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.
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
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
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.
Tre, Mike & Billie spoke about their new album and their excitement
about being on the show.
How does it feel to be in the Later…studio?
Tre Cool -
It's beautiful. This is just how I pictured it. But it's taller
Are you aware
of Later…as a programme?
- Yeah. We’ve been trying to kick down the door of this
place for a long time now. It's nice to watch the shows when we’re
Mike Dirnt - We're gonna show the kids how to run the bizz.
Billy Joe - Last time we were in the UK a couple of years ago
we were watching the show and Alanis Morissette was on.
Is there anyone you are looking forward to seeing on tonight's
edition of Later…?
Tre Cool -
Well the king of rock and roll..Elvis!
Billy Joe - I guess he’s alive...No only joking, Elvis Costello
and I'm looking forward to seeing Robbie Williams too. He’s
a fun guy and I like his songs.
will you be playing tonight?
Tre Cool -
Well the first song we’re going to play is "American
Idiot" and basically it's …
Mike Dirnt - (mockingly) The first song off our new album!
Billie Joe - Haha...no it’s a little picture of American
pop culture and our indifferences with it. The second one is "Boulevard
Of Broken Dreams" off of ‘American Idiot’ album
and then of course we’re going to play "Basket Case".
One of our first singles.
What can we expect from your performance tonight?
- Expect to have fun.
Billie Joe - We're just here to have fun and play…and the
jam session should be really fun because we’re going to
pull out a xylophone…it's gonna be a treat.
Mike Dirnt - And a cowbell.
Tre Cool - We're gonna explore the rhythm.