The Austin Chronicle

Music Gift Guide: Books

Ol' spike-n-snarl pens an impressive autobiography solo

Reviewed by Tim Stegall, December 5, 2014, Music

Dancing With Myself

by Billy Idol
Touchstone, 336pp., $28

Prior to becoming a New Wave touchstone, Billy Idol was a pioneering UK punk musically and stylistically. A member of the Sex Pistols' elite core audience of suburban post-glam pacesetters, the Bromley Contingent, he then fronted Generation X, a band that literally built the stage at London's ground zero for punk, the Roxy. Before that, he was William Michael Albert Broad, a middle-class Brit beginning life abroad in suburban New York who returned to his homeland a studious hippie rocker. From there, Idol – without the help of a visible co-author – varnishes nothing, chronicling decadence and debauchery predating even Rebel Yell's massive breakthrough in 1983. Yet it's no tawdry Behind the Music-style tell-all: There's much insight into Idol's creative process and the early English punk scene – its characters, evolution, and how he carried those values through his life and career. Dancing With Myself proves there was a lot of integrity and artistry behind the peroxide spikes and sneer.

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