripp: Mine is a slightly more nuanced view of this. My wife has been insistent. Performers have a responsibility to perform and at this particular time to keep people’s spirits up. This is a very English cultural tradition. Essentially, when things are really bad in England, what you do is begin laughing and do silly things. A good reference point is the Ministry of Silly Walks on Monty Python. Now it’s, “Robert puts on a tutu and dances to Swan Lake at the river’s edge with his wife.” So I have followed my wife’s sense and vision of these things.

Willcox: The one thing that kept coming back to us was that people were desperately lonely. All these messages were coming back from people going, “Thank you — I was on the brink.” And you say, “Well, the brink of what?” “The brink of not being able to continue.”

And we realized that if we kept posting these with a continuity, we were saying we’re not in some big mansion somewhere, drinking champagne and laughing it off. We’re actually in this with you and we’re sharing this with you. We realized we could still be the performers that connect with our audience. Swan Lake — I’ll let my husband describe that to you because I’ve not really been forgiven for it.

What do you mean?
Willcox: With Swan Lake, it seems so obvious that one of the funniest things we could do not leaving our home was to go to the bottom of the garden and perform Swan Lake. I happen to have two tutus in the house. I cut one up and got Robert in it, and that is literally a couple of takes. No rehearsal. I’m saying, “Robert, just go across camera.” “Robert, mimic me. Follow me.” I was treating it with this British sense of humor, and Robert was treating it as the best he could do. And that is why it’s such a beautiful, charming piece. When we released it, it got a lot of positive response, but there were a few headlines in Europe saying we were mocking people with our lifestyle.

Fripp: We live in the center of a nice, very traditional, almost modest English country town. We have a very nice traditional English terrace, with the garden, which goes down to the River Rea. We are exceptionally fortunate and we don’t have an attitude of privilege. And there was some commentary, “Look at these rich people showing off their stuff, flaunting it to us.” But I understand people who are stuck in [apartment buildings] not allowed to go out to the park. I can understand that it might be seen as rich people flaunting their stuff. In fact, it wasn’t like that. It was what the English do. When things get tough, they begin looking ridiculous.

Toyah, I’m going to assume that you chose most of these hard-rock covers.
Willcox: Yes! I give Robert a list and out of that list of six songs Robert chooses which one he feels he can honor, playing in his tuning, and then we take it from there. I choose the songs because I know that visually I can make them work in this space. For instance, with “Girls, Girls, Girls,” I had to erect a screen halfway through the kitchen so I didn’t smash anything with the tennis balls.

What is so extraordinary about the songs in this particular last 12 months is that the lyrics have more meaning than ever before and that could never have been planned. So with “Girls, Girls, Girls,” when a lot was going on between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the Royal Family, I decided to do the tennis playing and the to-ing and fro-ing — the whole idea that girls are only one thing. And then you put it with Mötley Crüe, who completely objectified girls as pole dancers. You then just have this phenomenal amount of comment within 90 seconds.

Fripp: It reflects the different cultural conventions, norms and values of L.A. and England. The clues are there, with the volleying between the parties.

What was another song whose lyrics seem relevant now?
Willcox: “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It was coming up to Christmas and that really was one where we wanted to point out that that spirit of teen spirit is still alive in us, but we’re not encouraged to ever use it once you get over 30 years old. “Rebel Yell” exactly the same, which I think I did on a trampoline. The spirit is still in us. It doesn’t fade. I’m 62 going on 63, and Robert is 73 going on 74. But I think nothing was quite ever as beautifully placed as “Girls, Girls, Girls” the day we did it. That was the sweet spot.

Toyah, were there songs you presented to Robert that took some convincing?
Willcox: Actually, “Girls, Girls, Girls,” for quite a while. But he’s becoming more and more open. He hasn’t actually said no to anything, especially in the context of how popular these songs are with a mass audience. And we realize these songs have formed people’s lives, that these people had discovered these songs when they were in love with someone, when they were getting married. These are really great punctuation songs for people’s lives. [Turns to Fripp] So you don’t really say no anymore, do you? We find a way of doing it.

“These are really great punctuation songs for people’s lives.” —Toyah Willcox

Fripp: I look at the challenging technical aspects. Can I play it on guitar? Is one guitar sufficient to support my wife? Can I honor the music? If it’s an orchestral ballad, it’s not really going to be a go.

Willcox: Yeah, it’s got to be up. It’s got to get you on your feet.

Fripp: Rockin’ out.

Robert, have you ever played songs like “Smoke on the Water” or “You Really Got Me” before? And what was it like learning them?
Fripp: Essentially no to the first question, although if we go back to 1965 to 1967, I was a hotel musician in Bournemouth [in the south of England]. As the young guitarist in the band, the band used to turn to me and say, “What twists do you have, Bob?” in other words, it’s the guitarist’s responsibility to present the band with the latest hits that young people in the audience would want to hear us play. Moving forward 50-odd years, nowadays, were I in that position, essentially that of a cover band, you would be expected to know all these tunes — everything from the Eighties forward — and be able to present honorable versions of them. In a sense, that’s what I’m doing today. It’s not a giant leap, although for the past 50 years my primary repertoire has been King Crimson, not other bands.

How did you pick “Enter Sandman,” where Toyah is singing while on a treadmill?
Willcox: “Enter Sandman” came about purely because I wanted to make my husband laugh his head off. So sometimes, you know, you get great commentary. Sometimes you’re just having fun. I just bought the exercise bike because in lockdown, the people who do exercises online are hugely successful. And it was this whole idea of, here we are, all rock entertainers, and we’re doing our exercises and we’re doing what we should be doing onstage, which is playing and singing.

And then there’s also the added element that I went braless to make my husband laugh, which was purely an act of innocence where the lighting really just helped turn it into something else. There was a flurry of sending that particular clip around to my online team, and me saying, “Does this disturb you? Does this look wrong?” And of course, my team are male and they went, “No, we love it.”

Which song made you think, “You know, this is a pretty great tune …”?
Fripp: Well, actually, pretty much all of them. My personal favorite at the moment is “Enter Sandman.”

Willcox: And [Alice Cooper’s] “Poison”! They’re all brilliant songs!

Fripp: I mean, they’re all utterly stunning things. I’m blown away by the original guitarists on these tracks. Phenomenal development and playing primarily since the late Seventies and early Eighties, Van Halen onwards. Steve Vai, Satriani, the Metallica boys … The originators of the riffs are phenomenal players. I go back, listen to the original versions on record, see live performances, look at different interpretations and guitar covers on YouTube. Then I have to honor the spirit of the music while making it my own.

Robert, how did you decide to perform a rare vocal on Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love”?
Fripp: Well, actually, I have performed that live. I performed it live with King Crimson in the bar of a hotel in Japan in December 1981 with Tony Levin on piano. This was simply King Crimson band humor. And strangely enough, two and a half years later, March 1984, we were in another Japanese hotel, I believe in Osaka, and Bill Bruford was on piano: “Bill, E flat, please!” On that second occasion of performing this, Air Supply were in the lounge when I was singing. I have always loved the song from seeing Nat King Cole perform it in the Errol Flynn film Istanbul. Nat King Cole — stunning musicianship. I seek to emulate that.

Toyah, what are your challenges while singing these type of songs?
Willcox: As a singer, I have to think about the amount I’m going to do in 90 seconds. Firstly, that I present myself as a singer, and secondly, that I hold this culture of 90-second viewing because the attention span is apparently now about five seconds. So I’ve got to grasp people within that time. Very, very rarely do I think I can’t hold the attention. “Everlong” was an example because it’s an expression in the guitar, not in the voice. So at that point we had the opportunity of bringing in a live snake, which I used to hold the attention of the viewer. I felt as a vocalist on that particular song and the style it’s sung, I wouldn’t be able to hold the attention.

Fripp: The snake belongs to my wife’s guitar teacher and my guitar student.

How much effort did it take to talk Robert into having fake tattoos stuck on his face for “Paranoid” while he was in some sort of vault in your house?
Willcox: He was so, so up for that! The guitar tutor I use, who is also Robert’s pupil, is head to toe in tattoos. So I said to Robert, “We are going to cover you in tattoos.” I got them online; they’re transfers. I knew I wanted a crown on his forehead.

Fripp: I was actually in the vault with my wife outside, and that terrified me.

Willcox: Why?

Fripp: Essentially I sit on the side of the stage, preferably in the dark, and I play. And there I was in full view in camera, in the [former bank] vault, with the vault door closed. I had terrible claustrophobia. That was a heavy one.

Willcox: I do have to position Robert in a way where he doesn’t feel the oppression of the camera on him. It’s just something about Robert. So we just move him slightly back. I’ll never be able to have him there in front of the camera. He just doesn’t like it.

Robert, what kind of feedback have you gotten from King Crimson fans at the sight of you dancing or covering songs by Alice Cooper and Joan Jett?
Fripp: In one word, surprise. One of my personal interests in this is to give a hefty kicking to received opinion. In terms of the received opinion of Fripp, it’s: “We know he’s in terrible man, he hates his friends, he’s nasty to people, he’s heartless, raging and venal,” and all the rest of this nonsense. In terms of actually engaging with this, I don’t think it’s possible. But in terms of the Sunday Lunches, there is an entirely different aspect of me that my wife has actually been keen to present for a very long time, the side of Robert that really no one gets to see. I probably would not have done it without the lockdown either.

“One of my personal interests in this is to give a hefty kicking to received opinion.” —Robert Fripp

How has the making of the videos changed during the course of the year?
Willcox: We decide on the Friday what is going to be the song for the Sunday 10 days later. We start rehearsing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We do a test run Wednesday evening. What I don’t tell Robert is sometimes I run the camera without him knowing because that very first run-through usually is the sweet spot.

“Poison,” we actually did 20 takes. And we did that because it was technically a great song, but technically a lot going on onscreen and we wanted to get it right. We realized that our audience was growing and growing and growing. So since then we do a lot more prep. A lot of the earlier ones were only ever one or two takes without rehearsal.

Fripp: Often filmed on the morning they went up.

Willcox: Yeah, we can’t do that anymore.

How long do you see yourselves doing these?
Willcox: What we might do is move to once a month or once a fortnight. We’re in discussions with our media team about the most effective way we can keep impact, and what we all need to remember is that the virus isn’t going to go away until we eradicate it completely. So there’s still going to be people locked in. And we very much started this to say to people who were locked in that we’re with you here. You’re not alone. We’re point of contact. So we will never stop completely.

You two have been married since 1986. What’s something new you each learned about the other while making these videos in lockdown?
Willcox: With King Crimson, Robert has written music that has to be held within an invisible boundary to stop the train coming off the tracks. Robert has written music by which he has learned to be the rivet pin that must never be fractured. I’ve now seen that Robert has put himself in a position musically where he can’t quite go up on the stage, stand up, and have fun just doing a rip-roaring solo, because everything is on that line.

And I love that Robert has compromised that to take part in these videos and to understand [that] if something is slightly off the rail, that has broken every rule Robert has set for himself in his career. What has been remarkable about these films is Robert has done it full stop. That is quite miraculous. He’s done it with an open heart. He’s learned rock songs. He’s made the commitment.

Fripp: It’s confirmed what I already knew. My wife is a force of nature and my wife leads the way. My wife is a star. One thing has really pissed me off increasingly. Currently there is a debate ongoing about women’s role in the world generally, specifically now in the music industry. My wife is a cultural influencer from the late Seventies through the Eighties. And I’ve seen her airbrushed from history in a way which I continue to find incomprehensible. So here we are at home presenting essentially my wife’s visions, here and immediately.

Willcox: I didn’t pay you to say it, either.


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Robert Fripp: How I met Toyah and why I love her

Watching King Crimson founder Robert Fripp play second fiddle to actress/musician Toyah Willcox during their now famous Sunday Lunch performances, you could be forgiven for thinking that the guitarist is a somewhat reluctant participant in the series that's turned the pair into national treasures. And you'd almost certainly be wrong. 

"It’s not a question of what can my wife do for me," Fripp told Classic Rock in 2014, explaining their partnership, "but how can I be what my wife really needs."

"When I'm not with Toyah I'm only half a person," he told ITV the previous year. "When I'm with her I'm a whole person. She makes me completely who I am." 

Go on Robert, tell us more.

Who was your first love and what was your first kiss?

My wife Toyah is my first love, and I kissed her toes.

How did you meet her?

I’d met her at EG Records headquarters in 1985, and I fell in love with her working on a charity album called The Lady Or The Tiger. I said to some friends in New York just after: “I have a funny feeling about this one.” I went back to England and proposed to her within a week. My father also proposed to my mother in a week.

Was that in your subconscious?

No. I was looking out of a window at Fernhill House in Witchampton, the Fripp family village in East Dorset, and I thought: “Yes, this is my wife.”

How did you court Toyah?

We didn’t know each other, because I’d been in New York during Toyah’s very successful early years, so I didn’t know any of her work. And she didn’t know anything about me, except she was a Bowie fan so she knew the couple of albums that I was on. 

In the knowledge that ‘this is my wife’, I had to get to know the person that my wife is. That might sound a little unusual. That’s how it was for me, and how I work anyway. If you see it, something becomes possible and then you move towards it.

Did your work life get in the way of your relationship, or vice versa?

When we married I felt we were side-sewn. So why was I not there? King Crimson was primarily the act of performance. My wife knew this aspect, but on the other hand it was: “Now he’s gone off again.” It was hard. We weren’t together enough.

So on December 4, 2010, on my last performance as a working musician, I came home, and around February 2012 for the first time in my life I was happy [Fripp announced that King Crimson were going on indefinite hiatus 2010, and confirmed his retirement in 2012. A year later, he announced the band's return].

You’d not been happy for all that time?

My aim in life was not to have a happy life. My aim was to receive a broadly based liberal education. There I am as a young man studying economics at Bournemouth College, thinking: “Am I going to change the world doing this?” Rather than go on to university, with digs already booked in Acton, I became a professional player.

And playing music didn’t make you happy?

My musical and professional life has been characterised by dispute. It was wretched. There were high spots, certainly, but a long way from happiness.

King Crimson do have a few love songs.

Yes. There are quite a few male Crimson characters who loathe them. I remember correspondence from a fan in 1981 – “Why Matte Kudasai?” There’s been a recent one too, bleating on about other Crimson love songs.

You could record King Crimson: The Love Album.

I’ve considered that in the past. But with iTunes you could build that playlist. Would Moonchild be the first? Cadence And Cascade, that is a winner. Matte Kudasai remains a stunner for me. And The Power To Believe, by Adrian Belew – ‘She gave me back the power to believe’ – is wonderful, wonderful.

You famously appeared on TV on All Star Mr & Mrs. How did that come about?

This came from Toyah’s camp. My basic view is that I’m very happy to bear witness to my marriage. That was my motive, but also to have fun doing it. It was stunningly well-presented. We were given a very good dressing room. My wife said to me if I were on my own they wouldn’t give me a dressing room as good as this.

It was quite a surprise to see you on something like that.

You haven’t yet seen Through The Keyhole with Keith Lemon.

You’re not on that too, are you?

Oh yes. They visited the house. The town stopped, there was a crowd of two hundred outside the front door, and the local paper, the Bredonborough Weekly Inquisitor, had Keith Lemon on the front page. I don’t make a personal appearance, but Toyah went in to film her segment. She had fun with it, I believe.

What’s the secret of a happy marriage?

If it’s a secret, I can’t tell you.

Okay, what would you say is the essence of a happy marriage?

Commitment to that person. It’s not a question of what can my wife do for me, but how can I be what my wife really needs?

This interview originally appeared in Classic Rock 200.

Embracing weird, wild and wonderful sounds, Prog's new editor Jo's also a Classic Rock columnist, an avid tea-drinker and cupcake fancier.


King Crimson founder Robert Fripp and his singer-actress wife, Toyah Willcox, got a little wet and wild on Sunday (May 16) with a video cover of Steppenwolf's '60s countercultural rock hit "Born to Be Wild."

Shared as part of the pair's Toyah and Robert's Sunday Lunch series that currently jumpstarts each week, the latest cover song from the couple and their masked accompanist, Sidney Jake, continues a recurring theme. That is, each video seems to underscore the physicality of Willcox, the singer-actress who performs under the mononym Toyah, in a variety of revealing ways. For the "Born to Be Wild" vid, that means a rendition that finds an exercise bike-pedaling Toyah in a shirt that gets progressively wetter while pasties cover her nipples.

Well, really, her whole body gets wet. Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.

"The Kitchen trio are back and so is the exercise bike — AND a surprise at the end!!" the performers say in the video's description. The mysterious Jake performs "Born to Be Wild" while wearing a Lamb of God T-shirt, perhaps a nod to the Lamb of God tee Fripp donned in last week's "Firestarter" cover — the one that saw Toyah wearing body paint beneath a sheer top.

At this point, Toyah and Robert's Sunday Lunch songs have covered multiple corners of rock's rich milieu. The project first caught many listeners' attention when the musical husband and wife went viral with their take on Metallica's classic "Enter Sandman" earlier this year.

Since they started the series, the team have also covered and "Satisfaction" (The Rolling Stones), "Barracuda" (Heart) and "Silver Machine" (Hawkwind). They've further tackled "Everlong" (Foo Fighters), "Breaking the Law" (Judas Priest) and many more rock (and a few non-rock) songs.

And what better way to start one's week than with a single-contestant wet T-shirt contest in the kitchen?

Toyah + Robert Fripp, "Born to Be Wild" (Steppenwolf Cover) - May 16, 2021

The 40 Best Cover Songs of 2020


Fripp wife robert

That she experienced that summer day. My mistresses did not give the sensations that I received then. Blue eyes full of tears and resentment, turned my soul over, forcing my heart to beat faster. How could I have thought that this.

Toyah \u0026 Robert's - Sunday Lockdown Lunch - Enter The Sandman

Gorgeous. This is bad. this is wrong. - I realized what we had done with him, and burst into tears.

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I woke up under the covers, he was lying side by side, completely naked, with a red penis, between my legs, when I pulled off the. Blanket, I I saw a huge phalos in my ass, and a note on the bed: Don't relax, I have your phone, money is in the hallway. I took out the phalos, a terrible pain and everything is on fire.

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