Concert Reports


Billy Idol

10/21/2011, Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez

Rock stars come and go, but Idol is forever… BILLY IDOL remains crucial to rock ‘n’ roll. His style, charm, charisma and bravado transcend trends and time. Where would rock music be without him? Would it look the same? Would it sound the same? Who hasn’t chanted along to “Rebel Yell,” “Mony Mony” or “White Wedding”? Idol and his band proved once again at the Chumash Casino that great Rock n Roll songs and a supercharged live show are always a crowd pleaser. Make that a Sell-Out crowd, as fans from all over California welcomed the band which includes Idol’s long time guitarist Steve Stevens who showcased his phenomenal skills in one of the more memorable guitar solos of late, blending Spanish Flamenco Guitar styling fluidly with heavy rock riffs. Rhythm Guitarist Billy Morrison is a charismatic addition to Idol’s live band, which also includes Stephen McGrath on Bass, Derek Shirinian on Keyboards and Drummer Jeremy Colson.

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All Photos: Ray Soto/Central Coast Rocks & Gary Lambert/

Very Special Thanks: Hildy Medina

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The shows on the groups “Rocktober” tour have been a huge success and the band has been introducing new material to the set list for this set of gigs. The two new tracks that were played live this month are ‘Postcards From The Past’ and ‘Too Far To Fall.’ The October 2011 set also included the Generation X track, ‘Love Like Fire’, the Billy Idol album track ‘Do Not Stand In The Shadows’ and the new track that was first performed last year, ‘Kings And Queens Of The Underground’.


Like only a few personalities before him, IDOL’s influence is inescapable and still inspiring to this day. Part of the infamous Bromley Contingent and a fan of the Sex Pistols, BILLY IDOL was inspired to front the popular British punk band Generation X from 1976 until the band’s break-up in 1981. From there, he decided to try his luck in America. “I definitely took punk with me wherever I’ve gone,” IDOL says. “That was the whole idea really. I wanted to transform my music, but I didn’t want to ever lose sight of that punk rock attitude. Whether we turned to hard rock or disco or whatever the hell else we did over the years, that helped give the music a spirit it would not have had if I hadn’t come out of the punk movement.”  

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At this point, IDOL hooked up with guitar genius Steve Stevens and a crucial musical partnership was forged. Idol’s first solo album was released by Chrysalis in 1982, but it didn’t hit its chart peak in the UK until 1985 when the self-titled album’s “White Wedding” was a major club hit and hit No.6 in the UK, fueled by heavy video play on MTV. “White Wedding” also crossed over to the Top 5 of the Mainstream US Rock chart, while “Hot In the City” made the Top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100, and Billy Idol was certified gold with U.S. sales totaling more than 500,000 units.  


Previously however, Idol really smashed through with singles from his follow-up 1984 double platinum album, Rebel Yell, which included the exhilarating rock title track “Rebel Yell’,” the gorgeous lushly-produced ballad “Eyes Without a Face” and the pulsing slow sleaze-rock of “Flesh For Fantasy.”  

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1987’s platinum-selling Vital Idol collection presented his hits in brilliantly executed expanded remixes and was the UK’s highest charting album at No. 7, staying in the charts for 34 weeks and including the Top 10 cover version “Mony, Mony.” That following year, Idol released a new album, the platinum Top 10 Whiplash Smile, with its standout singles “To Be A Lover” and “Don’t Need A Gun.” The platinum-certified Charmed Life album followed in 1990 with “Cradle Of Love” and “L.A. Woman.” 1993’s Cyberpunk proved that BILLY’s fans were still going strong in the UK, hitting No. 20. A platinum-selling Greatest Hits collection, released in 2000, re-charged IDOL’s catalog, and 12 years after his last new album release, he returned with Devil’s Playground in 2005 (Sanctuary). The album’s “World Comin’ Down” was included in the new collection’s tracks. 2008’s career-spanning collection The Very Best Of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself followed. When asked about the title, IDOL says with a laugh, “But everyone should idolize themselves, shouldn’t they?”  


SuperOverdrive.jpgThe niche that BILLY IDOL has created over these past few decades is impressive. IDOL is respected as the original punk rocker who long ago found a way to take that sneering punk attitude into the pop and rock mainstream, carving out songs that have lasted a lifetime. His immortal “Rebel Yell” was also featured on 2008’s Guitar Hero® World Tour game. In 2009, Eagle Rock Entertainment released IDOL’s first in-concert DVD “In Super Overdrive Live” (filmed at the Congress Theatre in Chicago).  


Billy Idol has signed a contract for his memoir, to be titled Dancing With Myself. The ‘80s rock icon has signed a deal with Touchstone, a subsidiary of publishing house Simon & Schuster.The memoir, named after the iconic first single from his first punk band Generation X and rereleased as a solo track, is due out in late 2011 or 2012.  


Instead of using a ghost-writer, Idol will write the book himself, a press release describing him as “a natural-born storyteller”.  


Idol said in the press release:  

“Life gave me a golden key when I fell in love with rock n roll music. It was the key to the answer of how to live and achieve your dreams. This world opened up to me with all the good opportunities but also every temptation - the drugs, the booze, the women, the 24-hour around-the-clock excess. And yet you have to write good songs to survive. Life had to be lived to do all that! Now I’m putting it all down in book form - from the heart. I’m going out on a limb here, so watch my back.”  


Very Special Thanks: Hildy Medina

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