Billy Idol On Punk Music Giving Him The Freedom To Take Risks

The music industry has such a wild and schematic organization that resisting it or staying out of it often meant directly getting eliminated. But at certain moments, various movements opened up free spaces, and one of those movements was punk music. Billy Idol emphasized these liberating aspects of punk in his last talk with Variety.

“Punk allowed us to level the playing field, to lower the bar, so that we could play music, too,” Idol explained, sharing how punk contributed and partly liberated the dynamics within music industry. “We were encouraged to break the rules. There was a sort of brash energy to it.”

He continued, “And then MTV helped us, too. It enabled me to live out my dream; to make music, enjoy it and continue to evolve creatively. We just wanted to be in the moment. That’s one thing about punk. It enables you to take risks because it’s a risk in itself. You had to find a way to carry on from that. You had to make moves and believe in yourself.”

Punk initially emerged as a counterculture, a place of resistance and rebellion with values at odds with the mainstream. Therefore, it was entirely against the industry that marketed the music of that society, that is, all of the schematic and pop sounds, and was supporting alternative tunes that remained outside the box.

Fueled by freedom of expression in the mid-1970s, punk opened up space for many bands in that period. Billy Idol is also a rocker of that fertile era. Punk had a publicly articulated identity in those days, which was easily identifiable through its visual style and iconic figures. Therefore, punk back then was more about attitude than the kind of music. Billy Idol definitely had that attitude. As for sound, there are many genres that Idol is listed under, punk rock being one of them.