Green Day's Billie Joe 'freaked out' writing Bang Bang

Billie Joe Armstrong
Billie Joe Armstrong (Image credit: Getty)

Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong says writing from a gunman’s perspective on their single Bang Bang freaked him out.

The singer says their forthcoming album Revolution Radio reflects modern society and addresses issues such as mass shootings, political spin in the run-up to the presidential election and the rise of “narcissistic social media.”

The band have made the follow-up to 2012’s ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tre! available for pre-order.

Armstrong tells Rolling Stone: “Bang Bang is about the culture of mass shooting that happens in America mixed with narcissistic social media. There’s this sort of rage happening, but it’s also now being filmed and we all have ourselves under surveillance. To me, that is so twisted.

“To get into the brain of someone like that was freaky. It freaked me out. After I wrote it, all I wanted to do was get that out of my brain because it just freaked me out.

“I wouldn’t even say I was trying to understand it. I was just trying to figure out the character. I don’t know why someone would ever do something that horrific because I know I never would.”

He continues: “This is the most chaos I’ve ever seen in an election. 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.

“Neither side, nobody can rationalise with each other because everybody is stuck in fear and in anger, and there’s nothing in between. In a nutshell, that is what the record reflects.

“But I’m trying to also look at myself as part of the problem. I don’t want to add more of the outrage or anger. I’d just try try to reflect it.”

Revolution Radio artwork

Revolution Radio artwork

Green Day Radio Revolution tracklist

  1. Somewhere Now
  2. Bang Bang
  3. Revolution Radio
  4. Say Goodbye
  5. Outlaws
  6. Bouncing Off The Wall
  7. Still Breathing
  8. Youngblood
  9. Too Dumb To Die
  10. Troubled Times
  11. Forever Now
  12. Ordinary World

Thinking Out Loud: Billie Joe Armstrong

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.