Billy Idol says he was already more or less isolating with his band when the pandemic shutdowns were enacted in 2020. In those early days of fear and uncertainly, Billy wanted to channel his feelings into something timely.
He tells Q104.3 New York's Jim Kerr that his thoughts went to another time he was in danger, anxious about his future and afraid he'd made a life-threatening mistake: his 1990 motorcycle accident that nearly cost him his leg.
"It was something I was trying to forget about, really. ...I thought, 'What could I write about maybe that was something in my life that I was overcoming something, something that was maybe life-changing or changed me in the future or changed my whole life?'" Billy explained. "And I thought about the motorcycle accident, which was a bit of a watershed moment where I did sort of re-evaluate and pull back from the edge so to speak, in terms of substances and stuff like that."
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Billy was riding his Harley one morning when he ran a stop sign at an intersection and collided with a car. He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent seven hours of surgery to repair a fractured forearm and his shattered right leg, which was broken badly between his knee and ankle.
Billy knew how lucky he was to get out of the hospital with both of his legs in tact, noting that had the accident occurred just a few years earlier, doctors would have had no other option but to amputate.
"It was a horrible time and an uncertain time, plagued by doubts ... you're trying to get ready for something and then the world's upside-down," he said. "I just thought maybe people would hear the song and without directly being about the pandemic, they'd get a lot from it."
Watch the official music video for "Bitter Taste" at the top of this page.