FOLLOW US ON:
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Billy Idol and Dr. Timothy Leary jamming in the studio
09.13.2018
08:30 am
Topics:
Tags:


 

“Outlaw Tech. Rebel Science. Information is the ammunition, your mind is the target.”

Cyberpunk entered the world borne on gusts of hype. Billy Idol’s previous three albums and the greatest-hits comp Vital Idol had all been certified platinum, and the term “cyberpunk” was strained by heavy use in 1993, invoked to explain such disparate cultural phenomena as Ministry, Freejack, the Bomb Squad, white-guy dreads and the 14.4K modem. Maybe Mr. “Eyes Without A Face” could square this circle. Who better to explain cyberpunk’s continuity with paleopunk? After all, hadn’t his first band been called “Generation X,” another buzzword of the day? If you’re a record executive, you’re going to let Billy have all the binaural recording equipment, Stan Winston special effects and rails of GHB he wants.

Except for those nine dance versions of the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin,” Idol’s instincts were solid. The CD and its accompanying interactive press kit on 3.5-inch floppy incorporated the talents of some heavy hitters. However, despite the cover art by bOING bOING’s Mark Frauenfelder, the bass playing by Doug Wimbish, the remake of Blue Pearl’s “Mother Dawn,” and the participation and blessing of arch-cyberpunk Timothy Leary, Cyberpunk sank like a Macintosh Performa tossed on a leaky waterbed. (Don’t let anyone tell you it’s Billy Idol’s worst record, though.)

A couple GHB overdoses later, Billy lost the white-guy dreads and returned to his former shtick; a decade passed before he issued a new LP.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
09.13.2018
08:30 am
|
Marc Bolan hanging out with Stan Lee, Siouxsie Sioux, Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, The Damned & more!


Marc Bolan and Siouxsie Sioux.
 
If you don’t already hold the rock-solid opinion (fact?) that Marc Bolan was one of the greatest things ever to happen to music, then hopefully this post will help you see the light of love which was the elfin leader of T. Rex. From a very young age considered himself a “superior being.” A bold statement which would turn out to have a chunk of glittery truth to it as Bolan would be one of the first and most influential innovators of glam rock.

Bolan’s short life was full enduring achievements including his fairy folk duo Tyrannosaurus Rex (with Steve Peregrin Took), and later his electric hit machine T. Rex. He had his own television show, Marc and would collaborate with David Bowie, Ike and Tina Turner and Alice Cooper. In March of 1973, T. Rex’s musical juggernaut “20th Century Boy” became a top ten charting single for the band. A few months later, Bolan sat down with the sixteen-year-old music journalist Cameron Crowe for an interview with CREEM magazine. As a huge fan of Bolan and Crowe (the man wrote Fast Times At Ridgemont High THE END), I was pretty giddy when I came across the entire interview online as it’s a short, entertaining read mostly due to Bolan’s frankness about some of his musical peers. Here’s Marc getting real with a teenage Cameron Crowe in 1973 about his alleged “feud” with Bowie:

“In England, they tried to sell his records by saying in the ads that were “high in the American charts,” when in actuality they were only 144th. Them, media-wise, they created me into something of a monster. They’d put me on the cover of their papers and sell a million more copies than they usually sell; then suddenly, because I wouldn’t talk with them as much as I did when I first started, they’d say I hated David Bowie. Essentially what they tried to do with Bowie was create another Marc Bolan, but the interest with the kids was not there. His concerts have not done well over there. “Starman” only got to about twelve on the charts, which is not good. And the other single didn’t happen at all—“John, I’m Only Dancing”—it was very bad actually.

I’ve known David for about five years, and he’s all right. I’ve played on a lot of his records. I mean, I don’t consider David to be even remotely near big enough to give me any competition. At the time the feud story hit England, my records were number one, and they stayed number one while David’s never came near. I don’t think that David has anywhere near the charisma or balls that I have. Or Alice has. Or Donny Osmond has got. He’s not gonna make it, in any sort of way. The papers try and manufacture a lot of things. They tried to do something with Slade. Slade is just a jive little group who are quite sweet and bang about a lot. They’re very valid for what they do, but I don’t think anyone can seriously compare them to what I do. Whether you think I’m good or bad, I’m still the best-selling poet in England. I don’t think anyone in Slade can write four words. And I don’t mean to be condescending; they’re nice people.”

 

A teenage Cameron Crowe interviewing Marc Bolan for CREEM magazine in 1973.
 
Categorizing an up-and-coming David Bowie as “all right” and comparing him to Donny Osmond is some next level, Alexis Carrington side-eye by Bolan. I’m so glad Cameron Crowe was there to document Marc Bolan confirming he thinks he is better than Bowie—which, as Bolan noted, requires balls. This interview (and others) might make Bolan seem like the kind of acquaintance living only for the opportunity to talk shit about you behind your back the minute you leave, but he was a very popular party guest.

Below you will see photos of Bolan hanging out with Keith Moon, members of the Ramones, a young Billy Idol, one of his personal heroes Stan Lee (Bolan adored Marvel Comics), and The Damned. Bolan toured with The Damned shortly before his death in September of 1977 and the promotional images of Bolan and a 21-year old David Vanian are the punk rock equivalent of awkward family photos.

So, let’s start with those first, shall we?
 

David Vanian of The Damned and Marc Bolan 1977.
 

 

 

Marc Bolan and Robert Plant.
 
More Marc and his heavy frenz after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
08.21.2018
10:40 am
|
Killing Joke, Nick Cave, The Damned & Billy Idol lip-synching for their lives on 80s television


Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke looking a bit confused about how the band ended up on German music television program ‘Musik Convoy.’
 
As a frequent flier on the astral plane that is the Internet I never get tired of flipping through pages upon pages of YouTube in search of footage worthy of sharing with all you Dangerous Minds music fanatics. I cannot lie, I feel like I’ve hit the motherfucking JACKPOT today when it comes to these amazing clips that are also somewhat amusingly strange. And that’s because you are about to see musical gods like Nick Cave, Killing Joke, The Damned and Billy Idol lip-synching for their very lives back in the 80s on the short-lived German music television show Musik Convoy.

Musik Convoy was only on the air for a year but during that time they managed to get quite the cast of characters to “perform” on the show including a 1984 visit by The Cure who performed “Shake Dog Shake” with a beautifully disheveled Robert Smith, his signature red lipstick and hair askew. There are so many strange moments from the collection of videos in this post I just can’t pick a favorite. Like Nick Cave pretending to belt out an emotive version of “In The Ghetto” when you know—and he knows that you know—that he’s totally faking it. Or Billy Idol literally dancing with himself for two-plus minutes while miming “Eyes Without a Face,” or Robert Smith’s distinct indifference with his strange white microphone during another of the Cure’s appearance on the show. And since I’m feeling generous I also threw in twelve-minutes of the Ramones from Musik Convoy performing in front of a mostly solem, confused looking crowd of “fans” and soldiering through four songs: “Howling at the Moon,” Mama’s Boy,” “Wart Hog,” and “Chasing the Night.” I’ve said it before, the 80s were certainly full of fantastically weird times.
 

Nick Cave performing ‘In the Ghetto’ on ‘Musik Convoy,’ 1984.
 
More lip-syncing with the bad boys, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
11.16.2016
09:48 am
|
Branson with myself: Billy Idol announces his (inevitable) Las Vegas residency
11.10.2015
12:16 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
Last we checked in with Billy Idol, almost exactly a year ago, he was declaring punk rock politically irrelevant, after himself having spent the ‘80s transforming it into arena pop for casuals, thus creating a nearly perfect irony loop. Now, he’s embarking on the penultimate stop for an aging, aesthetically irrelevant entertainer before owning an eponymous theater in Branson, MO—a residency gig in a Las Vegas hotel.  Via WTOP:

The punk rocker announced Monday a new Sin City residency with 12 dates in March and May.

It will be at the House of Blues venue inside the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel.

Tickets for the “Billy Idol: Forever” show go on sale this week and start at about $80, plus fees.

This makes Idol the first figure associated with punk to join the rarefied company of Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Liberace, Donnie & Marie, and Elvis by God Presley. We can think of no one more fitting to break that seal. Here he is in headier days, fronting Generation X, on T. Rex singer Marc Bolan’s short-lived ITV series Marc, the run of which was cut short when Bolan died in an auto accident. Had he lived, HIS Vegas show I’d love to have seen.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Billy Idol says punk ‘didn’t make a dent in the political system’
Holiday music from Hell: Billy Idol sings ‘White Christmas’

Posted by Ron Kretsch
|
11.10.2015
12:16 pm
|
This Lynchian take on ‘Eyes Without a Face’ is the soundtrack to your next make-out session
09.09.2015
09:32 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
One of the sad things about discovering new music in the post-Internet age is that, even with trusted recommendations, we often tend to give a new artist ten to twenty seconds to “click” with us before moving along to the next bit of input stimulus. One of the few drawbacks of having instantaneous access to nearly every song on the planet is that we tend to spend relatively less time warming up to the complex or unfamiliar than generations who grew up with an income that may have allowed for one or two new album purchases per week (supplemented with mixtapes made by friends and lovers). Access to less musical input dictated that more time would be spent absorbing a work and giving it multiple plays to sink in, even if it didn’t connect at first.

When Rat Rios’ cover of Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” rolled across my desktop last week, I might not have even given it a play at all. It was just one bit in a constant stream of mostly useless information I’m subjected to on a daily basis. It did, however, come to me from someone with a trusted opinion, and Billy Idol is a guilty pleasure—so, click I did. THANKFULLY.

Perhaps it was the familiarity of the song itself (though Rat Rios’ cover sounds very little like the Billy Idol original). More likely, it was the production and singing style which immediately brought to mind Julee Cruise’s work with David Lynch. Yeah, it was probably that. Anyway, something about this hooked me well past the ten-to-twenty-second window I tend to give an incoming soundfile. I instantly fell in love and have played this song dozens of times in the past week.

I was surprised to find that the track hasn’t racked up many views (355 as of this writing) and Rat Rios’ Facebook page has less than a thousand fans (as of this writing). I’m hoping Dangerous Minds’ readership will love this as much as I do and explore the work of Samantha “Rat” Rios.
 

Rat Rios live. Via Facebook.
 
In a recent interview Rios cites David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti (longtime composer of David Lynch scores) as major influences. It’s fairly obvious when you hear this cut.

It’s rare that I think a remake or cover surpasses a well-loved original, but I’ve got to hand it to Rat Rios. This bedroom dream-pop version of “Eyes Without a Face” surpasses the Billy Idol original in every way.

I recommend committing it to mixtape for your next make-out session.
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel
|
09.09.2015
09:32 am
|
Billy Idol says punk ‘didn’t make a dent in the political system’
11.12.2014
10:31 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
In an interview with The Big Issue, Billy Idol, punk rock’s biggest mainstream apostate, gave some blunt answers to questions about punk’s early days and its impact.

Was punk really the revolution it is supposed to have been or was it a natural evolution of what was going on at the time?
It did come in the form of a revolution but at the same time it was rock ‘n’ roll music forwarding itself into the new age. There was a lot of prog rock in the ’70s, which was cool and everything, but there became a glut and it was very difficult for anything else to break through. There were great guitar pieces but a dearth of songs.

Punk was not just about music though, was it also redefining politics and protest?
Punk rock opened the door to people like me – the marginalised. We got a chance to do something artistic with our lives. Everybody was exploring the artistic side partly because the Pistols said there is no future, there’s no future for you. That was a rallying call. That was the revolution.

The Pistols sang about there being no future, were they proved right?
I think they were to be honest. There was so much unrest. We believed in mixed communities and race mixing, not a country just for the white English. You got your head kicked in for it but that’s England sometimes! In some ways what’s going on now is reminiscent of those times.

So when you became famous and commercially successful, did you feel you had betrayed where you had come from?
Punk had done what it set out to do to a certain extent and it didn’t make a dent in the political system. Margaret Thatcher got in! That was scary. You went, “Fuck all that shouting, nothing happened!” It was demoralising. I didn’t see it as betraying anything at all. I saw it as moving on as an artist. I don’t think I did anything except follow my heart and that’s what punk was all about.

In his dismissal of punk’s political impact and his handwaving of sellout accusations, you kind of have to allow that the man has a point. Never mind what you think of his music, Thatcher DID get in. Thousands of “I Hate Reagan” bands made not even a tiny dent in Reagan’s horrifying 1984 landslide victory. And Fugazi, at last count, stopped ZERO wars, though Ian MacKaye’s brave anti t-shirt stance remains proudly unblemished. (No, it doesn’t.) It’s painful to allow this, but as populist music movements go, punk may think it has a lock on righteousness, but hippie was infinitely more effective in the realm of politics. Still, fuck hippies, though, don’t get me wrong…

There’s more to the interview. Not to spoil, but it turns out that “Dancing with Myself” actually was just about dancing. Far less surprisingly, Idol’s recently published memoir shares its title with that song.

Here’s a look at Idol when he sorta mattered some, as singer for Generation X. Marvel at the video editor’s complete disregard for synchronization!
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
|
11.12.2014
10:31 am
|
The question he really seems to want to ask of Billy Idol: ‘Aren’t you just a prat?’
06.22.2013
08:15 pm
Topics:
Tags:

lodiyllibleberlley.jpg
 
It’s more than a little obvious from this 1985 clip from The Old Grey Whistle Test that interviewer Andy Kershaw hasn’t got much time for Billy Idol.

Kershaw refers to the “Sneer of the Year” as “show business” and wonders what the 12-year-old Idol would have thought of his current musical output. At moments Kershaw seems desperate to ask Idol straight up “Aren’t you just a prat?”

Kershaw’s contempt is barely concealed, but Idol takes it all in good grace. I must admit I have always been surprised that the bargain bin star of British punk pock became so successful in the States during the 1980s. It is perhaps a small reflection of what the country was like under Ronald Reagan’s leadership. Or cocaine. (At approx the 7:35 mark Idol talks about how drug dealers named narcotics after him in New York.)
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Andy Kershaw: The Rolling Stone’s Guide to painting & Decorating

H/T Carl Richard Aylott and Francis Wheen

Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
06.22.2013
08:15 pm
|
Siouxsie, Morrissey, John Lydon, Robert Smith and more get superhero makeovers


 
Brazilian designer Butcher Billy re-imagines Siouxsie Sioux, Mark Mothersbaugh, Ian Curtis, John Lydon, Morrissey, Robert Smith and Billy Idol as comic book superheroes. His series is called The Post-Punk / New Wave Super Friends.

Now only if there was a Mark E. Smith one. He’d probably have to be a supervillain, tho…
 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Tara McGinley
|
05.16.2013
11:40 am
|
It’s a nice day for a white wailing: Billy Idol sings a Xmas favorite
12.24.2012
05:34 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
From the Dangerous Minds’ archives:

Doc Marten meets Dean Martin in Billy Idol’s plodding version of ‘White Christmas,” which has all the appeal of a Christmas stocking full of steaming reindeer shit.

The musicians backing him sound like a German wedding band after an afternoon of knocking back steins of hefeweizen at the local beer garden. It don’t mean a thing if ain’t got that swing and these cats couldn’t swing if they were hanging from a lamppost in a hurricane.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
|
12.24.2012
05:34 pm
|
Must see TV: Timothy Leary, Billy Idol, The Ramones and Television

image
 
While no one will mistake this for a historic meeting of the minds, it does have its odd charm. The Marshall McLuhan of punk Billy Idol chats with Timothy Leary about rock n’ roll, cyberspace and computers. “Pretty deep,” Joey Ramone observes while Television (the band) let old skool technologies like drums and guitars do the talking.

ABC In Concert, 1993.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
|
04.18.2012
03:08 pm
|
Straight out of Bromley: Simon Barker’s photographs of Punk in the U.K. 1976-77

image
 
Punk may be long dead, but the interest in its music, ideas and artifacts continues.

Recently over at the Independent, writer Michael Bracewell introduces a selection of photographs by Simon Barker, a former member of the legendary Bromley Contingent, the group of original Punks that included Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Jordan, Bertie “Berlin” Marshall, Tracie O’Keefe, and Billy Idol. Barker was a participant and witness to some of the key events during the 14 months, in 1976 and 1977, when Punk changed everything - as Bracewell explains:

[Barker’s] photographs share with Nan Goldin’s early studies of the New York and Boston sub-cultures of the 1970s, a profound and joyously audacious sense of youth going out on its own into new freedoms and new possibilities.

In this, Barker’s photographs from this period capture a moment when the tipping point between innocence and experience has yet to be reached. The model and sub-cultural celebrity Jordan, for example, is photographed as a self-created work of art – her features resembling a Picasso mask, her clothes more post-war English county librarian. The provocation of her image remains untamed and unassimilated, nearly 40 years later; and within her surrealist pose there is the triumph of art made in the medium of sub-cultural lifestyle.

Barker/Six was a member of the so-called ‘Bromley Contingent’ of very early followers of The Sex Pistols and the retail and fashion work of McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. Other members would include the musicians Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin, and the writer Bertie Marshall, then known as ‘Berlin’ in homage to the perceived glamour and decadence of the Weimar republic. Originating from suburbia, but all determined to leave its security as soon as possible, the Bromley Contingent became the British sub-cultural equivalent, in many ways, of Andy Warhol’s notorious ‘superstars’ – volatile, at times self-destructive or cruelly elitist, but dedicated to a creed of self-reinvention and personal creativity.

It is this creed, as opposed to the swiftly commercialised music of punk, that Barker’s photographs from the period anatomise so well. At once intimate and forensic, austere and camp, documentary and touchingly elegiac, these photographs capture a milieu experiencing a heroic sense of being outsiders – a condition that has always been the privilege of youth, and which has long claimed many victims in its enticing contract with the thrill of taking an oppositional stance.

Read the whole article and see more of Simon’s photographs here.

Simon Barker’s book Punk’s Dead is available here.
 
image
Poly Styrene
 
image
The Banshees: Steven Severin, Kenny Morris and John McKay
 
With thanks to Derek Dunbar
 
More punk memories after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
03.31.2012
11:03 am
|
Holiday music from Hell: Billy Idol sings ‘White Christmas’

image
 
As I put together my annual worst Christmas songs list, I thought I’d give you a preview of things to come.

Doc Marten meets Dean Martin in Billy Idol’s plodding version of ‘White Christmas,” which has all the appeal of a Christmas stocking full of steaming reindeer shit.

The musicians backing him sound like a German wedding band after an afternoon of knocking back steins of hefeweizen at the local beer garden. It don’t mean a thing if ain’t got that swing and these cats couldn’t swing if they were hanging from a lamppost in a hurricane.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
|
12.18.2011
08:59 pm
|
Goofy, young Trent Reznor playing a Billy Idol song in an early 80s ‘New Wave’ cover band
08.09.2011
12:17 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Who’s this fresh-faced New Waver with the asymmetric poodle hairdo? (Hint: It’s not one of the Thompson Twins).

Nope, it’s future Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor back in the early 1980s playing and singing a cover of Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” with his Cleveland, OH band-mates in “The Urge.”

Both astonishing and completely ridiculous.
 

 
More baby-faced New Waver Trent Reznor after the jump!

Thank you kindly Michael Backes!

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
08.09.2011
12:17 am
|
‘Rebel Mother Down’: Danzig vs. Billy Idol vs. Rihanna
07.07.2011
04:07 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
My comrades at Dangerous Minds will probably have a shit fit at my posting another mashup, but this one was too damn cool to pass up. And I like anything that involves epic emoter, the queen of mean, Glenn Danzig.

DJ Schmolli mixes Rihanna with Danzig and Billy Idol for the “ultimate evil summer hit.”

I think it’s hilarious. Mucho macho meets a sweet reggaefied rhythm track and suddenly the boys don’t look so tough.

“Mother,” “Man Down,” “Rebel Yell.”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
|
07.07.2011
04:07 pm
|