When: 9 p.m. July 1
Where: House of Blues San Diego, 1055
Fifth Ave., San Diego
Info: (619) 299-2583
Billy Idol is back
for more, more, more
Few musicians can boast the level of success
that Billy Idol attained in the '80s and early
'90s. Unfortunately, the "live hard and die
young" punk rock ethos doesn't come with a
middle-age survival guide.
"When you're young you never think you'll
be a 50-year-old rocking out with the young
bands," Idol told The Associated Press.
That's exactly what Idol, 49, hopes to be
doing next year.
The punk patriarch has just released
"Devil's Playground," his first
full-length album since 1993's unremarkable
"Cyberpunk." With five million-sellers
already under his belt, Idol hopes
"Playground" will return him to the
top of the charts.
While not completely off the radar in the last
decade (appearing in the stage production of
"Quadrophenia" and the film "The
Wedding Singer" in addition to some
soundtrack work), there were many reasons for
his lack of original material in the last
"I had a couple of kids (teenage son Willem
Wolfe and young daughter Bonnie Blue) and laid
back during all the grunge stuff," recalls
Idol, still platinum blond. "I thought,
'God, how can I compete with that?' "
But the Seattle sound wasn't the only force
demolishing rock icons. After a near-fatal
motorcycle accident and a series of overdoses,
it was clear the then-bandless Brit was on his
own path to self-destruction.
After some soul searching and painstaking
psychical rehabilitation, Idol turned to his
bike to regroup: "I started to take my
motorcycle on long rides, and I met my bass
player (Stephen McGrath), and we were going off
and playing at these biker bars and it took me
out of myself."
While Idol was rediscovering his love for the
stage, EMI released his greatest hits to
platinum-plus sales. VH1 soon came knocking with
"Storytellers" and a "Behind the
It wasn't long before Idol remembered his
"I came off the stage and a million girls
with their shirts off were there and I thought,
'We've got to do this seriously. Let's forget
playing the greatest hits, let's start writing
With longtime collaborators Steve Stevens
(guitar) and producer Keith Forsey on board,
Idol incorporated new talent Brian Tichy on
drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards to help
reinvigorate his sound.
The result is a record that aims for the
accessibility of Idol's best-selling
predecessors without losing his fist-pumping
edge. The veteran considers it to be his best
since 1983, with the album's first single
setting the tone.
"'Scream' is 20 years newer than 'Rebel
Yell' and it's storming out of the
speakers," he barks, punctuating his
sentence ---- as he does most ---- with a howl.
As confident as he may be about his music, Idol
has no illusions about his age and how he may
come off to critics.
"They may laugh when they see me," he
humbly admits behind his dark glasses, "you
can't make your face look young again, but you
can work on your body."
And to counteract the decades of hard living and
maintain his eye-catching six-pack, Idol swears
by an unyielding exercise regimen.
"I wanted to re-energize myself and I know
this sounds a bit Roger Daltrey but my body is
my instrument. I mean in the old days I didn't
give a ... but I wanna be really clear-headed
and in the moment now. The real drug is on that
"Don't get me wrong," he quickly adds,
"I still smoke pot, I still drink, I'm just
not overdoing it. It's about pacing myself so
that I can push when I want and pull back when I
Pushing now might not be a bad idea considering
today's '80s rock revival.
"Everybody is trying to come back, I
know," he smirks. "With what's going
on in the world people want a sense of fun
'cause they are concerned and maybe it's not so
bad if I can provide them with that."
Still, despite talks with VH1, the former MTV
heartthrob plans to continue to resist the urge
to be on reality TV to jump-start his career
like other stars of the decadent decade.
"I'm not that desperate," he says.