WITH his peroxide spiky hair, snarling lip and trademark sneer, Billy Idol was the face of the underground in the 1980s, Rebel Yell, White Wedding and Eyes Without A Face straddling good old-fashioned guitar rock and the punk variety.
It’s hard to believe that idol, real name William Broad, is now approaching 60 - he’s 59 next month. And it seems he could well be reflecting on his past as he approaches that milestone - his autobiography, Dancing With Myself, has just been published and his first album in eight years, Kings And Queens of the Underground is out later this month.
Itself a musical reflection of his life, the release contains 11 tracks with titles such as Bitter Pill, Nothing To Fear and Whiskey And Pills offering a candid insight into the highs and lows of a rock star.
It captures Idol’s pain, regret, hope, and sense of surprise at finding himself still here in his sixth decade.
“I overdosed loads of times. But when you’re a junkie even that doesn’t scare you off it,” he said recently.
That blunt truthfulness comes through his lyrics. The track Postcards From The Past classic Idol in lyrics, riff and structure, championing 80s power rock, complete with key change.
The title track, a raw, emotional look at his rise and fall is delivered with a brutal honesty, yet the suspicion remains his tongue is firmly in cheek at points.
How else do you get away with singing: “1984 and Rebel Yell had the floor, all we said was more, more, more.”
Released on 21 October, Kings And Queens of the Underground delivers more than you might expect proving Idol has lost none of his edge.
As he sings, “If you hear my voice and dig these rebel sounds, we are still kings and queens of the underground,” it’s clear, if Billy Idol is one thing, he’s a survivor.