Billie Joe Armstrong: Profile Article...
Sitting awaiting one of rocks most iconic stars is a wonderful but daunting scenario. Being the front man of one the most famed bands of this generation, Billie Joe Armstrong is hot property. Green Day Is the sword that he yields, a band that have soled over 60 million records worldwide, a band that have received numerous awards for their brand of controversial, but energetic rock thrills. The enigmatic showman, who never surrenders to publicity or the celebrity persona, has just walked in. He looks like a typical rock star with jet-black hair, with a tint of guy liner, and such radiance. He sits; readying is throat to talk about the band, the rock lifestyle and growing old gracefully ‘’ I think its your own choice if turn from a angry young man, to a bitter old bastard’’ he says with authority. So has the once bratty delinquent grown up since the days of drinking heavily, smoking alarming amounts of weed and just not caring about life ‘’ I’m a father. It isn’t just my life anymore. I don’t want my kid finding bottles in the house or seeing his father completely smashed, if you have children, you don’t want to have drinks and drugs in the house, its just not good’’
There is such a sheen that comes from Billie Joe; his articulation grabs the attention and his clear knowledge of punk rock shines through. Sticking by the DIY ethic, he talks about punk being some sort of a religion and not just another genre for people listen to ‘’punk has always been about doing things your own way. What it represents for me is ultimate freedom and a sense of individuality; punk is just not the sound, the music. Punk is a lifestyle. Punk will never be dead to me. It’s my life. I can never just drop this lifestyle. It embodies me’’.
Since Green Day’s arrival onto the punk scene in 1989, the band have elevated to dizzying heights. Their first major label album Dookie ranked up 15 million record sales in 1994 and certified the band as the new superstars, and what makes that feat more empathic, the band members where still in their teens. But there was a downside to Green Day signing for a major label, the band became the enemy and where shunted out of the punk sector and where branded as sell outs. ‘’I still feel that it was the right decision, yes there was times when I said god have we did the right thing, will we be hanged for it, will be hated for it, but I feel we had to push ourselves musically, so signing to a major label was the only way we could do that’’ by doing that Green Day did fall into the dark side and where brandished as complete turncoats, but the band have always stuck to their guns and felt it was the right way to go to get their sound to a bigger audience.
After a string of less successful records, it was 2004’s American Idiot that put Green Day back on the musical map. The albums prior weren’t bad, the band were just trying to eradicate the ghost of dookie but it didn’t quite work ‘’ I am very proud of those records, I am always proud of what we create. Insomniac, nimrod and warning I hold close to my heart. We just wanted to open our minds, become a little more diverse and utilize a different sound; we didn’t want to create dookie 2 and 3’’ American Idiot drafted Green Day back into the spotlight, it was a career turning record drenched in political angst and enthralling rock triumphs. It was Billie Joe’s letter of disproval to the establishment, he wanted his voice heard, his anger noted. ‘’ We're not a political band. We don't want to tell people what to do or what to think. We just want to tell them to think, American Idiot was a different output, and something I am so proud of. I have stated that I don’t like the way America was run under the leadership of a moron, a moron that I am not going to mention, I feel now that America has more stability under Obama, he thinks differently, I think he is a revelation, I feel that America is more healthier now and less gaunt’’