After the release of Generation X’s second album, “Valley of the Dolls”, the band started recording the follow-up release. However, during the recording the band started having some creative issues with each other. The album was demoed, but never finished before the band broke-up. Billy Idol and Tony James decided to continue on and they rebranded themselves as Gen X. They released ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ in 1980 to little or moderate success. So, the 3rd Generation X album never saw the light of day.
Well, it never saw the light of day until 1998 when former Generation X guitarist Derwood Andrews released it due to some contract obligations without the consent of Billy Idol and Tony James. Billy & Tony were able to block the release in the U.S., but not anywhere else. The songs were in demo form and not fully realized tracks.
Now in 2003, Billy finally did release the songs (from a different audio source) on a Generation X Anthology that he did approve. The songs I have that I will discuss are for the Anthology and not the actual Sweet Revenge release as I am still trying to get my hands on it. When I do, I will update the post.
The album name is K.M.D. – Sweet Revenge. I think Derwood was still a little bitter as the K.M.D. is short for Kiss Me Deadly which was the album name Gen X used. The Sweet Revenge was his revenge of actually releasing the album without their consent. So punk!!!
I am going to break-up the album a little differently. First, I will talk about the songs that went on to be completed by Gen X and those that were omitted and didn’t see their release until this album.
The songs that were used by Gen X:
The album kicks off with the classic song “Dancing With MySelf”. This is an early stage demo and is missing a lot of the extra production and punch the final version had. However, it is still fantastic in all its rawness. Billy does a few extra ad libs with lyrics as it seemed he was testing the waters with different things. This was the song that would help make Billy a household name and it was this song that changed the direction of the band to a more dance oriented sound than the punks they were before.
“Stars Look Down” is not the same song. It is a pretty dull version and a surprising choice to take with them. Billy obviously thought he could salvage something for their version and he barely did. His version fine-tuned it a little and gave it something extra it needed that this version is strongly lacking.
The next song is “Triumph”. This version is over 5 minutes which is way longer than the Gen X version which was only 3:25. This version is a little long and drawn out and I can see why the Gen X version was streamlined down to a more manageable timeframe. Now, I also see why the kept this one as the bones are good and they did turn it in to a fantastic track.
The last track Gen X used was called “Revenge”. Here is what I said about it on the original review…It is slow, monotonous, strange, bizarre, insipid and almost unlistenable. Billy drones on and on. Yes, I think it is that bad. It is called “Revenge” and if the intent was to inflict pain on the listener, they succeeded. The song is basically Billy singing with a light guitar sound and a bass riff that is really all you hear. I still feel that way with this version as well.
The Original Songs for Sweet Revenge:
We will start with the song “Modern Boys”. It is fast, it has punk attitude and it is a lot of fun. I like it when Generation X kept the sound that made them who they were. Those were always the best track. Billy didn’t use it probably because they were trying to go in a new direction.
“Girls Girls Girls” is another great track. No, this isn’t the Motley Crue song of the same name, this is their own masterpiece. Another track with a lot of energy yet it is simple, silly and it works (for me at least). It is a demo, but so what, I like it.
The band keep up the frantic pace with “Anna Smiles” and though not one of my favorites, it is still a good song. It is another in the same vein as the prior two, uptempo, some nice drum work and a good energy to it. I like the direction that a lot of this album was going, too bad Billy and Tony didn’t.
“Flash as Hell” is another song full of punk attitude and some laughter from Billy. I think this could have been another great song if developed a little more. At 2:28, it packs a lot in such a small package.
“Psycho Beat” is more of the same with these set of songs. The only problem is “psycho beat” is repeated too many times and the song needs some help flushing out what it wants to be…I guess that is why you do a demo. There is some good guitar and a nice drum beat on it, but not sure that is enough to save it as lyrically it needs help.
The next song, “Cathy Come Home” might be my favorite track of the unreleased songs. It has a nice bass line and has some great pop sensibility. It is pretty finished for a demo in my books and works as is. I am glad this one finally got a release. Better late than never.
The final song is a pure throwaway. It is the instrumental “Dancing With My Wealth” which might be what Derwood thinks Billy is doing (and he probably is). It is just a remix of the original, lyrics are barely audible. You do get some of Billy screaming and few nice touches, but it is not something I will go back to listening to on a regular basis.
- Dancing With Myself – Keeper
- Modern Boys – Keeper
- Stars Look Down – Delete
- Triumph – Keeper
- Girls Girls Girls – Keeper
- Anna Smiles – Keeper
- Flash as Hell – Keeper
- Psycho Beat – Delete
- Cathy Comes Home – Keeper
- Revenge – Delete
- Dancing With My Wealth – Delete
The Track Score for this release is 7 out of 11 or 64% which isn’t too bad for a release of demos and not approved by Billy and Tony. There are some great tracks and some gems that would go on to be very successful songs for Billy Idol. I love the name of the album and the resentment behind this release for Derwood and with some great tunes and as a result I am actually going to score it a 3.0 out 5.0 Stars as I enjoyed this release a lot more than I thought. I hope I get a copy of the original release as it would be great in the collection. It is too bad all these songs didn’t get a chance to be fully flushed out and finished to a releasable album approved by anyone. It could have been fantastic.
If you want to check out the other reviews I have done so far for the Billy Idol Series, click the links below:
- Generation X – ‘Generation X’
- Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
- Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
- Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’
- Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
- Billy Idol – Billy Idol
- Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
- Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
- Billy Idol – Vital Idol
- Billy Idol – Charmed Life
- Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
- Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
- Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
Up next will be Billy Idol’s ‘VH1 Storytellers’.