“We are on the brink of an autocratic government, someone who is blatantly saying, If I’m president again, I’m going to be a dictator:” Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong fears for America's future

Billie Joe Armstrong
(Image credit: Kelly Lee Barrett/Getty Images)

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong has spoken about his fears for the direction American politics is taking, and warns that the prospect of an autocratic government in the US is “at our doorstep”.

Armstrong's band will release their 14th studio album 'SAVIORS' on Friday, June 19, and, in a new interview with Vulture, the 51-year-old vocalist/guitarist talks about how the album's first single, The American Dream Is Killing Me, released back in October last year, deals with the “overwhelming” anxieties that come with being “an over-stressed American”.

“Our politics are so divided and polarized right now,” says Armstrong. “We had an insurrection. We have homeless people in the street. We have so many issues, and they come onto your algorithm feed at such a pace. It just stresses you out, the anxiety of being an American and how it becomes so overwhelming.”

Reflecting on how his band's new record shares some of the DNA of 2004's American Idiot album, Armstrong notes, “I think it was easier to satirize George Bush because we didn’t have social media. It was before all the tech bros came in. Now you have these billionaires who would rather shoot a rocket into space than deal with the infrastructure we have here.”

Looking ahead, Armstrong admits that he is concerned by the current political landscape in America. 

“We are on the brink of an autocratic government, or someone who is blatantly saying 'If I’m president again, I’m going to be a dictator',” he says. “What’s that Maya Angelou quote? When people tell you who they are, believe them. [Actually, 'When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time'] It’s this exaggeration that became what can actually happen. It’s based on a cult of personality. America is not supposed to be about the cult of personality; we’re supposed to be about a group of people who are making laws that would make the American people’s lives easier and affordable. Getting good jobs, getting good health care, protecting people from corporations taking advantage of them. I feel like we are completely lost on that, the real American ideal.

“I listen to Dead Kennedys records today and Jello Biafra was a brilliant songwriter back then. California Über Alles, it’s now more like 'America Über Alles'. It’s real and it’s at our doorstep and we better do something about it.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.