The vocalist is transparent about those challenges on the album and the written page, and both individuals battled with substance abuse in the 1980s — Idol still confronts his personal demons. “Bitter Taste,” featured on his most recent extended play, The Roadside, contemplates the experience of surviving the unfortunate incident. Idol’s memoir from 2014, Dancing With Myself, chronicles a motorcycle collision in 1990 that nearly resulted in the loss of a leg, and explores how becoming a parent guided him towards rejecting illicit substances.
Their union remains one of the strongest collaborations in rock ‘n roll history. The duo reunited in 2001 for an episode of VH1’s “Storytellers” after being apart for two decades. The undeniable bond they shared and their common musical history has been evident. In the late ’80s, guitarist Steve Stevens, who fronted the skilled Atomic Playboys and collaborated with Harold Faltermeyer, Neil Vince, Rick Ocasek, and Michael Jackson, split from Idol.
Idol explores his musical odyssey, his longing for perpetual progress, and the profound bond he shares with Stevens. Although there are familiar band members and a distinctive sound present in much of his repertoire, Billy Idol has consistently challenged himself to experiment with various artistic endeavors.
Steve said that if you really listen to “White Wedding” by Billy Idol and “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol, you’ll assume that everyone likes a mix of a variety of styles, even though their catalogs are vastly different.
Yeah, that’s right. We always mixed things up. [Laughs]. Actually, we did a seven-minute song. We didn’t just stay inside the two-minute punk rock music of the Ramones. Before producing for Keith Forsey and Steve Stevens, we actually moved around like someone from the X Generation.
From a musical perspective, the entire world was at my disposal. We had the ability to accomplish anything we set out to do, I could envision it clearly. I understood Steve’s capabilities and the exciting possibilities that came with collaborating with him. That’s what made my solo career so enjoyable and fulfilling.
“Miss Nobody” is the flavor of R&B pop that is inspired by the album “Playground Devil’s” from the mid-2000s. It has a sound similar to metal, just like “Running From The Ghost”, and “Cage” by Billy Idol has a classic rock vibe.
In the early days, when Billy Idol performed “Hot In The City” and “Mony Mony,” there was a hint of an R&B vibe in songs like “Flesh For Fantasy,” which was a departure from our usual style.
It’s really fun trying to see and figure out these things, if you can stick with them. That’s the fun of music. We knew we could go into the world of R&B with a great producer and songwriter like him. One of the reasons we wanted to work with someone like Sam Hollander for the song “Rita Hayworth” on the Roadside was because we hadn’t really done anything like that for a long time. It was actually so fun to revisit it, we had always had a bit of R&B in us.
I want to challenge people to find new songs that will reach them. There are some people who will embrace newer stuff and those fans who want nostalgia, make sure you have that. I debate with some people and listen to new music by veteran artists.
We are obviously looking for how we can somehow have one foot in the past and one foot in the future because Billy Idol has the best modus operandi of all possible worlds.
In a sense, I believe we are successfully accomplishing both objectives. I believe we are attaining this through tracks such as “Running From The Ghost” and “Cage” on our latest EP. It’s not just about attempting to replicate what is popular on the charts today; it’s about staying authentic to ourselves.
Obviously, “Ghost From The Running” is all about addiction, and you’re talking about freeing yourself from a lot of personal shackles. I thought it was really thought-provoking that you went through all that stuff and realized that there wasn’t any moment in your life where you let yourself weigh down anymore.
I didn’t want to be reckless and throw it away. I didn’t want to ruin it, really. It gradually made me think about what I was doing with my life. But things were different back then, like 32 years ago. It was a wake-up call, like the motorcycle accident I had.
Regarding lyrics and such, we’re in the identical situation, which has been wonderful because we’re truly on a parallel journey. And I believe Steve has done the identical thing. Substances and all, I managed to regain control over myself to some degree [with] a little time, but then progressively. I was on the verge of accomplishing that and you didn’t want to recklessly waste your life. You couldn’t reach a higher state. There’s no purpose in continuing to engage in it, that I’ve experienced it firsthand, about the substances and such, I had to remind myself.
Enthusiastic and pursuing what brings us joy, without any doubt. We have discovered a path to find peace amidst our inner struggles. We have found a way to coexist with them, even though we have lived with these demons for a long time. It’s important to show a positive attitude and express how truly positive you feel about where you are going and the positive emotions you experience. It brings joy to witness everything, including the growth of my daughter’s family and the happiness of having grandchildren. There are many things that remind me of the past and wake me up, but they resemble things that were like calls in the morning.