In the 10 months since it was released, Green Day’s American Idiot album has topped the Billboard albums chart, sold more than 3.8 million copies, topped critics’ lists and taken home a truckload of awards, including the Grammy for Best Rock Album. So you’d think frontman Billie Joe Armstrong would be used to all the accolades by now.
But mere hours after he’d learned that Green Day had been nominated for eight Video Music Awards (more than anyone else), Armstrong was still having a hard time wrapping his head around the idea of taking home multiple Moonmen (see “Green Day, Gwen, Missy Nab Most Nominations For MTV Video Music Awards” ).
“This whole thing has just been surreal and overwhelming. It’s an amazing feeling when you get recognized for one thing, but when you get nominated eight times over, it goes to a whole new level,” he laughed. “When we first started this band, we didn’t even expect to make videos, and now we’re getting nominated for videos. Words can’t describe it, but we’re going to come and kick ass and have a good time.”
Green Day’s eight nominations were spread between two of Idiot’s songs, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” which scored six nods (for Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Rock Video, Best Direction in a Video, Best Cinematography in a Video and Best Editing in a Video), and “American Idiot,” which took home nominations in the Best Video Game Soundtrack category (it appears on EA’s “Madden 2005”) and for Best Art Direction in a Video.
It’s enough nominations to make anyone’s head spin, Armstrong’s included. But he feels vindicated by nods, especially given the uphill struggle that went into making American Idiot (see “Road To The Grammys: The Making Of Green Day’s American Idiot” ). And on awards night, he hopes to share some of that recognition with Samuel Bayer, the man who’s directed all three videos off the album.
“Sam has got the same sort of heart that we do — he wants to reach something that is great. And he’s incredibly passionate about the way he does his art. So for him to get the recognition is great too,” Armstrong said. “It’s great to be recognized for something that you worked very hard for. And that just doesn’t go for our album, but for our videos, too. We wanted them to be the some of the greatest rock videos ever made.”
And Green Day look to keep that goal alive with a pair of upcoming clips, both directed by Bayer. First up is the video for “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” which the band shot back in March (see “It’s A Dark Day For Green Day In Somber ’September’ Video” ), and which Armstrong promises will leave viewers “floored.”
” ’Wake Me Up’ is very intense and emotional. It’s not the kind of video where people go, ’I like that video’ or ’I don’t like that video.’ It’s intense,” he said. “It’s not a ’cool’ video — it’s more like a seven-minute film.”
And perhaps that’s what got Armstrong thinking about Green Day’s next project: a video for “Jesus of Suburbia,” one of two nine-plus minute centerpieces on Idiot. The video will be such an undertaking that the band is also planning on making it into a full-fledged film.
“We’re already planning for ’Jesus of Suburbia.’ We’re going to be making a video for the whole thing,” Armstrong said. “We’re working with Sam again, and we’re throwing ideas around. If anything, it might be a prequel to what some people would consider a movie. We’ll see what happens. Basically it’s just another risk worth taking — we’ve had a whole year of that now, and it’s great. Right now I feel like this is the band that I’ve always wanted to be in — musically, stylistically, all of it.”