Classic Rock

Toby Jepson

Music and chat from the singer/songwriter/musician.


Scarboroug­h-born Jepson began his career in the mid-80s as the singer with Little Angels, and then had a spell as a solo artist. After leaving the music business, he returned under his own name in 2001, followed by stints as the frontman with Fastway, Gun and Dio’s Disciples. This month Jepson takes time out of his latest group, Wayward Sons, to undertake an acoustic and spoken-word tour.

These ‘an evening with…’ shows are becoming increasing­ly popular. Did you go to one by another artist and think: “I’d like to do that?” Not really. Before covid I was building a bit of a reputation as an acoustic artist, and I’ve done it on and off ever since I got back in the game. Going out there alone for two hours is among the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a musician, but I love telling stories and answering questions from the audience. For me it’s also quite a nostalgic thing.

You became a star at an early age, had a Number-One album, saw your band break up unexpected­ly, retired from the business to become an actor, returned to music as a solo artist, and now you front Wayward Sons. You must have plenty of war stories.

You wouldn’t believe how many [laughs]. Thirty-five years into my career I feel like a bit of a ‘lifer’. Some of what happened is dark, but there’s also been a massive amount of light.

I’m so grateful that the fans have stuck with me, some since day one. I know that when I go on stage there will be faces I’ve seen since

I was eighteen years old.

What would you like people to take away from the experience?

That’s a really good question. I’d like them to understand what it’s like to be a songwriter. That’s what it was always about for me, not the trappings of being in a band. These songs are a time machine. I hope that people will get a greater understand­ing of what makes me tick.

You must have some great tales about ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke in Fastway?

Yeah. Working with Ed was an extraordin­ary experience. He’s a great example of what this business can do to you – good and bad. He was completely honest with me. I got the sharp edge of his tongue, but there was also so much kindness and gentleness. Ed didn’t suffer fools gladly, and I learned so much from him. Being in Fastway was a baptism by fire.

On their most recent tour, Wayward Sons invited new bands to become support acts. What was the standard of those that replied? It was extremely good. Regrettabl­y, that experience made me realise how much rock music is ‘shuttered off’ into meaningles­s categories. A band called MuddiBrook [from Derby] was our main support. They’ve got two ladies in the line-up. Was it alt.rock, or indie? I don’t know what to call it, only that they were interestin­g and I liked them. There’s lots of talent out there, though the cookie-cutter stuff – copying everybody else – just doesn’t interest me at all.

What does the rest of 2024 hold for you?

I’m making a solo record under the Toby & The Whole Truth banner, with some special guests. I still work in the film industry, and we’ve got a couple of films in developmen­t. I can honestly say that I’ve never been busier.

Toby Jepson’s 18-date tour begins on May 10 and ends on June 25.

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