Call it the middle finger heard throughout the music world.
With one single video clip — and one simple obscene gesture — Green Day have ended months of speculation that they would be working with producer Butch Vig on the follow-up to American Idiot.
The 45-second video, which was shot last Thursday and almost immediately began making the rounds on fan sites, opens with frontman Billie Joe Armstrong seated at a studio console, bashing out chords on his guitar. At precisely the 11-second mark, the camera flips around to reveal that the guy filming the action is none other than Vig himself. Perhaps in response to the all the Internet gossipmongers out there, Vig promptly gives the camera the finger.
Aside from confirming that Vig is producing Green Day's new album, the video also gives fans brief listens to at least three brand-new songs: the crunchy, chord-heavy track Armstrong is seen strumming along to at the clip's beginning, a herky-jerky number that flits between ska upstrokes and gypsy stop-start (with some surf-guitar soloing for good measure), and a rather anthemic piece that seems ripped from some of American Idiot's longer suites.
It's not known when any of those songs will see the light of day, though last week, many Green Day fan sites began linking to a Warner Music UK site that promised the new album would be out in 2009 and allowed fans to sign up to receive updates on the progress of the record. (The site has since been changed to read, "Join the UK Mailing List.")
Last week, MTV News reached out to Green Day's label, Reprise (part of the Warner Music Group), and Vig himself for comment on the new album, but at press time neither has responded.