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Steve Stevens Talks Autobiographical New Billy Idol Album

Steve Stevens and Billy Idol
Mark Davis, Getty Images

Billy Idol and Steve Stevens have worked together for so long that when they entered the studio for Idol’s new album, the upcoming ‘Kings & Queens of the Underground,’ they picked up right where they left off — even though it represents Idol’s first full-length collection of non-holiday new material in nearly a decade.

“It’s pretty similar on many levels,” Stevens said of the recording process for ‘Kings & Queens’ during an interview with Premier Guitar. Noting that digital recording technology makes it easier to shift pieces of a song around, he was quick to assure fans that he hasn’t gotten lazy. “I’m adamant about not taking the same exact riff or part and just pasting it throughout the song for when it’s repeated. A song really needs to travel — even in the smallest details — to tell a story.”

The story, in this case, reflected Idol’s own autobiography, ‘Dancing With Myself,’ which is due on Oct. 7. “The songs had to be pretty much autobiographical,” said Stevens. “The concepts came first — the touchstones in his life that he wanted to elaborate on and set to music. As a writing partner, more than ever, I found myself caring much less about the expression of the guitar than the song.”

And even though ‘Underground’ acts as a sort of companion piece to Idol’s memoirs, that doesn’t mean Stevens held back his own ideas. “‘Ghosts in My Guitar’ is one cut I brought to the record,” he pointed out. “It was interesting to write the lyrics to a Billy Idol song that was essentially biographical. I’ve known Billy Idol for 32 years, so I obviously know the subject matter very well.”

‘Kings & Queens of the Underground’ is scheduled for release on Oct. 21 and available for pre-order now; you can also hear the new song ‘Can’t Break Me Down’ at Idol’s website.

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