STEVE Strange should be a national treasure. One of the great music industry icons, the flamboyant pioneer of the Eighties New Romantic scene - dubbed the Peacock Prince - rose to fame running the legendary Blitz club, in London, and fronting his own band Visage.

Strange returns to another of his old Eighties haunts, the Pink Toothbrush, on Sunday, May 25, to help the nightclub celebrate its former guise as Crocs - 25 years after it changed its name.

This special one-off reunion aims to reunite the weird and the wonderful painted faces from the era, complete with the extravagant hairdos and outrageous clothes, at a time when the likes of Culture Club, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and, of course, Visage, were making their names at the club.

Let's also not forget the two live crocodiles which were kept in a glass tank in the foyer. Freaky times indeed!

And who better to entertain the crowd than the master of makeup himself, Strange, who will perform his big Visage hit, Fade to Grey - a title which perfectly captures the extrovert's fall from grace, when he was riddled by drug addiction, shoplifted a Teletubbie toy and had a nervous breakdown.

"I had a lot of problems with heroin addiction and cocaine, but I'm clean now," said Strange, 48. "I've been off it all completely for ten-years - I don't touch anything anymore. I hardly even drink as it makes me feel like crap.

"But I did go through it with a lot of drugs. It was hard to escape and there's so much of it going on. I'm glad to be out of it now.

"I went to a Depeche Mode concert a few years ago and the singer Dave Gahan didn't come to the after show party. He'd gone through rehab himself and couldn't afford to be tempted by what might have been going on. I can sympathise with that completely."

The inspiration to get off the gear was born out of the shock death of his close friend Michael Hutchence, the INXS frontman, who hanged himself in an Australian hotel room in 1997.

"The whole thing was terrible," added the Welshman, who started out in the music industry designing artwork for Sex Pistols manager Malcolm MacClaren.

"We had just won a case against a national newspaper, who had claimed I was a drug dealer for celebrities.

"I rang Michael to tell him and he was so happy. I flew out to Los Angeles to be with his partner, TV presenter, Paula Yates and then a couple of days later he was dead.

"It was such a shock. I just couldn't believe it. It got worse when Paula tried to kill herself not long after. And when she did die three years later from an overdose it was hard to take. These were people I loved.

"If was a silver lining in the clouds, then it was the fact it inspired me to sort myself out. I decided to write my biography, Blitzed!, which should have been called, Totally F**king Blitzed!.

"I locked myself away from the outside world, away from the lifestyle, away from all distractions. It was a serene life.

"It was a very therapeutic exercise and helped get me off the drugs. It brought back so many memories, some sad enough to bring tears to my eyes and others hysterical.

"The book was a bestseller and I gradually started going out again, meeting the old faces from the time and realising there were still huge chunks missing out of the book. I might have to write a second one."

Blitzed! sparked a revival for Visage, something Strange had previously been reluctant to get involved with. "I'd never been interested before," said the veteran of hundreds of show biz parties, spanning four decades.

"But I started getting a lot of positive feedback from the book. People on the internet saying it had helped them stop taking drugs and asking me to play again. So I changed my mind. How could I not get back out there for these people. I'm definitely a survivor."

Visage Mark II - which includes stunning French singer Sandrine, who will also be at the Brush - have been playing in Europe and Strange has just returned home from three shows in Paris, Lyon and Cannes, where Fade to Grey was christened Song of the Century by the French.

"It was an amazing honour," added Strange. "And the weirdest thing was just how young the audiences were. They are not all people from the Eighties.

"That is where I get my buzz from these days. Performing music to the younger generation. I've also been DJing a lot recently and did a stint at the Brits Awards and Peaches Geldof's 19th birthday party. I love doing this and watching the energy of the people dancing. I get off on my own vibe now.

"When I was in France, I had a couple of vodkas with the people who gave me the award. I didn't want to be rude. Then I went to my hotel room.

"There was a right noisy racket going on downstairs, so I went down in my robe to complain. It ended up it was the rest of my band so there wasn't a lot I could do. Things have definitely changed."

Through the haze of times forgotten, bi-sexual Strange can just about peer through the smog to see Crocs in its heyday. "I can just about remember going there," he laughed.

"It would be a like a big school trip. We would jump on buses from Maida Vale and go to Rayleigh. At the end of the night we would do a head count and make sure everyone was on board. If they weren't there after ten minutes of hanging on we would leave them behind.

"They were always messy nights, as I wouldn't remember the journey home, just someone prodding me back in London to say I was outside my house.

"It was exciting times at Crocs. We were pushing Depeche Mode, who were local boys from Basildon, and there was Boy George and people like that. It was a place which embraced the era we were going through.

"The Eighties was an all consuming time. I remember someone telling me we were part of a cafe society, which I thought was somewhere you went for a nice cup of coffee.

"But it was a big compliment. This wasn't just about music or fashion. It inspired the interior of houses, artists and photographers. It just took over."

Strange recently appeared in BBC time travelling cop drama Ashes to Ashes and has been a style guru and model for the likes of top fashion designer John Paul Gaultier.

He also has a local friend in Leigh hairdresser Lee Stafford, who he starred alongside in TV programme Celebrity Scissor Hands.

"I enjoyed working with Lee - he really was a great guy with some exciting hair ideas," said Strange. "I will have to let him know I am coming down to Rayleigh. He can come and give me some support this time."

Crocs/Pink Toothbrush Reunion 1980-1985 Steve Strange Pink Toothbrush, High Street, Rayleigh Sunday, May 25 Tickets: £10. 9pm 01268 770003