By Hayden Wright
A Google search for “Green Day politics” is bound to turn up thousands of results from the George W. Bush era—regarding the band’s resistance to multiple foreign wars, objections to the president’s leadership, and American Idiot, the album-manifesto that contained it all. With their new album Revolution Radio due October 7, how do Green Day maintain their punk authority in matters of national significance? Billie Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone the process was organic—almost accidental.
Though many tracks were written before this presidential election, Armstrong said the songs became even more culturally charged as political divisions intensified.
“It was interesting to see how songs like ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Say Goodbye’ went from metaphor to literal, and that’s the part that was tripping me out,” he said. “It was almost, kind of like, predicting the future, in a way.”
For Armstrong, the match-up of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and its rapidly devolving political discourse is cause for concern 12 years after American Idiot.
“I can only go from my own personal life, but this is the most chaos I’ve ever seen in an election. It’s just so freaky,” he said. “I don’t want to add more of the outrage or anger. I’d just try to reflect it. This is the first time that this election has preyed on fear and anger. And I think with both of those, we’re sort of in this fight-or-flight mode. Everybody’s freaked out.”
Nevertheless, Armstrong recognizes that many Americans—including himself—are complicit in the current state of affairs.
“Neither side, nobody can rationalize with each other because everybody is stuck in fear and in anger, and there’s nothing in between,” he added. “In a nutshell, that is what the record reflects. But I’m trying to also look at myself as part of the problem.”