If you lived through the '80s or simply love them like everyone else, chances are you know Steve Stevens. With a boatload of Aqua Net, a whole lot of attitude, and more guitar licks and squeals than you can shake your studded fist at, he and singer Billy Idol bum rushed the cultural consciousness with a string of heavy metal-charged punk-rock gems and accompanying videos.
"We blew up fast, Billy and me," says Stevens. "Overnight we went from nobodies to 'get them off the TV already!' I even got tired of seeing my face all the time - that's how big it got."
But Stevens used his visibility to further his musical reach, contributing famously to the Top Gun soundtrack, laying down sheets of shred guitar on Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana, and later, after late-'80s split from Idol, projects with singer Vince Neil and his own band, Steve Stevens and the Atomic Playboys.
Although it appears that his late-90s reunion with Idol might stick, Stevens has recently released his first solo album, Memory Crash, a cauterizing collection of guitar instrumentals (there is a tasteful flamenco interlude, along with a knockout cover of Robin Trower's Day Of The Eagle, featuring Doug Pinnick of King's X on vocals) that ranks as the guitarist's most fiery and audacious work yet.
After a series of comically missed phone calls, Stevens sat down for a friendly and relaxed podcast interview with MusicRadar, which you can listen to below. For more information on Steve, visit the official Steve Stevens website.
Part one - Steve discusses his new record and his early musical education
Part two - Steve talks about hooking up with Robert Palmer, Billy Idol, and his love of Les Pauls
Part three - Steve answers your questions