Born William Albert Michael Broad, the world will forever know him by his stage name, Billy Idol. From his punk rock roots to his timeless gritty-pop classics, Billy Idol defined the merger of punk and mainstream music. While living on the edge and on top of the charts in the 1980s, the 1990s brought him to some devastating lows that almost ended his career — and his life. Now, a rehabilitated Idol presses on with a rebirth of energy, a younger band, some new songs and two decades of hits that will never go out of style.
You look amazingly young, despite your sordid past. What is your fitness regimen?
In recent years it’s been Contrology and Pilates. I’m always looking at how can I energize my voice and energize myself to keep doing the music that I love … anything to help you keep from dying on stage — although dying on stage wouldn’t be the end of the world. I did a lot of drinking and drugs, but I’ve put all of that on the back burner.
What did you do in your downtime when you touring?
I went on a lot of motorcycle rides. I rode across America on my motorcycle, and I think it’s the closest thing to being a cowboy nowadays. So that’s one of the things I did that helped me get around being a drug addict in the ’80s.
I heard rumors that you were asked to replace Steven Tyler in Aerosmith. Is that true?
I did get a phone call from Joe Perry. I know those guys. They are my brothers. And there’s one thing you don’t do, and that’s get in between brothers. I just thought, ‘They’ll get back together.’ ... It’s just as well I didn’t get in between them because they’re playing again. I was flattered, but Steven Tyler is the only guy who can be Steven Tyler. I’m much better being Billy Idol.