This post is revised from an earlier entry.
DANCING WITH MYSELF
SIMON AND SCHUSTER
When Billy Idol toured America earlier this year, I was finally compelled to read his autobiography Dancing with Myself, which came out last fall.
Divided into 43 brisk chapters and three parts (London, New York City, Los Angeles), the compelling 314-page book is a must read - especially for music fans like myself who revel in everything about old school punk and new wave music. With a reputation like Idol's, you'd expect to discover some details about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll and some is present here, but it's not lurid or the bulk of his life story.
Idol writes about the constant psychological pull between good and evil that he's faced over the years. Although I interviewed the singer a decade ago for the Devil's Playground CD and reviewed him live many times, there were still many details that I didn't know: he lived in the U.S. from ages 2-6 before returning to England; the real lowdown on teenage punk tastemakers The Bromley Contingent (along with Susan Dallion, soon to lead Siouxsie and the Banshees); all the machinations of his nascent punk band Generation X (best known for the single “Ready Steady Go,” though it wasn't a huge U.K. hit).
I enjoyed finding out when Idol's fascination with motorcycles began and his long driving trips around the canyons while living in LA. Also the behind the scenes info on such iconic early MTV music video staples as “Dancing With Myself," 'Rebel Yell" and "Eyes Without a Face," not to mention Idol's infamous half naked Rolling Stone magazine cover shoot while clad in leather.
Writing with unflinching honesty about other trials and tribulations, Idol's Dancing With Myself is definitely recommended.