Billy Idol isnít unlike the Incredible Hulk in that he refers to himself in the third person. Of course when youíre a cultural icon you can do that sort of thing. Idol helped millions of girls and boys bridge the gap between pre-puberty and puberty with his sexually charged concerts, music and music videos. Now he hopes to do that with a whole new generation of people with his latest album, Devilís Playground.

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Daniel Robert Epstein: What are you up to today?

Billy Idol: Nothing much, Iím about to smoke a joint before you so rudely interrupted me [laughs].

11:30 am usually the time you spark up?

BI: Yes, usually as soon as I can.

DRE: Iím doing this interview for SuicideGirls and I heard that you sang to some of the girls.

BI: Yeah some of them came to my video. It was magic. I think there was an open call on the internet.

DRE: Is that the kind of girls youíre into?

BI: Not too far off. Is there an LA chapter?

DRE: Yes there is.

BI: Iíd like to go around and meet them.

DRE: So is the world a Devilís Playground to you now?

BI: Kind of, yeah.

DRE: Why did it take so long for you to get a new album out?

BI: It wasnít really out of choice. It was more of the way things happened. So many weird things came about. I refused to work for the conglomerate
America of the 90ís and it took me until 2004 to find an alternative record company. Also I had to wait five years for Capitol to throw me out because I wouldnít do anything.

DRE: What was the problem with Capitol?

BI: They didnít know why they had Billy Idol. They had me but they didnít know what to do with me. Itís really weird because I knew what to do with me but they wouldnít listen. If you donít listen to me then you will never know what to do with Billy Idol, that was the fucking problem they had. I know what to do with Billy Idol and Iíve just done with this Sanctuary Record. I hope I piss off everyone at Sanctuary; one guy is dead of cancer so heís already out of the picture. He was in The Zombies and I always hated that band and I hate them even more now. Fucking Zombies get cancer. Rock and roll reaches into the grave, motherfucker. How many bands are you going to stop now? How many times is he going to stop Billy Idol now? Never again, heís over, done with, finito! Alright thatís that.

DRE: How do you think you fit in now? Are you still a rebel?

BI: Rebel? Well at least Iím fucking trying. Itís pretty rebellious to even try and do rock and roll at this age. I should be a blues artist [laughs]. Itís more like people expect you to give or you donít care anymore but I have a passion for the music and I have a great band Iíve put together. We put out a greatest hits record in 2001 and we really forged a great band in the crucible of the greatest hits gigs. When we did it we could stand right up against bands like Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and The Music. We werenít just a retro band because we were playing a new band. When you can stand right up against these others, that proves you are still a rebel. That was really important because even though people are playing much heavier than they used to, so you have to have more power in your band which my drummer provides. We toured for years with that and we played rocker Billy Idol, punk Billy Idol, Danzig Billy Idol, metal Billy Idol and every style of Billy Idol music there is. That helped everyone really see the range that you could have. Fuck me we could go anywhere!!! You could go from Black Sabbath to Velvet Underground to Iggy Pop to Kraftwerk. It was just narrowing it down to what we wanted to do with the record. I really wanted to make a guitar rock record.

DRE: Youíre turning 50 this year, right?

BI: Yeah but donít tell anyone else. That makes this my 30th year in rock.

DRE: With all the things youíve done in your life, did you think you would make it to 50?

BI: No I didnít, well actually it's not that I didnít know if I would make it to 50, but I didnít know I would still be playing music. I thought I might be alive. When I used to take a taxi home from rehearsals the cab driver would say ďHey man, I used to be in The Marmalade!Ē

DRE: Is it as easy to get as pissed off?

BI: Itís probably easier. There are just as many things now to piss people off as there has ever been. This political situation must be pissing everyone off because we are almost in a worse situation than we were in the Cold War. Itís weird.

DRE: When you tour are you going to have an opening band?

BI: We may have one. Weíre going to be at South by Southwest with The Donnas.

DRE: What do you think of The Donnas?

BI: I think they are really good. They do a really great version of Dancing with Myself which is not an easy song to play. It sounds easy but it isnít.

DRE: A lot of movies recently are playing some of your 80ís hits.

BI: Yeah itís been great.

DRE: Are any new songs going to get into any soundtracks?

BI: Weíve got some other songs which didnít end up on this album they may well use. Obviously people doing films can have this album so they can use it.

DRE: How did you find the guys that make up the band now?

BI: [Drummer] Brian [Tichy] was part of Slashís Snakepit so heís always been part of the hard rock scene. Derek [Sherinian] was in a prog rock group called Dream Theater. Stephen McGrath, the bass player, is a motorcycling friend of mine and he happens to also play the bass. Steve Stevens has been with me for 20 years.

DRE: Are the words 'more mature' the right ones to use when describing Devilís Playground?

BI: I think it does sound more mature. Just the fact that my voice got a bit deeper changes things. Itís the passage of time. Youíre listening the past 12 years when you play the album and the fact that Iíve had a life to live. Thatís a weighty piece of life. Before that all we had tours, chicks and records which isnít bad but life was giving us different emotions.

DRE: How have the girls changed?

BI: I have to admit there is that wider range of ages because with that greatest hits tour we pulled in a whole load of young followers. What Iím looking at isnít much different from what Iíve always looked at. Hey Granny, take your teeth out! YEAH!

by Daniel Robert Epstein