Green Day Gives The UK A Piece Of Their Mind. ATN Asks: Can They Spare It?

Green Day are still on their slash and burn tour of Scandinavia and Western

Europe until September 22, insulting and gobbing on our neighbors overseas,

as they sullenly promote their new album, Insomniac,

due out on October 10 . They

talked to that unflappable music publication NMEabout the

punking of America (a myth) and Pampers. (Billie Joe Armstrong and Tre Cool

have become fathers this past year and claim to share child-rearing tips.)

The band has recently been approached to perform on Sesame

Street--something they turned down because in their words, "we couldn't

handle a moshpit full of five-year-olds." They also have been approached to

do a Molson beer ad, but they were less genteel when they turned it down.

According to Armstrong they told Molson reps to "go fuck yourselves." They

are apparently very into

rejecting the mainstream culture--something they've been accused lately of

being a part of. They also purport not to be part of the punk rock

movement. "I don't even know what it means anymore," said Armstrong. "I'm

not bad-mouthing

them but Offspring are not a punk band, they're a rock band. Green

Day are not a punk rock band. There's no such thing as the

mainstreaming of punk rock--the whole idea is ridiculous. It seems like a lot

of people expect me to act like Mick Jagger now."

Although he's no Mick Jagger, Armstrong does admit that fame has changed him.

"Fame does change you," he said. "I'm a whole lot more neurotic than I've

ever been

before . I didn't even know what a panic attack was until last year...See

when you come into wealth and notoriety, there are certain problems you

don't have to worry about ever again. But there's also a whole set you

never dreamed you'd have to deal with. There's been so many times when I

thought I'd gone completely insane. I got to the point where I thought I

couldn't trust anybody."

Two of those people were Green Day managers, Eliot Cahn and Jeff Saltzman,

whom the band split from two months ago--four years before their contract

with the management company was due to expire. According to Armstrong, "We

were going in one direction, they were going in another. There's no legal

dispute (apparently the little legal paper Cahn and Saltzman filed with

Alameda County Superior Court on August 29 demanding nearly two hundred

thousand dollars in commissions in addition to twenty percent of all the

royalties from Dookie is no big deal). There was no big fall out.

They weren't trying to get us to do anything we didn't want to. It's just

that no one on this earth knows what's best for us better than we do."

As for the new album, Green Day doesn't anticipate

that it will do as well Dookie, which has sold over nine million

copies to date. Bassist Mike Dirnt

said, "We're hoping to scare a few people off with this. I swear to God I

wouldn't mind cutting it down to one quarter of the audience we have."

Armstrong echoes the sentiment. "I certainly don't expect this record to

sell even one quarter as much as Dookie and I'm not going to kill

myself

getting people to like it."

Insomniac has a more psychotic, suicidal edge according to

Armstrong. "It's bleak, the lyrics are depressing. There's a lot of reality.

Catch 22 reality." He claims that "No Pride" is anti-American tirade

against nationalism, while "Brat" is about kids waiting for their parents

to die, so they can inherit. "Walking Contradiction" is a thinly veiled

whine about the pressures of punk rock fame. It's apparently a

rather damaged sounding record, with "violins, slow songs, ..and a little

reggae."