HOLLYWOOD — More than 15 years into their career, Green Day had a rare first on Tuesday night with a red carpet premiere held in their honor.
The event, staged at the ArcLight Cinemas, was staged for their "Bullet in a Bible" concert DVD that hit stores the same day. "It's the first time I've ever gotten to see myself in a concert situation, so it's pretty cool," singer Billie Joe Armstrong said as he made his way down the press line with bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool.
Along with the movie's stars, the premiere also brought out some of Green Day's punk-rock brethren, including members of New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday, as well as actresses Ever Carradine ("Commander in Chief") and Krista Allen ("Baywatch"), and even reality star Danny Bonaduce.
"I like American Idiot a lot but Dookie was my favorite album," said the former Danny Partridge, who brought his kids to the screening. "If there is such a thing, I'm an old-school Green Day fan."
New York emo rockers Taking Back Sunday, who opened the Green Day show at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, England, where the DVD was shot, were especially excited to be at the premiere.
"We showed up and the place was actually in this field that was the size of three or four football fields," singer Adam Lazzara recalled. "After the initial shock wore off and exchanges of saliva and things like that, we calmed down and held together and it was a good time."
New Found Glory also spent time on the road with Green Day over the past year and described the Milton Keynes show as the exclamation mark on a momentous tour (see "New Found Glory Call Tour With Green Day 'A Dream Come True' ").
"What they did in the early '90s and what they did again, except even more with this record, is [make] more people ... open to listening to punk rock," guitarist Chad Gilbert explained. "They have an older audience now — even when we toured with them we noticed that — so I think it opened a lot of people's minds to listening to even more aggressive or faster kind of music, which is cool."
That massive audience that Green Day have accumulated is essentially the motivation for "Bullet in a Bible," which set out to capture the biggest punk-rock show to date.
"This is the antithesis of what punk is supposed to be," said Samuel Bayer, who directed the DVD as well as all the videos from American Idiot. "Punk bands aren't supposed to play in front of 65,000 people and punk bands aren't supposed to be huge. I got to work with the Ramones and Johnny Lydon [from the Sex Pistols] and they never got celebrated."
For Bayer, the highlight of the DVD is Green Day's performance of "Wake Me Up When September Ends."
"When they play in front of 65,000 kids and the kids all know the words and are crying and got their lighters up in the air, I mean, that was pretty amazing," he said. "When I watch it I still get goose bumps."
As those around them gushed over "Bullet in a Bible," Green Day downplayed the DVD and talked up their own influences.
"We just tried to capture something that was like our favorite concert films, 'Don't Look Back' or 'Rattle and Hum' or 'Song Remains the Same' or 'Rude Boy,' " Armstrong said, referring to movies documenting Bob Dylan, U2, Led Zeppelin and the Clash. "Those are my heroes, and we tried to capture something that was similar."
"We were all hopped up on so much allergy medication," added Dirnt, who struggled to remember a highlight from the show. "It's the only sunny day outside of London you'll ever see on film!"
For more on Green Day and "Bullet in a Bible," check out the feature "American Geniuses."