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The curious way in which success affected Green Day, according to Billie Joe Armstrong

Vocalist and guitarist told how two waves of commercial success, separated by a decade, were received differently by the band

It was not overnight that the green Day achieved success. There are even those who think that Dookie (1994), the album responsible for his worldwide fame, was the first of his career. Mistake: it is the third in the overall catalogue, marking the debut only on a major record label, the Rerun.

The group was formed in 1987 and went by other names before establishing itself. Billie Joe Armstrong (voice and guitar) even had a different bassist and drummers before Mike Dirnt It is Tre Coolrespectively. Sean Hughes took over the four strings between 1987 and 1988, the same period in which Raj Punjabi sat on the drum stool. The percussive instrument also featured John Kiffmeyer between 1988 and 1990, recording the album 39/Smooth (1990) and some EPs.

Although it did not come suddenly, the success left an all-time mark on Armstrong, Dirnt and Cool. The first spoke about the subject in an interview with Guitar Worldalso reflecting on the second wave of commercial success with American Idiot(2004), a decade after Dookie.

Initially, Billie Joe was asked to compare the effects of Dookie It is American Idiot in the history of green Day. The first album mentioned, of course, represented a greater challenge of understanding for the musicians.

“We were so young at the time Dookie. The success part left me so confused that I didn’t know how to react to it. Life changed so quickly that I always thought, ‘did I enjoy this moment enough?’.”

This even caused his vision to be different in the second most successful period, with American Idiot.

“So, I think with American Idiot, the thought was: ‘let’s get as much as we can out of this moment, in terms of feeling gratitude and feeling like we did something special’. Because we always wanted to have what our heroes had, like The Who making the album Tommy (1969) or something along those lines. Every band wants to have a moment like Sgt Pepper’s (mention to the cult album by Beatles 1967).American Idiot It was that moment for us.”

Evolution of Green Day

Still during the interview, Billie Joe Armstrong commented on the evolution and breaking of paradigms of American Idiot. On their seventh studio album, green Day presented more elaborate and longer songs, in addition to experimenting with a concept.

These are characteristics that, apparently, do not match a punk album. But they made it fit.

“We were known for writing two-minute punk songs. Suddenly, here we were making these eight-minute works. There was a part of us that thought, ‘God, what are people going to think of this?’. But it got to a point where we said, ‘F#k it, this is where we want to be’. He knows? Like: ‘you can give us a 0 or a 10, there’s no in between’.”

Luckily, the overall score was 10. American Idiotsold more than 6 million copies worldwide and scored hits such as Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Wake Me Up When September Ends, Holiday, Jesus of Suburbia and the title track.

“We did a small promotional show after talking to the KROQ. We publicized it and packed the place. That was the first time we played ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ (track 9 minutes long). And I remember there was almost shock in the crowd, where people were like, ‘what the f##k did I just hear?’. I don’t know if that was good or bad, but it felt like a moment where we could say, ‘OK, we’re on the right track, that’s good’.”

Source: Rollingstone

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