Thursday, March 17, 2005

British Import


Idol, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

Billy Idol knew the value of a photo opportunity. On Melrose Avenue, after visiting the ultra cool record shop, Vinyl Fetish, he agreed to pose for this pic under the "$2.00 Haircuts" sign.

I can't tell you how much fun this particular week was. Chrysalis Records had signed London's Generation X and they sent Billy Idol to the USA to do some publicity in conjunction with the release of their second album.

It was no secret that Pleasant had a thing for Billy Idol. Part of it was based on the fact that he'd chosen the name "Idol." And of course, look at him! Eye candy. Then there was my crush on Gen-X's bass player, Tony James, so we were determined to get to know Billy Idol come hell or high water.

Luckily for us, Rodney Bingenheimer, host of Rodney on the ROQ on radio station KROQ, was a big supporter of Pleasant and her Lobotomy fanzine, which was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I suppose I should disclaim at this point and mention that the "Famous Lobotomy Party Apartment" happened to be my apartment at 7231 Frankin Avenue in Hollywood.

Anyway, Rodney arranged a phone interview with Billy Idol, and Pleasant and I were at the station the night it happened. When he wasn't on the air, Pleasant chatted up Billy, where we learned of his US PR tour plans and we secured our roles as his tour guides of Los Angeles. As chance would have it, my friend Brendan Bourke was working at Chrysalis at the time in Marketing (and Michael Goldstone was his assistant at the time. Goldie would become famous 25 years later for signing Pearl Jam to Epic Records... but there's more. Saving it for later.).

The point is, Brendan made sure we got plenty of time with Billy as well, and he took us with him when he took Billy to his PR committments.

Pleasant is just about the best tour guide to LA that anyone could have. We took Billy to Melrose Avenue, took him thrift shopping, took him to all the cool news stands where we bought our British music papers. I think we may have taken him to Oki Dog also. There was a trip to Disneyland, but I can't remember if we took it, or if we convinced Billy it wasn't cool and we did something else instead.

At one point in the trip, Billy told us he was staying at the home of one of Chrysalis's executives. An older British gentleman. Billy preferred to stay with us. He spent a night at the Famous Lobotomy Party Apartment. He did the dishes! He also looked through my record collection and mentioned that he liked Bruce Springsteen. Imagine that! We listened to the Born to Run album.

One night, Pleasant arranged for a party at Joan Jett's apartment on San Vicente. I don't know if anyone remembered what happened at the party, but I snapped a photo that was published around the world. You'll see that soon. Its a photo of Joan and Billy, and I think it illustrates the relationship between LA and the UK in a way that no one ever mentions. People have seemed to refer to LA punk in isolated terms. Punk was happening everywhere and the punks were getting together.

In fact, a post script is that Billy eventually relocated to Los Angeles. Brendan Bourke became his manager at one point, too. Michael Goldstone seems to have eclipsed us all, at least in terms of being financially rewarded for his work in music. He went on to work at MCA - signed Charlie Sexton, The Broken Homes, and others. Then he went to Epic and signed Pearl Jam.

I kinda wanna throw a Punk Class of 77 reunion.... Hollywood Palladium anyone?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Billy Idol is at it again. He looks completely like new - newer than he did in this photo. He's on tour right now. Its the 70s all over again Although I think Billy Idol is cashing in on his 80s stuff White Wedding and all.