On February 6, 1990, Billy Idol was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle crash when he ran a stop sign on his Harley late one night in Los Angeles and collided with a car. The accident required a steel rod inserted into his right leg and also left him with a fractured forearm.
During this acoustic-led track, Idol reflects on his 1990 accident. "A little bit of me got left on that roadside, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing in the end," he shared. "It was a wake-up call. Maybe on that roadside, I left behind the irreverent, youthful Billy and opened the door for a more attentive father and a more sensitive musician."
Unable to write about the experience for three decades, Idol eventually penned this tune during the pandemic. "For me personally, you have to let things marinate, and you never know how long that gestation period is going to last," he explained to American Songwriter
. The motorcycle accident is something I had 30 years to marinate and think about."
Idol said he'd been feeling reflective during the pandemic and wanted to write something that could inspire others going through a difficult time. "That was something I had to overcome," he told Audacy's Larry Morgan. "I nearly lost my right leg, I had a terrible hole in my leg."
"I thought about that time in my life and I thought about [how] a lot of people are going through a lot of trouble right now and have a lot they have to overcome," Idol continued. "Maybe this song will help them. It's not directly about the pandemic, but it's about overcoming something in your life. A problem you have to face up to and come to grips with and try to overturn it."
Idol penned the song with his longtime guitarist and co-writer Steve Stevens, along with writers Tommy English and Joe Janiak.
Idol recorded "Bitter Taste" for his The Roadside EP. The record title stems from that near-fatal experience. "It's a little bit like 'what did I learn in that accident?'" he said.
Produced by Butch Walker (Green Day, Weezer) The Roadside was conceived, recorded, and mixed predominantly during the pandemic in 2020. It is Idol's first release on the newly re-launched Dark Horse Records, a label initially created in 1974 by George Harrison and revived by his son Dhani Harrison.