• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Green Day reflect on the band’s evolution and why they are committed to making protest music

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Green Day, the renowned punk rock trio, is commemorating major milestones this year with the 20th anniversary of their Grammy-winning album “American Idiot” and the 30th anniversary of their breakout album “Dookie,” which sold 10 million albums in the U.S. alone. Today, they released their 14th album, “Saviors,” which marks their return to their roots in protest music.

A recent performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” saw frontman Billie Joe Armstrong change a lyric in “American Idiot” from “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda” to “I’m not a part of the MAGA agenda,” a move that Armstrong said he’s proud of and stands behind “1000%.” Armstrong said he’s been singing “MAGA agenda” since 2016.

“You know, we’ve always wanted to keep our edge,” said Armstrong.

Their album “American Idiot” became their first No. 1 a decade after “Dookie,” defying any notions that they were past their prime.

Bassist Mike Dirnt said after the “Dookie” album was released in 1994, “there was really no looking back” for the band since they were outgrowing the small venues they were performing in.

“I wanted to hear us on the radio,” said Armstrong

The band’s journey started in the late 80s at 924 Gilman, a legendary club in Berkeley, California. Armstrong, Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool, were regulars there, both as performers and fans. Their original band name, Sweet Children, is still spray-painted in the rafters of the club. 

“We played here once a month. And then the other weekends, we were just here all the time,” said Armstrong.

“I was on that stage a lot more as a fan than I was in our band,” said Dirnt.

The club was known for its strict no racism, no sexism, and no homophobia policy. For the members of Green Day, the club was more than just a performance venue; it was a place where they learned about values.

“The kids who were here were latchkey kids and stuff. And so we learned community, family values, you know, but also work,”  said Dirnt.

The band’s new song “The American Dream is Killing Me” reflects on the stress and anxiety of living in America today.

“You’re hit every day with the algorithm of chaos,” said Armstrong.

The band — all aged 51 and long-time parents — said they found that parenthood has influenced their new music.

“Being a parent makes everything more apparent, you know,” said Dirnt.

“Being in a band and stuff like that, like sleep deprivation, we were already used to, so that part of parenting wasn’t that bad,” said Tré Cool.

“We went straight from putting out ‘Dookie’ to cleaning up dookie,” Dirnt added, laughing.

As they embark on their tour this summer with the new “Saviors” album, Green Day is not only celebrating their past achievements with “Dookie” and “American Idiot,” but also looking toward the future.

“It’s kind of a trifecta moment, you know. We never really look back a whole lot. I want to savor this moment, you know?” said Dirnt. 

“I want to savior this moment,” joked Tré Cool.

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