Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Calling’ (Live Bootleg) – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

As I mentioned in the post last week on the Billy Idol bootleg “Rebel Waltz”, A few weeks back, Lunchbox records posted on Facebook that they got in a bunch of bootlegs from Duran Duran and Billy Idol.  I will be honest, I don’t care about the Duran Duran bootlegs, but the Billy Idol peaked my interest.  It was around 6:30pm on a Saturday night and I mentioned to my kids we should go to Lunchbox, but we didn’t go.  We did go the next day on Sunday.  We left a little after 12pm and arrived just before 1pm and they were closed (Duh Duh Duh – dramatic music insert).

We forgot to check if they would be open and with the virus going around, I wasn’t sure now if they would open at all.  Lo and behold, they were going to open and that was going to be at 1pm which was in a couple minutes.  We were the first ones in and those Billy Idol bootlegs were still there.  Apparently, there are not of ton of crazies out there buying Billy Idol bootlegs…Who knew!!!

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Unlike the last bootleg, this one was a little more advanced in its packaging.  This time we actually get a picture on the album jacket on both the front and the back as opposed to a print out on a sheet of paper stuffed inside.  I couldn’t find much information on the show as to which show it was at the Roxy in L.A.  I know based on the track list it was in 1982 after the release of his self-titled debut album.  There were 3 shows in L.A. at the Roxy.  The first two were in August on the 11th and the 12th.  The next was on November 13th.  I couldn’t find a setlist at all so now way to match.  But I am guessing one of these shows for sure. Continue reading “Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Calling’ (Live Bootleg) – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”

Generation X – ‘Generation X’ Deluxe Edition – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

There is nothing like waiting over 40 years to release a deluxe edition of your debut album.  That is exactly what is happened with Generation X whose 1978 self-titled debut album finally received a deluxe edition in 2019.  And was it worth the wait?  That is what we are here to discover.

For those that don’t know and haven’t read the entire Billy Idol series.  Generation X is Billy’s band prior to him going solo in the 80’s.  The band wasn’t just Billy’s, but it also included Tony James, Bob “Derwood” Andrews and Mark Laff.  Generation X was a punk band out of the UK that tended to lean a little towards the Pop/Punk side of things rather than full on punk and they caught a lot of slack for that.  But who cares as here we are 40+ years later celebrating this release.

The Deluxe Edition is a 3 LP set consisting of a remaster of the debut album, an LP of Non-Album singles and B-Sides and a third LP of outtakes and remixes.  The reason to buy if for the 2 extra LPs…at least it was for me as I already had the original LP on vinyl.

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Generation X:

The first LP is a remastered version of the debut album.  The sound is sensational, crips and clear.  However, I prefer the original in all it’s former glory as that was the way it was intended to be heard.  I won’t go through a song-by-song breakdown as I have already done that before on the very first post of the Billy Idol Series.  You can read that here – Generation X – ‘Generation X’.

What you get for the set is a complete replica of that original disk…

And then a nice update on the inner sleeve and LP itself.  It is all very nice quality and high-end material. Very sturdy…

A-Sides and B-Sides:

The second LP is the cool one for me.  This has the a couple of Non-Album singles and all the B-Sides from the album.  I believe you could have gotten all these singles before (or most of them anyway), but I didn’t have them on vinyl so it was a no-brainer for me.  Since I actually have the U.S. version of the debut, I already had a few of these songs, but not all.

“Your Generation” was available on the U.S. version of the debut, but not the UK.  It was released prior to an album and I think displayed fully what the band was about.  It was uptempo, full of wild abandonment, aggression and a total blast.  Their punk roots were on full display and it summed them up nicely.

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The B-Side of the song was “Day by Day” which is on the album.  The album version was a little repetitive at times for me, but still packed full of attitude.  The one thing going for this song is Derwood’s guitar work which seems to be something I focus on more and more with this band.  A bright star that never fully shined.  This mix didn’t leave me feeling like it was too repetitive.  It was a richer and fuller sound.  I really like this version.

“Wild Youth” is another non-album track for the UK release.  It was also released prior to the album. It too made the U.S. version and should have been on both versions as it is awesome.  It is a shining example of punk attitude and youth rising up to be heard.

“Wild Dub” is the B-Side and was also on the U.S. release.  It is a complete remix of “Wild Youth” in the same vein you would get from Billy later with his Vital Idol releases.  It is full on dub and honestly, kind of annoying. I prefer the original song above.

“No No No” is the B-Side to “Ready Steady Go”.  Not on either releases of the album.  Derwood’s guitar riffs kick off the song.  It is 2 minutes full of speed and youth angst.  The cool thing is it ends with a little Elvis shout out and I am sure Billy had the snear going.

Next up is “Trying for Kicks” which was an outtake from 1977.  It actually ended up as a B-Side on the “Friday’s Angel” single from the “Valley of the Dolls’ album. Since I didn’t have this song, this was what I was after.  It is really early Generation X.  For an outtake, it is pretty awesome.  It is in the same vein as all their early stuff so nothing new to add other than it is a great addition to the collection.

The final track on this LP is “This Heat” which is another 1977 outtake and B-Side on “Friday’s Angel”.  A little slower tempo song and Billy sounds so young.  I see why it wasn’t an album track as it does have the same vibe or energy as those other tracks, but still a good song.  A very decent B-Side.

Outtakes and Rough Mixes:

The final LP consists mostly of remixes by both Phil Wainman who produced some songs, but not the album and Alan Winstanley who was the engineer on the album.  I am not a huge fan of remixes especially since most of these don’t stray too far from the originals. You get a some different arrangements, some added bits and difference in song lengths, but overall nothing better than the originals…in my opinion anyway.

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For me, this disk was great for 3 tracks.  The first is “Gimme Some Truth” which was an outtake and released on the U.S. version of the album. A punk cover of the John Lennon song.  It was a strange choice to be the song to kick off that album.  It captures the band’s essence so it works for Generation X.  A good choice of a cover.  They make it their own.

Another song is “Rock on Dub” which is an outtake and not on any album.  It is a rocking song that seems to be unbridled and out of control.  The dub style is obvious as it is in the title.  Another example of a great song, but not quite right for the album.  This is my favorite on this disk as I didn’t have this one either and plus it’s a lot of fun.

The last song on here I wanted was the Single version of “Promises Promises”.  The original is over 5 minutes.  This was streamlined down to 3:42, over 1 1/2 minutes chopped off.  Here’s what I said on the original version…“Promises, Promises” is more of a 70’s glam rock song than punk. At over 5 minutes it is not your typical length.  The song was inspired by Mott the Hoople both musically and lyrically.  I liked Derwood’s guitar work on this one as well.  It is a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.  The album had some really great moments on it and this was one of them.  I still stand by that.  This version just packs all the greatness into a smaller more manageable package.  I like this shorter version a little more.

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Overall, if you don’t have the original album on vinyl, then skip getting that and go after this box set.  It isn’t over-priced and all the little extras will add to the experience.  It captures the essence of the band and you will get a good education in to the roots of Billy Idol.  And that was the joy for me.  Like I said earlier, I could do without the remixes.  If the 2nd LP would have added the 3 songs from the 3rd LP and made the set two disks, I would give it a higher score.  For now, it is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  The original album got a 3.5 score, but having this overall great package, it gets a higher score.

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Now, if you want to check out the full reviews and the entire Billy Idol Series, click on any and all of the links below…

  1. Generation X – ‘Generation X’
  2. Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
  3. Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
  4. Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’
  5. Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
  6. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  8. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  9. Billy Idol – To Be A Lover – Single Review
  10. Billy Idol – Vital Idol
  11. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  12. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  13. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  14. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  15. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  16. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  17. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  18. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  19. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  20. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  21. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  22. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  23. Generation X – Generation X Deluxe Edition
  24. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Billy Idol – “BFI Live” – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

On November 25th, 2016, Black Friday or another Record Store Day, Billy Idol released a special edition 3 LP vinyl Live Album!!  The release were highlights from his 2014-2015 Kings & Queens of the Underground Tour.  I say it is highlights because the songs are from various different shows from around the world and not one full show.  I am sure he went and grabbed the best versions of each song.

The album was limited to only 2000 copies, each hand-numbered and exclusively on vinyl as the only physical release. The album is available digitally as well (which also comes with the Vinyl version.  It is a beautiful set and the sound is amazing.  Here’s the only problem.  I was unable to snag a copy during its initial release.  I am keeping a watchful eye on eBay and Discogs to find a reasonably priced one for sell and then I will grab it.  So, this review is really just a review of the digital release.

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BFI?  What does that stand for?  I think it is Billy “Fucking” Idol.  I also think BFI is the name of his label as well.  Whatever it stands for, BFI Live is fantastic.  The sound quality of each recording is crisp, clear and loud!  Was it cleaned up in the studio…probably, but who cares.  It is still live for the most part and that is all that matters.  It captures the essence fo a Billy performance and that is all you really want anyway.  Okay, I guess it is missing a little of the roughness that happens during live shows so that might be the only negative.

The release has 16 tracks from 10 different cities including Houston, Vienna, Munich, Atlanta and even Council Bluffs (wherever that is).  The setlist is greatest hits set live basically.  It is everything you would want to hear and expect to hear at a Billy show.

He does 3 songs off the latest album and they are “Postcards from the Past”, “Can’t Break Me Down” and “Save Me Now”.  Two of the first three songs are off the new album which is smart as people tend to go to the bathroom or get a beer (or both) when a song comes on they don’t really know.  When the show opens up, the crowd is so energized, that isn’t going to happen.

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It is a high energy show and Billy and Steve Steven show no signs of slowing down.  The songs are kept pretty much to their original format with the exception of a few lyric changes such as “LA Woman” (the Doors cover) being changed to “Portland Woman” and Billy asking “Nashville to Dance” on “Dancing With Myself”.  Billy and the crowd seem to be having a wonderful time.

Steve Stevens sounds really great with his guitar work especially on Flesh for Fantasy and the one song I didn’t know when looking at the track listing. It was “Dementia” which turned out to be a wonderful Steve Stevens guitar solo.  I didn’t know guitar solos actually had names other than “Guitar Solo”. Seriously though, the song is actually off Steve’s solo album “Flamenco a Go-Go” from 2000.  Kinda nice Billy let him highlight one of his own songs.

The songs cover most of Billy’s career with even a song from his Generation X days, “Ready Steady Go” which Billy seems to love to still play and Steve adds a whole new magic to it with his playing.  You also get the story behind the song “Sweet Sixteen” which Billy tells with such enthusiasm.  Before that story, a woman screams “I Love You!!!” and immediately Billy responds back “I Love Me Too!  That makes two of us”…it was a very funny moment I am glad they left in.

And let’s talk about how he ends this album.  The album ends with 3 of his most iconic songs and I could imagine the crowd going nuts and loving everything about it.  He ends with “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding” and “Mony, Mony”…what an amazing way to go out.

All-in-all, this is a hell of a live set and since Billy has only released one other live album (VH1 Storytellers), I will take what I can get.  I loved this set and I am eager to go out and find the physical copy after listening to this.  With 16 songs and 1 hour and 40 minutes of music…it is simply wonderful.  I will give this a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars and only deducting because it is too clean…I mean I don’t think Billy misses too many notes and I don’t think that is possible (I have never seen him live so can’t say for sure).  If you are out and about and come across it (somehow), grab it.  You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to check out the other reviews I have done so far for the Billy Idol Series, click the links below:

  1. Generation X – ‘Generation X’
  2. Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
  3. Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
  4. Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’
  5. Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
  6. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  8. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  9. Billy Idol – Vital Idol
  10. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  11. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  12. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  13. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  14. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  15. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  16. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  17. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  18. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  19. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  20. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  21. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  22. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Up next will be Billy Idol’s ‘Revitalized’.

Billy Idol – ‘VH1 Storytellers’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

For the last half of the 90’s, Billy didn’t release anything.  After the failure of the ‘Cyberpunk’ album (which was awesome) and the issues with the label, Billy sort of vanished from the music scene.  He did have the single for the movie “Speed”, he made a memorable cameo in the movie ‘The Wedding Singer’, but outside of that, there wasn’t much else.

In 2001, that started to change.  VH1 aired a ‘Behind the Music’ on Billy and a greatest hits compilation was released that had a cover of Simple Mind’s song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” which had moderate success.  Heck, the greatest hits album sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. alone.  VH1 also decided to film a VH1 Storytellers with Billy and along for ride was Steve Stevens which was a reunion that was long overdue.

I am not going to critique the VH1 Storytellers show, but the CD that was released.  The CD came out on February 22, 2002 and is only the songs that were played and not any of the stories.  For that, you need the DVD.

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Continue reading “Billy Idol – ‘VH1 Storytellers’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”

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

Welcome to first review in the Billy Idol Series.  I am going to do album reviews for all albums by the 80’s icon, Billy Idol.  We will start with his stint in the band Generation X from 1978 all the way up to his 2018 release ‘Vital Idol: Revitalized’ (assuming that is the latest release by the time I get to it).

I was going to wait until I got the debut album on vinyl to start the series, but I am not the most patient person and since I have the next 7 or so on vinyl already, I will go ahead and start now.  So, without further adieu, here is the first of many reviews…

Generation X

Back in 1976 at the tender age of 21, guitarist William Broad joined the band Chelsea after answering an ad for musicians.  Also answering that add were bass player Tony James and drummer John Towe.  They would join up with singer John O’Hara to form the band.  The band would tour and do mostly covers, but William and Tony became fast friends and felt they could do better so they grabbed John Towe and all left the band.

They would be the founding members of the band that would become known as Generation X.  Now, where did the name come from.  It wasn’t based on the fact that people born in this time were known as Gen Xers.  The name actually came from a book William’s mom was reading called Generation X which was book on popular youth culture from 1965 by British journalists Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett.

This new band needed a guitarists so they hired 17 year old guitarist Bob “Derwood” Andrews from a band called Paradox.  That wasn’t the only change.  They needed a guitarist because William decided to drop the guitar and become the lead singer.

Continue reading “Generation X – ‘Generation X’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”