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Billie Joe Armstrong ‘regrets nothing’ about helping make punk mainstream

BJA
(Image credit: Getty Images/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong says that he “regrets nothing” about his band’s role in pushing punk rock into the mainstream.

In a recent interview with vulture.com, when asked to nominate his favourite Green Day album, Armstrong selected the band’s second studio album, 1991’s Kerplunk.

“It’s kind of autobiographical,” he says of album. “We wrote that record when I was 18, 19 years old, and it was at a time before punk became mainstream. There’s something about it that feels like a fanzine. All of us were living together, living in bands together. It was a coming of age in a way. A song like Welcome to Paradise wasn’t just about teenage heartbreak anymore. It had a lot more to do with life slapping you in the face.”

The Californian trio’s follow-up to Kerplunk, their 1994 major label debut Dookie, was one of the albums (alongside The Offspring’s third album, Smash) which finally ‘broke’ punk rock into the mainstream, selling over 20 million copies worldwide. Asked if he had any regrets about ‘the mainstreaming of punk rock’, Armstrong says, “I don’t regret anything.”

“I think Green Day wanted to be independent from [everything],” he continues. “We wanted to do our own thing, just be green. We never really were like, “Okay, we’re going to become …” I never thought, We’re going to push punk into a new, different level. We’re going to represent all of punk. That was never what our mission was. We wanted to play music for the rest of our lives. We wanted to be Green Day in the same way The Who was The Who. I think the only things that I miss are the communal living, living in punk houses with friends and being around that sort of energy, because that’s what I really attribute to punk rock, culturally. Sometimes I feel like I maybe prematurely took myself out of that.”

Armstrong says he hopeful that Green Day’s Hella Mega tour will proceed this summer. Announced in 2019, the tour, on which Green Day will be joined by Fall Out Boy and Weezer, is set to begin on June 9 in Austria.

“Hopefully, if the world would open up, and everybody will be able to get into stadiums, we'd be able to get a big, giant barbecue fiesta of rock and roll music," he told Billboard