It's Still Not Easy Being Green Day

Anyone want a chip? Honey? A Jennifer Aniston picture? Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

We should have known that there'd be trouble when NBC

booked Green Day, those irrepressible punk-types for the Jay Leno show on

February 22.

The first problem came when the scheduling folks at NBC told the trio that

they could only perform one song, and wouldn't be able to do both "Brain

Stew" and "Jaded." The band members balked and tried to convince the wigs that

they could do two songs in the time most bands play one. (This band didn't

model themselves after the Ramones for nothing.) No go. So for Plan B (for

brat) the Green Day tried to stretch out "Brain Stew," playing it really

sloooow during the rehearsal. The trouble with that was it made the f-word in

the lyrics become a little more, uh noticeable. So now NBC had a problem with

that "fuck."

The network gave them three choices. They could substitute

another word for "fuck" (like the Rolling Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show in

1967, when they sang "Let's Spend Some Time Together" in place of "Let's Spend

The Night Together"), they could try and distort it with feedback, or NBC could

"bleep" it. The rebels with a cause choose the latter, since it made them

appear the victims of a repressive media conglomerate--or so said an interested

bystander. "They had a choice what to do about the lyrics. No one forced them

to be bleeped," said our Deep Throat.

After this, the feisty trio were in

a rare mood. When they got back to their dressing room with wives, girlfriend,

and Ramona Cool (Tré Cool's infant daughter) in toe the first thing Billie Joe

did was string up their mascot, Ernie (of Bert and Ernie fame, who appears on

the back of Green Day's Dookie album) from the ceiling with a hangman's

noose. Mike Dirnt, Tré Cool, and Armstrong took turns whacking the innocent

doll with drum sticks like it was a birthday pinata. "You walked into the

dressing room and there was Ernie hanging from a noose," said one of our

sources. "It was really something."

Next they hit the food that NBC had

provided. According to a source who was there, they smeared honey on the light

fixtures (these are organic boys from Northern California), grinded potato

chips under their Air Walks, and generally placed food in places where it

doesn't belong. (No serious trashing done, however; the walls remained intact.)

One onlooker dryly commented that "they probably didn't do anything that they

don't do in their own homes."

When we called Reprise Records to see what

they had to say about this high profile food fight, the label first tried to

deny it, then explained that the group had simply "Green Day-ized" the dressing

room. "They didn't do anything different from what they do to every dressing

room on their tour," said a reluctant spokesperson who didn't want his name

used. "This one just happened to be at NBC."

Maybe this all really began

when Green Day found out that Friends mega-star Jennifer Aniston (and

former girlfriend of their Bay Area buddy, Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows)

had canceled her appearance on the show. In the spirit of the night, Tré Cool

made sure that a little, uh, piece of Aniston was on the show, taping her

current Rolling Stone cover, which shows her in the altogether, on his

bass drum. Now that's class. Oh yeah, we're told the group were able to exit

the premises before anyone at NBC knew what had happened.