IDOL FIST-PUMPS HIS WAY INTO LAS VEGAS
WITH A ‘REBEL YELL,’ BILLY IDOL FIST-PUMPS HIS WAY INTO LAS VEGAS
By Matt Kelemen, Las Vegas Magazine, March 11, 2016:
The Billy Idol: Forever series of shows at Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues isn’t just the latest rock star residency in Vegas. It’s also the final chapter of Billy Idol’s most ambitious tour since his ’80s heyday, with guitarist Steve Stevens on board playing Sundance Kid to his Butch Cassidy. The prince of ’80s post-punk has been on the road since the October 2014 release of King & Queens of the Underground, his audio companion to autobiography Dancing with Myself, and judging from a high-profile appearance in February’s iHeart80s Party in the Forum in L.A., the adulation received on tour is only making him stronger.
The fact that Idol soldiers on at all—let alone while sporting a six-pack that enables him to perform shirtless at age 60—testifies to his status as a true rock ’n’ roll survivor. Idol was part of the original pack of Sex Pistols followers and one of many fans that started a band. Generation X outlived the initial blast of British punk, with spiky-haired Idol going against the grain by demonstrating reverence rather than contempt for ’60s rock and ’70s glam. His punk Elvis image earned the ire of Johnny Rotten while garnering the respect of Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, but although the band worked hard it couldn’t survive personnel changes. Idol headed to L.A. and his destiny.
A career-impacting trifecta made Idol a star: Manager Bill Aucoin was at the height of his influence after steering KISS through the ’70s, Stevens was a Michelangelo of the guitar whose sonic palette was a sophisticated complement to Idol’s raw vocals and lyrics, and MTV was ripe for a striking figure from the U.K. who could fit in heavy rotation. Idol was prepared for the harmonic convergence, having evolved his music since before Generation X dissolved. “You put the influences of dub reggae in with the speed of The Ramones with the technology of Donna Summer with the weirdness of Kraftwerk,” he told LA Weekly in a February 2015 feature. “What about if you put all of those musics together? And that’s what I really did.”