It was back in 1994. August 3, to be exact. MTV News’ first-ever interview with [artist id="988"]Green Day[/artist].
The guys were still fresh-faced and scruffy, still trying to figure out how to deal with the fame that their Dookie album had brought them and — perhaps most importantly — still touring aboard their customized Book Mobile (complete with a fold-out sorta couch and a space for their Sega Genesis).
We spoke to Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt from the living quarters of the bus, hours before their gig at the iconic Stone Pony club in Asbury Park, New Jersey. This was 11 days before their infamous mud-slinging gig at Woodstock ’94 and less than a week before they began touring on the main stage of that summer’s Lollapalooza festival, alongside headliners like the [artist id="1016"]Smashing Pumpkins[/artist] and the [artist id="968"]Beastie Boys[/artist].
During our interview, they still seemed to be grappling with their sudden popularity and the sheer enormity (and ridiculousness) of their upcoming gigs. About their Woodstock slot, Armstrong quipped, “We’re gonna drop onto the stage in flaming parachutes and do Hendrix’s version of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ ” They were seemingly dead-set on never leaving the cozy confines of the Book Mobile (oh, how times would change).
But, most notably, they didn’t seem like one of the hottest rock acts in the country — they seemed like kids, the kind you’d see skateboarding in the parking lot of 7-Eleven or hanging out around a Dumpster somewhere. They dodged most of our questions about “punk rock” and “selling out” (and, really, who could blame them?) and seemed most excited when showing our cameras around their bus (at one point, Dirnt jokes “Make sure you show the Genesis with the Fat Wreck Chords sticker on it!”).
It’s a pretty amazing bit of tape — a time capsule that looks back at a time that’s seemingly gone forever. And, in celebration of Green Day’s upcoming 21st Century Breakdown album , we decided to pull a bit of the interview for you to see. It’s Armstrong and Dirnt, stubbing out cigarettes, giving us a tour of their bus and introducing us to their driver (and so-called “spiritual adviser”) — who just so happens to be drummer Tré Cool’s dad.
So, before you look forward, have a look back, at the first time Green Day ever graced MTV’s cameras.