Friday, April 24, 2009
interwiev with billie joe armstrong
Green Day, the Berkley-based band, all of whom were born in 1972, are always good for a scandal. Whether “redecorating” hotel suites and bars, mouthing off about other bands, initiating a legendary mud fight at Woodstock, leaving Tower Records wrecked, or discoursing about drug-taking on MTV, one thing is for certain, Green Day are the perfect cure for teenage boredom.
You cancelled your last tour midway through it. There were a lot of rumors, what really happened?
We were exhausted, wrecked, absolutely wrecked. At that point in time, we had been on tour for over two years and slowly our fuses blew. One after another, just went bang! We were finished, fucked up. We didn't know anymore who we were, where we were. We just wanted to go home.
A lot of your fans were very disappointed...
When we saw the hall where we were supposed to play, we knew that we wouldn't play. It was criminal, no electricity, no security, the floor was littered with broken glass. We'd rather have a disappointed audience than an audience that got seriously hurt or even killed. Moshing and broken glass just don't go together and a punk concert isn't fun without a pit.
You always seem to be mouthing off about other bands. Are you not getting on with other musicians?
You know if journalists ask you again and again the same questions about the same bands, then you'll end up saying that you hate them – even if you don't – just because you're so fed up with being asked all those stupid questions. People just take it too seriously.
The reaction to Nimrod was strange. Your fans loved it and a lot of critics seemed to hate it...
We knew that we wanted to record a different album and not another version of Insomniac. If we wouldn't take the challenge, we'd end up like some old punk rockers, playing the same stuff over and over... I don't want to mention names but the guys will know who we're talking about. A fate worse than death.
A lot of people claim you're not “punk” anymore...
Punk is not just the sound, the music. Punk is a life-style. There are a lot of bands around who claim to be punk and they only play the music, they have no clue what it's all about. It's a life-style I chose for myself. It's not about popularity and all that crap. When we started out as a band, we played punk rock, the music. [Then] we changed our sound, but we didn't change. We're just as much punk as we used to be. We got a lot of shit, and we're still getting it, for being signed with a major label. So what? We didn't start the band to cash in a lot of money. When we started out, punk was probably the most unpopular music around.
What annoys the hell out of me is the arrogance of some people. They don't even listen to our music, they decided in advance that they don't like it. You know even before we finished the album, before anybody ever heard just one track, some people had decided that it will suck. I don't give a shit about them. If they can't appreciate good music, it's their own fault.
What do you think about the ska trend that seems to influence punk?
We're not into that whole ska scene. Operation Ivy is the only ultimate ska-punk band out there. They're the real thing. To listen to another band would be like... like... yeah like preferring an Oasis album over a Beatles album.
You frighten quite a lot of people, destroying rooms and such, and you occasionally get out of hand...
That's not frightening. We don't hurt people. I think we're actually a very friendly band. How many other bands stop shows if they see a kid falling in the pit? A lot of bands don't care about that. I want everybody to have a good time at a concert. I don't want anybody getting hurt. That's punk, playing a show, having a party, having a good time.
I heard that you gave up drinking and other stuff...
I'm a father now. I have a certain responsibility. It isn't just my life anymore. I don't want my kid finding bottles in the house or seeing his father completely smashed. I don't want him to get the impression that his father is a drunk, a bum. Having children is a big responsibility and I don't want to make a mess out of it. I don't want my son thinking that I care more for booze than I care for him. If you have children, you don't want to have drugs and drinks in the house. You know they might reach it. It's just not good.
I checked the name Nimrod... Strange choice for an album title.
Yeah, I know. It's some guy from the old testament. For some strange reason it turned into a curse; it's another name for dork.