Bitter taste. That is what some situations leave behind, even after many years. Not in the mouth but in the soul and sometimes it is necessary to “exorcise them”. There are songs that can be used for that. “Bitter taste” is the new song by Billy Idol and it is not just any song, it is one that talks about the motorcycle accident he suffered more than 30 years ago, in 1990. Yes, three decades have passed and now it is back in song form.
The recent release is the preview of the EP The Roadside, its first release in almost 7 years, which will be available from next September 17. It was created and produced during the pandemic. “I think everyone has been feeling more thoughtful (during the pandemic). So, it seemed quite logical and natural for me to write something about my motorcycle accident, “Idol explains, adding: “Definitely, the accident was catharsis, the moment to wake up. A bit of me stayed on that route, but in the end it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; it was a wake-up call. Perhaps on that road I left behind the irreverent and youthful Billy and opened the door for a more caring father and a more sensitive musician ”.
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“The bitter taste on my tongue. Many holes. The damage done is bittersweet. Black on gold. And talking is cheap. Or so they told me. (…) There is nothing I can do to change it now. But if I get hurt, you can read all my scars”. So say some verses. The song does not tell a story in detail, but perhaps it is the way that Idol found, through loose but connected phrases, to close a chapter of his life that has probably been left ajar.
The video completes the idea you want to represent. Walk along a path, along the double yellow line, then through a pasture. Three minutes later he lies stretched out on the asphalt, with angel wings. And finally smile. At 68, Billy Idol maintains the same look with which he became famous in the eighties, by dint of hits like “Flesh for Fantasy” o “Sweet sixteen”. An “Americanized” English with a look rebel-rock of leather jacket, jeans and boots. The short blonde hair, closer to the evocation of the aesthetics of the James Dean years than to the glamorous long hair eighties. Motorcycle rock slightly crossed by the new wave. But although at first glance nothing has changed, in 1990 there was something that changed his life.
When he already had his song “Bitter taste” in his hands, he made some references to the accident, through a publication about his motorcycle, which is currently on display. “My ‘Boneshaker’ is on display now at @rockhall! It’s the bike I had the biggest accident on in 1990. It was better than me. I have mounted it all over Los Angeles in many shows and photo shoots over the years and in many races, all over the United States. “
In an excerpt from his 2014 autobiography Dancing With Myself, published by Time magazine, Idol says that when the accident happened, he had been living by the slogan: “Live every day as if it were your last.” He had finished recording his album Charmed LifeHe hadn’t slept all night and decided to get some air in his 1984 Harley Davidson Wide Glide. According to a report from the Los Angeles Police Department, at 8:30 a.m. on February 6, 1990, Billy ran a stop sign on a Hollywood street and hit a car. He was not wearing a helmet. He was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where an operation that lasted seven hours was performed. He had a fractured forearm and an attempt was made to save his right leg, broken between the knee and the ankle. Some time later, already recovered, he went to the Arsenio Hall program and spoke about that accident. “Ten years ago my leg would have been amputated, but thank God orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons have developed that magic system ”.
Years later, in an interview with Q magazine, he relived that moment: “It was pretty wild. The leg bone had gone through his pants. and tore the muscle to pieces and there was blood everywhere. I was fainting. I had all that pain. And I walked into the operating table with someone with a pair of scissors going up my shirt, cutting my clothes. “
At that time, Idol was giving for the profile of a character from Terminator 2: Judgment Day by James Cameron, but the evil T-1000 had to run and Billy was a long way from making that possible. The other side of his recovery was the video for his hit “Cradle of Love”, a single from his 1990 album. Charmed Life, in which he leaves aside the typical role of the singer and the band behind to tell a brief story hot, with a girl who makes a suggested striptease behind an American blind. Billy only sings from the pictures on the walls, in a very well done video by David Fincher. “Rock ‘n’ roll is like a pair of dice,” Idol said in that interview with the Q: “I’m not a world expert when it comes to dealing with life. I’m always fucking myself. I’m addicted to rock ‘n’ roll. I want things to move, but the guitar can spin around and hurt you, you know?
Billy Idol’s career had started 13 years ago, in his native England. Born in 1955 as William Michael Albert Broad, he took his first steps in music in the UK with the band Chelsea, in 1976, and between 1977 and 1981 with Generation X, which he founded with Tony James. Although they recorded three albums and achieved some recognition in the English rock scene, in the early eighties Billy settled in New York to try his luck as a soloist. And he was not wrong. His disk Billy Idol, In 1982, he brought the hit that began a truly upward path in his career, “Dancing with Myself.” His image gained space in the brand new MTV video signal and in the following years he placed other hits in the charts.
The discs arrived Rebel Yell (1983), Whiplash Smile (1986), Charmed Life (1990) and Cyberpunk (1993). Since the mid-nineties he had no major novelties in the rafts. Devil’s Playground (2005) and Kings & Queens of the Underground (2014) were some premieres among a majority of reissues and compilations. Idol had no continuity.
He was never totally out of the musical circuit, however, to return to the mainstream He had to contribute record novelties (that’s why the EP he is preparing for September) and another type of exhibition, such as his recent appearance at the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, where he sang with artists from younger generations, such as Miley Cyrus.
The Roadside It will be Idol’s first release on the recently relaunched Dark Horse Records label, initially created in 1974 by the Beatle George Harrison and now in the hands of Dhani Harrison and David Zonshine. This label also has records by Harrison, Joe Strummer and Ravi Shankar in its catalog. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Billy Idol to the Dark Horse Records family. Billy is a legend, and his music couldn’t fit better with Dark Horse’s personality. I have loved his music my whole life, so to be able to give this new music a home on our historic label is a great honor, ”said Dhani Harrison.
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the singer remembers it in his new song