By Liz Tracy
By David Rolland
By Alex Rendon
By Terrence McCoy
By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
In the sultry clip for "Eyes Without a Face," Idol practiced cathartic kung fu moves while being inundated by a smoke machine. He spat out a colorful rap in the middle of a flaming hexagon and pumped his fists against a backdrop of red sparklers as a woman in a black dress writhed sensuously while being sprayed with a garden hose. Idol also rocked out with zombies in the video for "Dancing with Myself."
Unlike other '80s acts that are notable mostly for overplayed singles, Idol and his sidekick, guitarist Steve Stevens, are responsible for a rock masterpiece, 1983's Rebel Yell. This album is a testament to hedonism and machismo, a brash howl from the depths of depravity that would eventually send Idol off the deep end into a heroin and crack binge, which nearly cost him his life.
Flash-forward to 2005: Billy Idol is 50 years old, playing SunFest, and why the fuck should anyone care?
While Duran Duran writes pop songs that senior citizens can do yoga to and Robert Smith balloons into a Macy's Day Parade float, Billy Idol retains his magnificent vocals and Steve Stevens continues to tear shit up on guitar. Idol's latest, Devil's Playground, is no Rebel Yell, but the album, his first in 12 years, contains at least a few songs that hark back to his rip-roaring past. The single "Scream" is a nasty-ass tune in which Idol claims that some honey loves his "demon seed." There's also "Romeo's Waiting," a tribute to men who fall in love with strippers, and "Body Snatcher," a song about cheating death -- dark tunes worthy of Idol's oeuvre. -- Adam Bregman