Why did it take you so long to come back ?
Billy : Creation is one of these things that shouldn’t be done in the rush. During the writing-process, you have to really concentrate, you have to get and stay completely focused on what you are creating. Your reflections and thoughts will gradually come to you. The ideas will come back and forth. You’ll be then eventually able to write them down. It’s a question of perfect timing. It’s not an easy process. As for the book, I had to remember the good as well as the bad parts of my life — such as the motorcycle accident for which I had to endure seven operations. I had to balance the two and it took me few years to achieve what I had in mind.
You’ve lived to the fullest. What kept you alive during these years ?
Billy : What kept me alive is that I had the chance to live my dream. Back then, rock music was still fresh and new. It felt like freedom to be able to be part of it. It felt like riding a motorcycle, it makes you feel free and adventurous. Making rock music was the way to express yourself. It was and still is incredible to get the chance to do it for a living. It’s just amazing to live the dream, to live that life. Whatever happens to me, I’ll always try to get back to rock music. No what matter happens, I’ll always get back to what I love the most, which is creating music — and hopefully good music that people can hold on to, treasure and enjoy for years. That’s what I try to do when I make a record. I know that I don’t make a lot of music, I don’t make millions of albums over and over, so I so hope that something will last with the few I make.
Do you plan to release a DVD anytime soon ?
Billy : I guess, it’s too soon to tell. I really don’t know yet what’s coming up next. We just enjoy being back on the road again at the moment. Being here, in France, is just fantastic. Personally, I don’t think we’ve played enough here… I love the French people. I first came in France at the very beautiful area of Aix-en-Provence when I was 9 years old. I have only great memories of France and the French. I feel a real connexion and I wish to play more shows in the future.
What’s the difference between Billy, the writer and Billy, the rockstar ?
Billy : The writer is the introverted-side of myself. When I write, I put my personal side on display. The performer is the crazy side of me expressing itself. It’s a strange dichotomy because when I write songs, it’s also the introverted part of myself who does it, but as soon as I get on stage and perform in front of an audience, I have to put the extraverted-side mode on.
35 years later, what happened to the punk band Generation X ?
Billy : We did a lot during our time ! And the fact that, there are a lot of rock festivals like the Hellfest running well, only proves Rock N Roll is still going strong. People still love heavy music. I certainly am proud to be part of that, part of the Rock N Roll history. Back then, in 1977, the No-Future motto coming from the punk movement meant : « Do the thing you love ». For us, it was to be musicians, being in a band. For others, this would mean to buy a camera and being a photographer. Some other would pick up a pen and wrote about the music scene. You know what I mean ? Do the thing you love and enjoy it, live it to the fullest. And you know what, 40 years later, I still do live by the motto.
What diet do you follow ? Are you a vegetarian ?
Billy : Well, I do eat fish… I do it to help hydrate my skin. For years, I’ve messed up with my diet. In the seventies, everybody wanted to be very thin like David Bowie… Now, I follow a very strict diet actually but when you do this job, it’s a necessity. Also, I think there is a close connexion between the food you eat and your energy and mind. I do believe there is a way to eat. I don’t know if it’s right for anybody else but it is for me.
What’s your point of view on music business evolution ?
Billy : It has changed for the good and the bad. Nowadays, there’s a lot of music, but probably way too much so it became difficult to find or access it. There are so many ways, there are so many music mediums, which is nice, but how do you know about it ? Now, there’s no record stores anymore. Back then, it was a personal experience to buy a CD, you had to go to a record store and would spend hours looking at the albums, you would check the artcovers and everything. People used to put the artworks on their walls at home. There was something dreamy about it. Now, you can carry a thousand albums and songs in your pocket, which is incredible… But well, you have to live with your time.