King Crimson founder Robert Fripp and his singer wife Toyah Willcox have been entertaining music fans with a series of eccentric quarantine performances, including a bizarrely fascinating rendition of the Black Sabbath classic “Paranoid”. One of the many people who’ve seen the “Paranoid” cover is legendary Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, who told us that the rock couple has “gone mad.”
Fripp and Toyah’s “Sunday Lunch” performance series has really taken off over the past month, beginning with a cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” that saw Toyah riding an exercise bike while singing the iconic metal tune. That video has racked up more than 4.5 million views, thanks in no small part to Toyah’s revealing choice of attire. Equally fun renditions of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”, Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle”, and the Joan Jett hit “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” have followed, averaging roughly 1 million views each.
Prior to their current run of viral videos, Fripp and Toyah’s “Sunday Lunch” first made headlines on Halloween weekend with their wild version of “Paranoid”, which saw Fripp playing guitar while Toyah sang and danced behind bars, either in an abandoned prison cell or an old bank vault. At one point, Toyah even climbed onto the bars as she sang the second verse.
Heavy Consequence just had the pleasure of speaking with Iommi about Black Sabbath’s upcoming reissues of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules (full interview coming soon), and we had to ask the metal master what he thought of Fripp and Toyah’s version of “Paranoid”, as well as their “Sunday Lunch” series of YouTube videos.
“I think they’ve gone mad, actually,” Iommi remarked. “I think this lockdown has drove them mental. Oh dear, yeah — somebody had told me about it; in fact, somebody sent it to me, and I had a look at it. They do a thing now regularly, those two, they do a thing online, where they’re acting up.”
Iommi and Fripp are both innovators in the rock world, following similar career timelines. Iommi is widely regarded as the godfather of heavy metal, having released Sabbath’s self-titled debut LP in 1970, while Fripp is a progenitor of prog-rock, with King Crimson’s first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, arriving in 1969.
The Black Sabbath guitarist’s comments about Fripp and Toyah come with an air of lightheartedness, as he and the King Crimson guitarist appear to have a friendly relationship. A photo posted on an Iommi fan page (see below) shows the two UK music icons hanging out together backstage.
Stay tuned for our full interview with Tony Iommi about the reissues of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules (available for pre-order here and here), the 50th anniversary of Master of Reality, and more. In the meantime, enjoy Robert Fripp and Toyah’s wildly entertaining rendition of “Paranoid” below, followed by that aforementioned photo of Iommi and Fripp from a few years ago.