Why I Like Green Day

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I’m not one of those silly women who idolizes rock stars.

I’m proud to say that as a young girl, I DID NOT possess a poster one of David Cassidy, Mark Lester, Jack Wilde, Michael Jackson, Bobby Sherman, Donny Osmond or the short British Monkee who’s name escapes me.

I’ve never read a Tiger Beat magazine, either.

But I like Green Day. And that’s a bit unusual for me, mainly because I’m actually too old to like a band who’s core members were just 14 when they formed the group back in 1987l a year when I was living dangerously as a rambunctious, throw caution to the wind, 28-year-old in what amounts to Northern Mexico.

I remember first hearing about the talented trio that is Green Day back in the mid-90’s. I thought they sounded “big” and robust. Their music wasn’t all that complicated, but I was fascinated by their lyrics.

In short, I’ve always thought Billie Joe Armstrong was something of a poet, though that’s such a hackneyed term. Let’s call him a “craftsman”.

His experiences as a boy could best be described as gritty. I assume that has only contributed to his life’s rich texture.

He grew up in California. His father, Andy Armstrong,was a retired minor league catcher, who also worked as a jazz musician and truck driver to support the family. He died of cancer on September 10, 1982 when Armstrong was 10. The song, “Wake Me Up When September Ends“, is a memorial to his father.

The poignant ballad is drenched in melancholia. Armstrong revisits his painful childhood and reminisces about the day his father died. For him, it represented innocence lost. Armstrong says he never recovered from the loss of his father. He says even though 25-years have passed, he still associates pain with the month of September.

Summer has come and passed
The innocence can never last
wake me up when September ends

Like my fathers come to pass
seven years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

Here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

This is just one example of his writing which he does with such emotion. It’s raw and it’s very real.

Initially, I was struck by the lyrics the first time I heard “Good Riddance”.

And then I was stuck in the perpetuity of Green Day fandom.

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Here’s a primer on Billie Joe Armstrong, ripped from the pages of Lauriepedia:

In 1990, Armstrong met his future wife, Adrienne Nesser. They eventually married and now have two children named Joseph (called Joey by his family) and Jakob. Adrienne is the co-owner of Adeline Records, along with Armstrong.

The hag in me loves this next tidbit of info which I will admit, I didn’t know. Armstrong has stated that he is bisexual. In an interview with the gay mag, The Advocate, Armstrong was quoted as saying, “I think I’ve always been bisexual. I mean, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it’s just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of ‘Oh, I can’t.’ They say it’s taboo. It’s ingrained in our heads that it’s bad, when it’s not bad at all. It’s a very beautiful thing.”

Armstrong stated that he had a crush on Angus Young in his childhood.

Angus Young?   AC/DC’s British School Lad Clad Angus?   The man with a face only Mrs. Young could love?

OK, Billie Joe, to each his own.

Maybe it was the lingering after-effects of this prolonged crush that had something to do with Billie Joe’s brush with the cops.  He was arrested in January 2003 for a DUI after being pulled over for speeding.

Billie Joe Armstrong’

After taking a Breathalyzer test, Armstrong received a reading of .18, more than twice the state’s legal limit of .08.

Armstrong is also a registered Libertarian.

I greatly respect that about the lad. He hasn’t fallen into that overtly Liberal abyss that often engulfs performers.

Plus, he puts his money where his mouth is. He’s actively involved in philanthropic ventures–including Habitat For Humanity–but doesn’t require press release or a camera crew to cover his every move.

So yeah, I like Green Day, but I also like Billie Joe Armstrong very much. He writes with feeling and feels everything he writes.

I know he inspires me to feel.

Oh and BJ, on the off chance you’re reading this–please know that I’m a firm believer in that “ask and ye shall receive” line of thinking. Well Sir, I can’t wait for the new Green Day studio album which will be released later this year. So, allow me to employ the old adage by asking—nay, I’m imploring you to send your Number One fan (and not in a “Misery” kind of way) a signed CD?

If you do, it’ll be Green Day forever. I’ll never listen to the Buzzcocks again.

Promise.

13 comments

  1. WOW! I have always like the band but definitely learned a few things from your post. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  2. Very interesting! I like Green Day–didn’t know about the whole “bisexual” thing–that kind of creeps me out–but I can put it aside and continue listening to their albums. (ha–it’s CD’s but I still call them albums and my kids have no idea what I’m talking about). But for me–and I know this may be sad to some–I am and have always been a HUGE Billy Joel fan–but hey, to each…

  3. i’m big on the GD. ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ is a bit of a gut wrencher for me on a few levels. That’s a good thing. From what I know, it was written about his father. The video would tell you something different. If you haven’t seen it, you should. As some may know, I served in Iraq twice while I was actively in the Marine Corps. The video captures almost every emotion and stress that I experienced over there in such a manner that it paralyzes me. I was shocked at how realistic the action was to be honest with you. Everytime I hear the song it really reminds me of the whole deployment process, the leaving, the heat, the chaos. That whole album was big for me, ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ was freakishly relevant to my teenage experience. As far as the bisexual thing, look, I’m not defending his decision, but sexuality is sexuality. The stigmas typically surrounding homosexuality and bisexuality are rediculous in so many ways. You wouldn’t put your sexuality under your name on a business card, because it’s really noones business. Marilyn Manson has probably torn through miles of dick. Does that take away from his intellectual prowess? No. If you knew he had never been with men, would you listen to his thoughts more? If you answered yes, maybe it’s time to snuggle up to reality. Oh, look, Keywork is a liberal. Jesus.

  4. I love his [BJ”s] performance in “Live Freaky Die Freaky” both as a musician and an actor, Very impressive. Tim Armstrong arranged the score and the songs were written by Roddy Bottum.

    The boy ‘Out-Mansoned’ Charlie Manson.

    I love his make-up too!

  5. I grew up loving Green Day and like Lucky said, so many things in here I didn’t know! They should put this post in Rolling Stone!! 😉

  6. I love Green Day, been listening to them for ages and love most of their music. In the back of my mind, I can hear the little punk rock kid of my youth screaming about how derivative they are of bands like the Buzzcocks and such but nowadays, I listen to my pop-punk with a mellower ear and can enjoy them for what they are and not what they derive their sound from. American Idiot is a powerful album/concept piece and I can listen to it from start to finish and find myself wishing for more. Jesus of Suburbia, at 8 minutes long, is one of those songs you wish would go on and on.

    Thanks for sharing! And I agree with the sentiment that this should be in Rolling Stone… 🙂

  7. I hadn’t heard of Green Day Untill 2005 when The song American Idiot Came out and ever since then i have been Listening to there music.
    I was shocked that my brother hadn’t heard of the band before then as he has grown up with them… so for the 19 years Green Day have Been Green day my brother has been alive.
    I the person that I know of that still listens to them really.
    And i was the Person that introduced my class to the International Superhits! C.D.

    My Music teacher asked the class to bring in a C.D with a song that was acceptable for the class to sing and Instantly i thought Green Day Good Riddence (Time of your life) WE added a piano kept the guitar and added a flute instead of a violin we changed the Key because the teacher didn’t think it was sing-songy enough and added ahhs in the back ground but it was like long lasting ones not wee sort one that song sick.
    The song ending up sounding good enough to sing at the end of year assembly for our leavers song as we are going to high school now.
    The lyrics go well for a leavers song because its true we don’t know what is going to happen to us but what ever does happen its for the best.
    And another thing the son has been around for as we have

    Sorry if there are letters missing in words i have a dodgy keyboard.

  8. this is awesome. i was like you some time back, an ardent green day fan, and now as i’m older i still look back at their music with fondness. no frills music, just good ol’ empathy.

    i did a post on billie joe too, and one obscure fact about him (my favourite) is that he is a multi-insturmentalist, and he plays everything from bass to drums to the mandolin. talk about talented.

    cheers!

  9. Green Day cranks you know that “heavy crunch” sound. Can they do wrong?!?

    Thanks for pointing out the meloncholy theme in most of his (their)songs. “I knew that.”

    I saw them in Tampa,FL… 21st Century Meltdown. I wish I could describe how super awesome it was .Now I know why he didn’t play September, plus the video is just too political and stupid! The bi-sexual thing? Well, that’s his business.

    Thank you Laurie. Please give me a shout out on your site if you can.

    Thank you again!

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