KNOWN FOR HIS SPIKY PLATINUM HAIR, THIS PIONEER OF PUNK POP ROCKS THE COUNT BASIE DURING A NATIONWIDE TOUR
BY JON DOMENICK
Legend has it that William Michael Albert Broad changed his name in 1976 by adopting a variation on a disparaging moniker given to him by a teacher: “Billy Idle.” Forty three years later and still rocking, Billy Idol started his new year by re-teaming with his longtime guitarist and co-writer Steve Stevens on a tour crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada and under the banner, “Turned on, Tuned in, and Unplugged.” In addition to shows at New York’s Town Hall Theater March 27 and 28, the boys will take the stage at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theater at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, April 4. Tickets range from $40 to $109, with a limited number of meet and greet VIP packages available.
A British native who lived in the U.S. as a child and taught himself to play guitar, Idol returned to England for a time, then journeyed to New York. He attained international prominence during the early days of MTV, and is best known for 1980s mega hits “Dancing With Myself,” “White Wedding,” and “Mony Mony.” He has garnered three Grammy nominations, an MTV Video Music Award, and a Brit Award.
Stevens, a noted guitarist and songwriter in his own right, won a Grammy Award for his work on “Top Gun Anthem” (for the 1986 film). He also contributed to soundtracks for Once Upon A Time in Mexico and The Matrix trilogy, and worked with A-listers like Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer, Joni Mitchell, Diana Ross, and Pink. He and Idol have written and played together for some 30 years, melding rock, punk, and dance music into chart toppers like “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without A Face,” and “Flesh for Fantasy.”
In 1990, Idol had a life threatening motorcycle accident, which also cost him a movie role in James Cameron’s Terminator 2. He bounced back to appear in Oliver Stone’s 1991 musical biographic flick, The Doors, then appeared as himself in a celebrated cameo in 1998’s The Wedding Singer, alongside Adam Sandler.
Idol and Stevens, who released new music together on the album Kings and Queens of the Underground in 2014, have a chemistry and energy founded on a mutual love of punk, rockabilly, and dance music all of which will be heard during the tour, which ends in Monterey, California on October 20 after five performances at the Palm Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Joining the band at the Count Basie will be bassist/singer Stephen McGrath, guitarist/vocalist Billy Morrison, keyboardist Paul Trudeau, and drummer Erik Eldenius.