Billie Joe Armstrong: “Green Day majors were interested in the least”

Billie Joe Armstrong: “Green Day majors were interested in the least”

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“In fact, in those years, I was only thinking about how to write a few songs that I could be proud of, and five years to ride with them on the tour”, – says the singer and guitarist of the band Green Day, recalling his state of mind 20 years ago, February 1, 1994, when she came third album collective «Dookie», Green Day has become for both major label debut (the album was released on Reprise Records, division Warner Bros., which is still the label group). – I remember having received honoraria from bosses, I told the guys, listen, let’s hurry and write poekonomnee all – then we will dibs on paying apartment rent.”

However, the next day after «Dookie» Armstrong, bassist Mike Dernt and drummer Tre Cool became famous. The record went platinum instantly, then multi-platinum, and eventually sold around the world in the amount of 16 million copies. Young punk-hardcore band, rehearse in the cellar of college in California, Berkeley, and suddenly found yourself in the stadium arena, without even having to buy a normal guitar.

And now, after 20 years, 10 albums and 1 multi-platinum rock opera «American Idiot», Green Day, without exaggeration, is the most successful punk band in the world. But Billie Joe Armstrong still not tired amazed success «Dookie» and its magnetic effect on the audience, which continues to this day. “That’s what I wanted – that people feel the passion that I put in my songs,” – smiling musician.

When you first felt the attention of majors? Your second album «Kerplunk» released on the independent label Lookout in January 1992, immediately after the breakthrough «Nevermind» Nirvana. Have you thought about how to try to get into their jet?

I remember Larry Livermore of Lookout said, though he called fatty lumps of majors and asked something about us, but we did not take it seriously – thought it was a joke. While the light got out a bunch of groups, imitating Nirvana and Soundgarden, and we tried to stay away from this mold. So it’s by someone who, as our majors, in theory, should have been interested in the least.

However, it turned out otherwise: you are known to have a tidbit for Geffen, Columbia and Reprise.

The fact that we actually had quite a few fans who helped us – well, this whole fanzine culture, concerts halls for gatherings of war veterans who almost were not announced. So that people who were not in the subject, we were simply not aware of. So when we had soldaut semisotmestnom in the Jersey City Gardens hall or in the Los Angeles Whisky A Go Go, dudes from Geffen Records and Warner Bros. just stunned.

This period was a turning point in your career. But why did you decide to work with Rob Cavallo and Reprsie?

We are likely to have been stoned. Although we were constantly then Nakuru, so that all this took place in a daze (laughs). But we knew exactly what we want. “Well, then, boys, I’m only here on this guitar and only through one amp. Mike himself, unaided narulivaet currently bass groove. And the point! “That’s how we, in the end, everything is recorded.

It’s funny that when such requirements were written, though you Berkeley, but a pretentious studio Fantasy. And it’s quite a jump from your homegrown debuts. You organically felt themselves in expensive studio setting?

Oh, there reigned a wonderful atmosphere of the 70s: cocaine, mahogany furniture and the ghosts of great musicians working in the studio to us. Imagine you walk into a studio archive, and you see all the master tapes Creedence Clearwater Revival! But with all this splendor we are not intimidated, despite the fact that on the record our debut «39/Smooth» we just spent 700 bucks, and «Kerplunk» cost in 1200. I understood what it means to really cool sound, Narula awesome guitar crunch, and could more time to tinker with vocals. Great experience!

A recording material was ready and rehearsed?

Were the case. We lived near the studio, between Ashby and Telegraph Avenue, where rented an apartment with a group of East Bay Weed Company, and the entire house was packed solid our hangouts. There we rehearsed. When we returned from a tour with «Kerplunk», I spent a few evenings with his quad portastudiey on which alone the guitar recorded demo songs «She», «Sassafras Roots», «Pulling Teeth» and «FOD». And I do not soared: if I did not have enough imagination to lose, I just re-played the first verse. Then I showed Mike and Tre recorded, we tried a couple of times to play it all together, and went into the studio.

What is the thing you do in the first studio day?

It was «Burnout», it seems. Remember that we are wildly nervous, and feel themselves children free confectionery. But while Mike and Tre were ultimately collected and recorded everything as soon as possible – do not remember that they subsequently worked as swiftly and simultaneously cool. We are not going to be one of those bands that pants sit in the studio and record label people from nudyat them in the ear: “It sucks. Rip. ” Our motto was “Come all to such a mother. Our business – all written in a hurry and get out of here. “

However, listening to the disc, do not tell me that you spit on so mainstream. «Longview», «Basket Case», «When I Come Around», «She» – all these songs if created to sound on the radio and stadiums.

Well, for me it was always important to have an opinion and to maintain individuality. In those years in rock music was terribly fashionable whining to himself about their problems and pose as a misunderstood misfit. We are by nature extroverts, so went in spite of everything, in spite of the fact that realize that we leave on the field groups that could not stand (laughs). Most important for us to be ourselves, no matter what. To hell with the nagging – and so life is pretty stupid thing.

But it does not give any texts thus whining «Basket Case» (telling about panic attacks Armstrong – approx. RS) or «When I Come Around» (vocalist of uneasy relations with his future wife Adrienne)? The impression is that the guy who wrote these lines, not so cheerful and energetic as the one that sings them.

Well, the impression may arise, especially after the first line of «Burnout»: «I declare I don’t care no more«. But in fact, the thing is that I was a constantly stoned. This rather painful feeling when you need someone who can shake you and scream, “Dude, you have the roof goes!» «FOD» («Fuck Off and Die» – approx. RS) all written about a particular person, from which I was going to beat the shit once. Now, of course, it is ridiculous to think about it, but at the time I spoke with absolute sincerity. Generally, all the time, after the contract with a major label, resembled one big loony bin. When we worked with an indie label, it was much more comfortable, and now I felt as if burned his own house.

So «Basket Case», though luzerskim became the anthem of the world, not only for panic attacks. It’s about the utter confusion and helplessness of man in the world. Around the chaos, people kill each other, and there is no way to understand why all this is happening. «American Idiot», by the way, exactly the same thing.

And why did you change sex of the character in the third verse, where you sing a whore in the masculine?

I was just checking for lice and himself, and the listener, whoever he was. Sounds like you’re treating the whole world and say, “All is not as you think. White is not so white, and black – black. It is possible that your grandfather was a prostitute – and perhaps was not? “Bisexuality in the song – one of the main topics.

This topic is particularly noticeable in «Coming Clean», which starts stitching «Seventeen and strung out on confusion». You wrote it in 17 years?

No, and there is no question about it, I could be any number of years. The song is about soul-searching about trying to answer the questions posed to himself. But yes, while in Berkeley and San Francisco have been normal sex relationships. And now there is same-sex marriage and all in order.

In writing this song, you come to some conclusion about their own sexual preferences? Or you directed purely research interest?

Yes, it was a process of exploring the surrounding. I wanted to try something new. Well, tried: Adrienne married a year later.

Yeah, and in 1995 you have your first born son.

Yes, everything has rushed headlong. «Dookie» was released in February 1994, I got married in July, and soon a son was born. Here is impulsivity events and bringing chaos to my life then.

Was it not a mistake to name his first album on a major label in honor of excrement? (For English. «Dookie» mean shit – approx. RS) I have because of this, frankly, was initially quite ambiguous attitude to the plate, while I have not rasslushal.

Yes many people so it was, I’m sure. Most of all, we invented it for obkurke. Damn, how much grass we then Scuro! And once we came up with this idea: “Dude, this is wildly funny – the album” Shit! ” We were told about this artist Richie Bucher, and that way he muttered darkly, “Okay, guys …” Get us some time cover – and her dog shit scattered around Berkeley (laughs). But actually I do not know why it happened. Apparently, it was one of the most impulsive moments.

But the cover turned out really funny, crammed with all sorts of fun stuff and gags.

Yeah – there is, for example, you can find Angus Young of AC / DC, and the virgin on the cover of the first album The Black Sabbath.

I like most dog, poured a bucket of shit from the roof of the house out of the window on the aunt, who yells, “Oh, my latte!” – A sort of kick yuppie punk radicals Berkeley.

There generally are mixed bunch of moments and people from our former life. There and the guy who constantly commit pass over our house, and a photographer from the club on Gilman Street, 924, in which we used to play – and not all listed.

Thus, it appears that as your hardcore punk roots and communication have given you the opportunity to sign with a major label, you decided to capture and praise them for their new album?

You see, when you’re 20 years old, you’re doing a lot of things that are illegal in 30. You have to grow up and learn to be responsible for the shit that you do. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks so. And all that I can – is held accountable for their own mistakes. But hold someone’s 15-year-old son from the follies and vlyapyvaniya shit I can not, and do not intend to.

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