Green Day Hope Lady Gaga Survives Their Fiery VMA Performance

'If there's something that's flammable, and we're around it, we're probably going to light it on fire,' drummer Tre Cool laughs.

NEW YORK — Green Day don’t want to give away too much about their performance on Sunday night’s Video Music Awards, but there is one tidbit they will share with us: Expect fire.

“If there’s something that’s flammable, and we’re around it, we’re probably going to light it on fire,” drummer Tre Cool laughed.

“I just hope that Lady Gaga’s hair doesn’t catch on fire,” frontman Billie Joe Armstrong added.

So Gaga, beware: On Sunday, Green Day will be packing plenty of pyro. It’s gonna be a little bit dangerous, but for the guys in Green Day — who have performed at three previous VMAs — it’s just par for the course. They rocked through a snotty version of “Armitage Shanks” at the ’94 awards, appeared live via satellite in 1995 (a performance shot on “Spit Cam” after Armstrong encouraged fans to hock loogies on the cameras), then, in 2005, tore through “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” And that’s not even mentioning the time Cool decided to climb the Universal Studios globe at the ’98 awards. To them, the show has always been about taking risks and, if possible, setting things on fire.

“It’s always a good time. It’s kind of a melee,” bassist Mike Dirnt said. “You never know what’s going to happen. A little bit of good, a little bit of bad, a little bit of ugly.”

So on Sunday night, while they’re busy terrifying the NYC fire marshal, Green Day will also take a moment to look back on how far they’ve come. To them, the 2009 VMAs are as much about the past as they are the future.

“It’s interesting, because we’ve come full circle. I think the first time we did the VMAs, the stage rotated with the Beastie Boys,” Armstrong said. “And, you know, Michael Jackson, Lisa Marie, when they were married for a week, and he said, ‘They said this wouldn’t last.’ And we were like, ‘It’s only been a week.’ And then we did the one in L.A., and one in Miami and now we’re back here at Radio City, so, it’s cool.”

Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, live at 9 p.m. Check out our interactive map of New York to see how the city is celebrating the VMAs all week long, and stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.