Just as Green Day’s American Idiot has a theme running through it, so too do the band’s videos from the album — they all share the vision of director Samuel Bayer.
After working with Bayer for “American Idiot,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Holiday,” the band hooked up with him again for “Wake Me Up When September Ends” after the guys returned from a sold-out Asian tour at the end of March.
The shoot took place in Los Angeles, and according to a spokesperson at Warner Bros., the video reflects the song’s serious tone — it’s about frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s father passing away — and features speaking roles by actors Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot”) and Evan Rachel Wood (“Thirteen”). Photos from the set of the video appeared on various Green Day fan sites last week and show the band dressed in black, performing on a somber gray set, against a deep red backdrop and a showering of sparks.
“I presented my concept to Billie Joe, because I know the song is personal to him, and he loved that it’s all about youth and dreams and bonds that get broken,” Bayer said Tuesday (April 19). “We wanted to make a mini-movie about a boy and a girl that fall in love and have the rest of their lives ahead of them, but the boy joins the Army and leaves her behind to go to war. It’s my interpretation of Billie Joe’s very personal song.”
At a taping of VH1’s “Storytellers” in February, Armstrong called “Wake Me Up” the most autobiographical song he’s ever written and admitted he has difficulty getting through the song when he performs it live.
“If there’s a song on there that veers away from the story for the album, it’s that one. It’s a personal thing. I’ve never tackled an issue about that — about singing about my father,” he said. “It’s hard to sing, but definitely therapeutic, because it deals with the passing of someone that you love.”
And it looks like he’ll continue his unique brand of therapy for the foreseeable future, because Green Day don’t plan on ending their hectic schedule anytime soon. They’re currently tearing up much of the Southeast along with My Chemical Romance (see “Green Day Taking My Chemical Romance On Tour This Spring” ), and the next six months will see them hit Canada, Europe, the U.K. (for a pair of shows with Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday in June) and then head back to the U.S. for a trio of massive stadium shows in New Jersey, San Francisco and Los Angeles in September and October.