When asked why he was pursuing such a shift in his musical style by adopting electronic music, Idol responded that he had attempted to incorporate technology in his older work, but found the equipment of the late '70s and early '80s too limiting and gave up. With the computers of the '90s, Idol finally felt that the technology was able to quickly and easily make changes as he saw fit.
Idol came to expound on his belief in their future importance for the music industry, and quoting Gareth Branwyn, referred to the computer as "the new cool tool. However, he rejected the idea of referring to the music as "computerized", on the grounds that nothing was done for the album that couldn't have been done with standard recording equipment, and that the computer had simply sped up and simplified the creative process.
Placing emphasis on the contribution of the performers over the computer tools they used, Idol felt the album achieved a "garage band" spirit, that had captured the " Sturm und Drang " he found in rock and roll , and had simply modified it digitally.
Idol thus felt that the album could be best identified as a rock album, rather than a techno album. Idol was keen to share his ideas regarding the future of Cyberculture and its impact on the music industry, and was noted for his enthusiastic speculation in the future of computers throughout the promotion of the album.
If you want the music backwards, it can be backwards in a snap. This is in a way my sort of answer to grunge. I know there's a way of using this modern technology to bring a lot of rawness back.
This coincided with Idol's decision to change his fashion style to match the cyberpunk aesthetic of the album. Idol changed his hair to dreadlocks , and wore sleek, futuristic clothing by New York fashion designer Stephen Sprouse.
In a photo shoot published in Details July issue, highlighting Billy Idol's new "cyberpunk" aesthetic, Idol modelled in a distressed-velvet jacket and matching trousers designed by Paul Smith. In the background, Idol stood amongst computers and chaotically strewn cables representing his home studio.
Idol wore the same suit during the "Shock to The System" music video and the Billboard Music Award presentation spot. During his initial research into cyberculture, Idol ordered Beyond Cyberpunk! The HyperCard stack, which included collections of essays on cyberpunk culture, inspired Idol to include similar material within the Cyberpunk album as a special edition digipak feature.
While this bid was under consideration by Idol's management company, Idol had purchased a book-on-disk by Jaime Levy at a Los Angeles bookstore. At the time, Levy was the author and publisher of Electronic Hollywood , one of the first magazines produced on floppy disk. Impressed by its contents, Idol set about contacting her for the job of producing the disk. Successfully under-bidding Branwyn,  she was then given the job and a master tape of recorded songs — which were not yet compiled into CD format — for use in sampling.
Levy was given permission to include whatever content she desired. Meeting Idol to find what he was interested in presenting in the disk, his only concern was that the whole cyberpunk genre be represented as much as possible.
Julie Romandetta . The special edition diskette , a Macintosh press kit entitled "Billy Idol's Cyberpunk", was an industry first. After reading the work of Mark Frauenfelder on Boing Boing , Idol hired him to use graphics software in the design of artwork associated with the album. This included its use for the album and singles' cover art, the Billy Idol's Cyberpunk floppy disk, and in the press pack released to the media. Frauenfelder worked with Adobe Photoshop , while Idol was present for the design process to provide suggestions.
The album cover itself was the first image created, following the initial five minutes of editing on Idol's personal computer at the singer's home. Inspired by The Lawnmower Man , Idol conceived of using "Blendo" imagery throughout the promotion of the album. The title of the tour came from a lyric in the album's first track, "Wasteland", which described a man travelling through a dystopia.
In keeping with the album's theme, the performance stages were set to a computerised, high-tech aesthetic. Idol wished to use Blendo imagery on massive television screens behind the stage to rapidly shift in time with the music. Multiple engineers with video equipment would also roam the audience, beaming images of the crowd onto the screen as well, creating an interactive show. It began on 18 August in Berlin , and concluded on 20 September in London. Idol hoped to advance the way stagecraft and lighting were used at rock concerts.
I think you have to start looking to get to the future of what rock-and-roll concerts should be like. We're working; we're pushing the technology to the edge. The fourth single, "Wasteland", did not receive a music video. The first single, "Heroin", was accompanied with the most music videos, with a total of five for several different remixed versions of the cover. Each was a "Blendo" video which rapidly shifted random imagery and colours in time with the music.
Four of the music videos for the song were directed by Brett Leonard, with a fifth being credited to Howard Deutch. Each used stock footage shot by Idol and Leonard, filmed personally and edited on Idol's computer. Idol did so with the intention of sending a "do-it-yourself" message that mocked and rejected the standards of MTV music video creation.
The second single, "Shock to the System", which was inspired by the Los Angeles riots of , received the first music video put into MTV rotation. As Idol explained for MTV News, he had originally created the song with an entirely different set of lyrics, but upon witnessing the riots on television he immediately rewrote and recorded them that day. Idol further felt that the camcorder — as displayed in the witnessing of the Rodney King beating — was a "potent way of conveying ideas" and an important metaphor for technology used in rebellion.
The music video was set in a dystopian future controlled by Cyber-cops referred to as such by director Brett Leonard. His camera is destroyed and the Cyber-cops leave him unconscious on the ground, as they are busy trying to put down a riot elsewhere in the city. Alone, his camera equipment lands on him and is absorbed into his body, causing him to dramatically morph into a cyborg.
The cyborg then joins the riot, leading the rebels to victory. The make-up effects were achieved through stop motion , with Billy Idol moving in slow stages during points of the filming, allowing the make up effects to gradually cover more of his body to create the illusion of metamorphosis. Stan Winston , who had previously worked on the Terminator series and Jurassic Park , supervised and created the special effects for the video.
The final music video, "Adam in Chains", was directed by Julien Temple. It depicted Billy Idol being bound into a chair as he is monitored by scientists. He struggles before being hypnotised, and is then inserted into a virtual reality simulator. There he is treated to an ethereal water fantasy. Idol eventually rejects the fantasy, which is consumed in flames as, in the real world, his body violently convulses.
When originally released this was the first album to feature a floppy disc included as a special bonus. Unfortunately, most of the album is padded with pretentious speeches, sampled dialog, and underdeveloped songs. Especially noteworthy is his techno-dance interpretation of the Velvet Underground's "Heroin" featuring a repeated Patti Smith quote , which is one of the worst covers ever recorded. Billy Idol. His style, charm, charisma and bravado transcend trends and time.
Where would rock music be without him? Would it look the same? Would it sound the same? Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Features Interviews Lists. Streams Videos All Posts. On two albums, that's good news, I guess if the price was right and the seller has a good track record, I'd chance it, just watch out for that funny white residue.
Location: Sydney, Australia. Location: Paris, France. Adam in Chains is astounding. I never came across any LP version of this. Cyberpunk is the fifth studio album by English rock vocalist Billy Idol. A concept album, it was released in by Chrysalis Records.
Inspired by his personal interest in technology and his first attempts to use computers in the creation of his music, Idol based the album on the cyberdelic subculture of the late s and early s. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 12 May Australian Chart Book — illustrated ed. St Ives, N.
Retrieved 13 February Australia's Music Charts — pdf ed. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 9 AprilCyberpunk is the fifth studio album by English rock musician Billy Idol, released on 29 June by Chrysalis Records. A concept album, it was inspired by his personal interest in technology and his first attempts to use computers in the creation of his music. Idol based the album on the cyberdelic subculture of the late s and early s.