Billie Joe Armstrong’s Curious Timing

The punk rock meltdown is news of the past but that doesn’t mean I can’t over-analyze why it happened.

1. We all remember this…

The, supposed, meltdown by one of the world’s most famous punk rockers. The man who lead all of the unaware on a collision course with the punk rock scene only to prove to us that this is nothing of what it stands for. Punk music, which dates far back into the 70’s with many citing the New York Dolls as the first “punk band”, is a feeling, a stand against the norm, a way to question the status-quo and spit in the face of those who oppose. What punk inhibits is an attitude, gives us a message of hope from despair, raises a fist in the air in solitude with the oppressed, gives a voice to the voiceless. I can hardly say that Green Day, which is rumored to have been named after the first time Billie Joe Armstrong smoked weed, possesses these qualities, at least in their music.

Green Day does encompass an “I don’t particularly care what you think about me and my actions” kind of vibe to their music. It’s fun and raucous and does have an endearing quality, especially at the impressionable age of 12 when hearing the word “fuck” numerous times in a song makes you laugh. I am a fan of Green Day, mostly their earlier stuff, and appreciate where they have taken their stardom and, although not a huge fan, I can appreciate what they have done with American Idiot. But how “punk rock” can a Broadway musical really be anyway?

Which brings me to the point of my article, has anyone questioned the timing of this “meltdown”?

I can’t be the only one who raised an eyebrow to this. Before watching the video numerous times, and only hearing about it, I thought it was an actual event of epic proportions. Green Day’s official “DIVA” moment. After viewing the clip it became apparent that this was not a true protest against the band getting their set cut short. It was an orchestrated ploy in order to bring back the integrity Green Day had lost by performing on “America’s Got Talent” and Billie Joe’s mentoring on “The Voice”.

America’s punk band had lost their edge. The groundbreaking success of American Idiot had ushered in a new generation of fans and now appeals to the teeny-bopper crowd - no matter how complex and idealistic the album is. Green Day was always pop but had punk following it throughout their career but with success the punk portion slowly started to disappear and all alone the word POP sat in front of the three-piece band mocking them and all their accomplishments.

When a person gets backed into a corner they defend themselves, it’s natural instinct to stay alive, it’s primitive nature to do so. So imagine you have a whole new crowd of people enjoying your music, no longer the fringe punk kids listening to their music as a gateway drug to bands like Leftover Crack, The Casualties and Operation Ivy. These new fans are the people who were introduced to your band through a musical that bastardized your music and used it as a vehicle only the make money. To most music lovers, but especially punk fans, “selling out” is often the lowest form of prostitution.

And now you’re in no man’s land. You want to preserve your integrity while still making shit-tons of money. You have a new album coming out that is admittedly a step toward your older music and not anything close to what was created on American Idiot.

What do you do?

You create a fictitious situation in where you exploit the fact that your set was cut short (is there verification that this is true?) to restate your “punk” sentiment and standing. If Green Day was always like this I could see why he would be pissed off at a situation like this but they have never really made headlines being ego-maniacs. This is also the iheartradio festival, filled with acts that flood the airwaves therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the ticket holders dictate who gets a longer slot time. It is also a little odd to me that one of the world’s biggest acts would be told merely minutes before getting on stage that their time was cut short.

Then again, I do enjoy a good conspiracy theory now and then.

The timing is really key here though, folks. Two weeks after “The Voice” started airing this rant made headlines around the country. Shortly after his meltdown the recorded portion of “The Voice” still features Billie Joe Armstrong as a mentor to singers looking to break into the spotlight. In this role he is both engaging and endearing along with being very supportive. Can he be? Sure, absolutely! But you would think that a guy who is capable of exploding in front of thousands of festival-goers would have more of an ego while mentoring singers, I haven’t caught of whiff of that. And in case you are questioning that you can still see the ego of Mary J. Blige, however toned down it may be.

Still not convinced?

All the sudden a band, which reporters said to have appeared to be fine, is going to go off the deep end just days before a set of three new albums are to be released? Records that are taking the band back to their roots and further away from the rock opera they constructed? Could be good timing, but I’m not buying it. At the end of the day music is a business with a lot of smart people at the helms. The success of these albums rode on the older listeners believing this band was back to their “Dookie” days. Billie Joe has acted on Broadway before, it would be no problem to give him free range and act like a maniac on stage for a few minutes in order to regain punk credibility.

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