Billy Idol fans may have been disappointed to learn the punk rocker is bowing out of his upcoming tour with Journey to get sinus surgery, but there’s a consolation: The snarling singer has new music in the pipeline.
Idol released The Roadside EP last September, marking his first new music since 2014’s Kings & Queens of the Underground. The Butch Walker-produced EP showcased Idol’s vulnerable side, with the yearning “Bitter Taste” centering on his near-fatal 1990 motorcycle accident.
Now, longtime Idol guitarist Steve Stevens says the duo has already completed a follow-up EP to The Roadside — and he promises it’s going to be much heavier than its predecessor.
“We have more new recordings we finished, and we’re gonna have another EP come out and this is gonna be kind of the flip side of [The Roadside],” Stevens tells UCR. “It’s heavy. You know, we wanted it to be personal and intimate on the first go-round, but this one is big and heavy and the other side of the coin.”
Watch Billy Idol’s ‘Bitter Taste’ Music Video
Stevens says he, Idol and Walker essentially formed a three-man songwriting team while making The Roadside, and they would “get a song a day done.” He also praises the producer — who has worked with the likes of Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy in recent years — for his blend of modern production techniques and old-school songwriting sensibilities.
“Butch was a Billy Idol fan, grew up listening to that stuff, but obviously he’s a current producer and he’s a great songwriter, great musician,” the guitarist enthuses. “And he was, I think, successful at taking the essence of what Billy Idol music is about and making it modern and blowing the sounds up to be larger than life. It’s a really good-sounding record, and it was painless.”
Stevens says he also enjoys the ability to write, record and release small batches of songs with quick turnaround time, rather than laboring over a full-length album for a year or more. “What I loved about the idea of doing the EP was, you know, previously you’d work on a whole album of 11 or 12 songs, and by the time that record would get released, some of these songs were a year old,” he explains. “But with this, the record came out within two or three months of us completing it, and we love that immediacy.”
The guitarist predicts Idol will release his next EP this summer, which is shaping up to be a busy season for the duo, as they’ve also got a U.K. tour with the Go-Go’s scheduled for June. “It’s all recorded and mixed, it’s ready to go — which is, for us, wow!” he jokes. “We’re used to scrambling: ‘What, we’ve got a deadline? Oh, no!'”
As for his and Idol’s recent burst of productivity and newfound promptness, Stevens observes: “It helps not having a hangover.”
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A stage name like Billy Idol isn’t chosen just because it sounds cool.