Generation X – ‘K.M.D. Sweet Revenge’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

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.

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Billy Idol – ‘Vital Idol’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Mid-way through the tour for Whiplash Smile, there was a new head at Chrysalis Records named Mike Bone.  He wanted to immediately make his mark with Billy and suggested putting a compilation together of Remixed songs along with a live version of “Mony Mony”.  Billy was on board and while on tour, they recorded the live version, slapped a bunch of remixes together and bam…you had an album.

All this above was from Billy’s book, ‘Dancing With Myself’, but doesn’t make sense to me.  As the time in the book was around 86/87 and this compilation had already been released in 1985 in the UK.  In September 1987, ‘Vital Idol’ was released in the US.  Plus, my version doesn’t have a “Live” version of “Mony Mony”.  At least it doesn’t sound live.  Not sure Billy’s memory was correct in the order of things as the book doesn’t mention the UK version and the live take of “Mony, Mony” was on the greatest hits collection that came out in 1988 not the 1987 version of Vital Idol.  Sorry, not completely true as a 1988 Japanese version of Vital Idol does have the live version.  Confusing.

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The UK and US version also differed ever so slightly.  The UK version had one less song and the track order was different.  The US version had a remix of a track off Whiplash Smile which the UK version was out before that album was even released so it wouldn’t have it.

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Billy Idol – ‘Billy Idol’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Billy Idol was loving his time in New York and it showed in his writing as the album seemed to be inspired by what he was doing in the city.  After the mild success of his 1981 E.P., Don’t Stop, he and the band went to work on the debut album simply titled ‘Billy Idol’.  It is his album and he is the main focal point so why not call it ‘Billy Idol’.

Released in 1982, Billy was discovering who he was as an artist and what it was like to now be the main focal point.  His meeting of Steve Stevens seemed to be a match made in Heaven…well rock & roll heaven anyway.  Steven even contributed a couple writing credits on this release.  The two together would become one of the great teams in music.  You have McCartney & Lennon, Elton John & Bernie Taupin and now you have Idol & Stevens…okay, that is stretching it too far, but you know what I mean.

When the album was originally released in 1982, the album cover looked like this…

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I don’t have this cover, yet, but I will find it one day and get a hold of it.  I don’t like this one as much as the alternate cover I have.  It is a little too feminine compared to the toughness of the one I have with the black leather jacket (not that there is anything wrong with that).  The new cover fits the attitude and the snarl so much better.

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Billy Idol – ‘Don’t Stop E.P.’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the demise of Generation X and Gen X, Billy would follow Bill Aucoin, his manager and Kiss’ former manager, to New York City to start a solo career.  When Billy signed on with Gen X as their manager, he quickly learned that the star of this band was not the band, but its lead singer, Billy Idol.

When Billy got to New York, he met a lot of interesting people and really loved the club scene…and of course, the drug scene was something he enjoyed as well.  If you read his book, “Dancing With Myself you can find out all about it so I won’t spoil the details here.

Billy was introduced to a guitarists at this time that would become just as big a part of Billy’s solo career as he was.  He met Steve Stevens.  There is no Billy Idol sound without Steve and his guitar playing is what makes Idol’s solo songs that much better.

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With Steve Stevens in tow along with Phil Feit on bass and Gregg Gerson on drums, the band set out to record Billy’s first solo album.  As a teaser and build up to his career, it was decided an E.P. would be put out, I guess to whet everyone’s whistle and draw up buzz on the singer.  ‘Don’t Stop’ was the result.  It was more of a dance album than the former punk sound Billy had and you could see the magic being developed on what would become an amazing run of albums in the 80’s.

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Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After touring the band’s second album, ‘Valley of the Dolls’, the band was in shambles.  During the recording of their third album, Derwood Andrews decided to leave the band.  And shortly thereafter, Billy asked drummer, Mark Laff, to leave…well, he fired him as he didn’t feel his style was appropriate for the new sound.  Generation X was done.  That third album would not be released for another 20 years.

Remaining players, Billy Idol and Tony James, decided to keep going, but now they were called Gen X.  First the band needed a new manager,  Tony found a guy by the name of Bill Aucoin.  If you are a Kiss fan, that name should ring some bells pretty loudly.  The band then got drummer Terry Chimes and they auditioned several guitarists while recording the new album.

The band’s style was no longer punk.  They were going to ride the New Wave sound that was starting to sweep across England.  That sound would be what carried Billy into his solo career.  Speaking of solo career, Bill Aucoin wasn’t overly impressed with Gen X.  His real interest was Billy Idol and what he could with him in America, but that would come just a little later down the line.

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Billy Idol – “Dancing With Myself” – Book Review

I have been a fan of Billy Idol since the day I heard (and saw) “White Wedding” on MTV back in the very early years of the station.  The music and his image with that Elvis curling of his lip had me from day one.  So, when Amazon had the book for the Kindle for $2.99 I had to get it and finally sat down and read it.  The book came out in October 2014 by Simon & Schuster and obviously tells the story of his life.  It is an autobiography which is why I wanted to really read it. It is straight from the man himself not someone taking stories from various sources who might have even been there.

The book covers his life from a child when they moved to the U.S. and then back to the U.K. all the way up to his last album (and my favorite Billy Idol album) released in 2014, ‘Kings & Queens of the Underground’.  I am actually playing it as I am writing and I will do a review of that one someday.  The book covers all the bands, the sex, the drugs, the albums, the sex, the drugs, the ups & downs, the sex, the drugs and so much more.  Did  I mention it covers the sex and the drugs?

He freely talks about his sexual escapades and what rock & roll biography doesn’t which is why that is really the least interesting thing about the book.  The drugs are typical for a rock & roll biography as well, but for this part, it is important in his life story.  It was interesting to hear how messed up he was during the recording of the albums, the tours and his life in general.  At times, his commentary about being high painted this very vivid image and he takes you on this stranger journey momentarily and you realize just how fucked up he really was.  It is amazing he is still alive.

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