So, of course I have a Billy Idol story!
A few years ago, Kevin and I were on our way to the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) Convention in Las Vegas. We always had to get connecting flights and tried to pick airports where snow wouldn’t be involved. That year we chose to connect through Phoenix, and a number of strange things happened…
First our connecting flight was delayed, which meant we were wandering aimlessly, around the terminal, trying not to get annoyed at the airlines.
Next thing that happened was we had passed by this severely obese man on our way through the terminal. As we headed back to our gate, we saw flashing lights and the paramedics. Turns out that the obese guy had just dropped dead, in the middle of the terminal. That was incredibly shocking to see and incredibly sad for his family members.
When we got back to our gate, all the seats in the waiting area were taken by other passengers. Kevin and I leaned up against the wall and prepared to endure the long wait to board.
Since I am a very restless person, and I can’t sit still, nor can I keep my mind still, for even two minutes, I was looking around at the passengers when I noticed this short guy, also leaning against the wall, about 30 feet away from me. He stood out because he was dressed all in black and had longish spiky, messed up hair and wore silver chains and he was carrying this Silver case that looked like something a makeup artist would carry. I kept looking at him, because visually, he was the most interesting person around. I figured he was a “creative” since he was dressed all in black! I assumed he was either a hair stylist or a makeup artist with a very defined style.
I turned to Kevin and said: “Look at that guy over there who looks like Steve Stevens.”
I must point out that I had no idea why I said that, because I didn’t think I knew who Steve Stevens was, but his name just popped into my head, out of the blue.
Kevin said: “That’s not Steve Stevens.”
I said: “Probably not, but he looks like a rocker or a hair stylist or something.”
Kevin quickly lost interest, so I was left to stare and ruminate about this guy on my own.
About 10 minutes went by and then a golf cart pulls up to our gate. I remember thinking to myself: “Why is there a golf cart driving around in here? Did someone else die?”
This tall, lanky guy gets out of the golf cart, on the passenger side, and as he stands up I notice that he has spiky Blonde hair. I watched him for a moment and then it dawned on me…
I said to Kevin: “Oh My God! That’s Billy Idol!”
Kevin said: “That’s not Billy Idol. What would Billy Idol be doing here in Phoenix?”
I agreed with him because I had always assumed that Billy Idol was really short (because most rock stars are) and I could tell that this guy was at least six feet tall.
I stood there watching them unload bags, and gather up his belongings, when all of a sudden I noticed the Steve Stevens looking guy, walk over to the golf cart.
I said: “OH MY GOD! That is Billy Idol and Steve Stevens!” Then it finally occured to me that Steve Stevens had been Billy Idol’s guitarist, back in the 80’s, but he had left to pursue other music gigs. Somewhere in my subconscious, my brain must have recognized him from all those Billy Idol videos I had watched!
Then I started watching with interest…the rest of the band assembled and it looked like they were all taking our flight to Las Vegas.
I remember that Kevin and I were standing right by the door, where you board the plane, and the ticket agent turned and said to me: “Are you ready to board?” I thought it strange that she was asking us, without an announcement first coming over the intercom. I marveled at our good luck, and said: “Sure!” as we handed over our tickets for her to scan. We were already in the jetway when we heard behind us: “Hey – They’re not part of our band.”
Apparently the flight attendant had thought/assumed that we were also part of Billy Idol’s entourage so she let us board first. She couldn’t very well call us back, so she let us board and then the band boarded behind us!
I figured that the band would have traveled in First Class, but nothing was further from the truth. The band members and manager and crew were scattered throughout the plane, not even sitting anywhere near each other. Billy Idol wasn’t even in First Class. I thought of how strange it would be, to get to your seat on the airplane, and find out that you’re sitting next to Billy Idol! If it had been me, I probably would have driven him crazy with all my questions.
I spent the rest of the flight marveling over the fact that I had subconsciously recognized Steve Stevens and that Billy Idol turned out to be much taller than I expected him to be.
Turns out Billy Idol and band mates played the Hard Rock Hotel that Saturday night and I’m sad to say, we never made it to the show.