Pilates and Herbal Teas do an Aging Rocker’s Body Good

20 Sep

Recent Picture of Billy IdolI have to admit when my friend and I recently attended a Billy Idol concert at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula, I was expecting an emaciated Keith Richards type in dated leather pants.  I was expecting the same spiky peroxided hair, having no longer any need to dye it now that he was old enough for it to naturally grow in white.  I was also expecting to be cursed out good.

In high school, still too young enough to drive, my same friend and I attended one of Billy Idol’s concerts in the open amphitheater in Irvine, CA.  Back then, just before he came on stage, a gigantic mechanical fist lowered down from the rafters and promptly flipped all of us off in the sell-out crowd.  This was near Halloween, shortly after he recovered from a near fatal motorcycle accident.  We all screamed as he came limping out with a silver-tipped cane, shirtless in leather pants, a heavy leather trench coat.  “Trick or Treat, Motherf***ers,” he sneered loudly as he shed his coat and chucked his cane, launching into one of his most popular hits Rebel Yell.   My big Greek father, who heard it all waiting by his diesel Mercedes in the parking lot, must’ve been beside himself with concern.  What had he willingly driven his daughter to?

But this night is different.  We’re decades older now, both my friend and I are teachers – I’m a college professor, my friend teaches kindergarten.  We think ahead and instead of driving to the concert and leaving late at night, we book a room at the hotel.  There’s no need for either one of us to have to lose any sleep.  The casino’s concert hall is clean and modern with controlled air.  There are mixed drinks served at the bar yet nobody actually appears to be drunk.  My friend and I with our bright green Midori Sours are escorted to our seats by a man in a suit with a light stick.

Instead of a mechanical fist, the lights simply dim, then flash indicating Billy Idol and his bandmates are about to come out on stage.  I am shocked by what I see – a rocker who looks twenty years younger than his fifty something years.  We are five rows from the stage so I have an accurate view.  The leather pants are gone.  In their place are tight black jeans, a dark t-shirt with thermal sleeves.  He’s even added a tinge of color to his hair.  He looks like he should be playing a gig in a local pub back in his Generation X days.

Later I’ll read an interview online on why Billy Idol looks so healthy.  He’s stopped using speed and instead requests herbal teas and water backstage.  He’s also taken up pilates.  My tough husband laughs when I tell him this.  As a former addict of practically every illegal substance, he oddly doesn’t believe another user who’s lived such a hard life could change.  But then I tell him, oh yeah, how would he know when he wasn’t there to witness Billy Idol “Scream, all night, all night long….”


Leave a Reply


  1. Entertainment Fan

    September 29, 2010 at 11:50 am

    This story about Billy reminds me of when I went to see Debbie Reynolds with my mom. Obviously her audiance was a group from the older generation who remember her as “Tammy” and “Molly Brown.” She ran up on a huge screen videos and pictures from her movies while she sang her familiar songs and talked about Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor who she co-stared with in “Singin’ in the Rain.” At one point, during one of her old stories, probably about Eddie and Liz, she stopped and asked who in the audiance was under 40. A few of us raised our hands. And she looked out at us and said in a shocked and horrified tone, “Who brought you!” The crowed loved it. Really my point here is that it does not matter how old you are or how old the performer is. We love them and they love to please us with their talent. They may no longer give the audiance “the bird” and sneer four letter words; but now go for softer lights and comfortable theaters to please their fans, while they remember the past with us. Great entertainment is great entertainment! And btw, Debbie looked terrific. I wonder if she is doing the teas along with Billy!

  2. amazon

    October 7, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Your website is certainly full of remarkable information and facts and also is actually extremely enjoyable to read through.Properly carried out:)

    • Paula

      October 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks, spam. It’s my new hobby.

  3. Steve Stevens #1 Fan

    October 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hey what about the real sound behind Billy’s music!! How come Stevie always gets forgotten about?

    • Paula

      October 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

      I stuck around during his loud and impressive solo during Blue Highway instead of going to get another drink. On stage he really is BI’s talented, darker half.

  4. Fiona

    October 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I did enjoy reading your article about Billy Idol (and your husband’s comments). I’ve often wondered about him and the likes of Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), whether they really did take all those drugs and how can they possibly still be touring if they did (you have to be in great shape, physically to tour). I know Billy has an autobiography coming out next year.
    On a more poignant note, I’ve always been a fan of the late rocker Phil Lynott and his mother’s memoir about his drug-taking is very emotional to read – “My Boy” by Philomena Lynott.

    • Paula

      October 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      Your post just encouraged me to look up Phil Lynott. That’s very sad he died of an overdose at 36. I’m sure he had a lot more music in him.

      As for my husband’s comments about Billy getting off the speed, I don’t think he’s willing to equate someone strung out living off the streets with a high paid performer living through the same thing on the road. Both addicts are trapped in their own ways by their worlds.

      It was good to hear Billy is going to write his own raw memoir without any help besides his editor. I hate it when celebrity memoirs sound too polished, too publisher friendly. I’ve never been a fan of the Rolling Stones but Keith Richards’ memoir does look kind of interesting.
      I think there was input by a contributing writer, though.

  5. Kim G.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Perfect blog! Billy Idol is hotter than ever.

  6. Mary Alice

    November 10, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Thanks for making me laugh at the end of long and stressful day.

  7. Shaun P.

    November 13, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Excellent reading. Thanks, I absolutely enjoy reading your posts.

  8. J. Cameron

    November 15, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Billy Idol is one of the last great rockers. Thanks for capturing what he’s like on stage then and now.

  9. E.

    November 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I really enjoyed the blog post about Billy Idol. It is always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

  10. Bart

    December 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Cool post! I don’t know why Google doesn’t make it easier to find this kind of stuff…. Keep it coming though!

  11. Red Rocker

    December 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I saw Billy Idol years ago when he played in San Diego. He rocked the house! Great review of him. Felt like I was there too!

  12. Kenny

    December 31, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    This article on one of the greatest rockers of all time is entertaining as hell!

  13. Colton Haynes

    February 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I found this blog entry on Billy Idol on another site and had to come check out your other writing. His music will last because it isn’t loaded down with the trends. It’s just pure f&*king rock.

  14. Tiffanie

    April 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I read somewhere Billy Idol is writing his own life story – about time!!!