Though you wouldn’t think so from his crazy spiked hair and torn clothing, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is considered a polished professional, simply playing the part of punk rocker to his grungy fans, but always remaining calm and in control. That is why his complete meltdown at the iHeart Radio Festival was so shocking. Sure, he sings and looks like a rebel, but most of the social insubordination he feels is reserved for his lyrics, and not his actions. So, when he became incensed during his set at the festival, I thought it was another theatrical element to the performance. Only when he didn’t come back on stage did I stop to think, wait, what just happened here?
Armstrong apparently misinterpreted a cue from organizers at Clear Channel as one urging him to wrap it up and get off the stage. In true punk rock fashion he responded to this by glaring angrily through his eyeliner, going on an heated tirade, defiantly smashing his guitar on stage, and flipping off those in charge. Likely thinking that this is just the “punk” part of punk rock, fans cheered at the singer’s display of anarchic musicianship as he snarled, “Let me f****ing tell you something, I’ve been around since f***ing 19-f***ing-88. And you’re going to give me 1 f***ing minute? You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me. I’m not Justin Bieber you mother f***ers.”
In a twist (and smartly executed business move), rather than shaking their black nail-polished fists at the Man along with him, the rest of Green Day issued an official apology to those at iHeart Radio and stated that in fact, their set was not cut short by the music conglomerate, Clear Channel. The apology came in conjunction with an announcement that Armstrong was going to be “seeking treatment for substance abuse.”
All of this mayhem was the explosive prelude to the group’s release of ¡Uno!, the first of three new records, which comes out today. Though they had to cancel some of their promotional stops, Green Day got more publicity about their albums after Armstrong’s tantrum than the “postponed” autograph signing at Tilly’s in Burbank ever could have given them.
As another testament to the group’s business acumen, fans can download a copy of the record for only 5 bucks off of Amazon this week.
By: Darianne Dobbie