Billie Joe interview by Rolling Stone on writing/recording Dookie

Green Day before the release of Dookie
Green Day before the release of Dookie
Back in 1993 Green Day were trying to figure out how they'd bring their punk rock roots along with them as they recorded their third album, Dookie, and first album on the huge record label. Rolling Stone sat down with Billie Joe recently to look back on the 20th Anniversary for an upcoming article about the "road to Dookie", but for now they're releasing part of their interview with Billie Joe. He talks about the process going from a growing band on Lookout! Records to deciding to go with Rob Cavallo and Warner Brothers,

"This was a critical turn in your future. What were band meetings like? And how did you ultimately decide to go with Rob Cavallo and Reprise?

We were probably stoned. I gotta say that. We were always high [laughs]. It was this foggy process of elimination.

But we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do: "I'm playing my 'Blue' guitar [his first, serious instrument, a Stratocaster copy received as a Christmas present when he was 11 years old]. Mike is going to get the best bass sound. I want to use one amp. That's all we need." That's how we ended up making the record."

They go on to talk about the writing process of the album, what life was like for them as they began to record, the meaning behind songs like Coming Clean, and F.O.D., as well as some of the inspiration for the artwork. Here they are talking about the meaning behind Basket Case and what Billie Joe was thinking as he wrote it:

Billie Joe with Blue
Billie Joe with Blue
"But there is nothing silly in the lyrics to "Basket Case" [about Armstrong's panic attacks], "When I Come Around" [about his relationship with his future wife Adrienne], or "F.O.D." [a/k/a "Fuck Off and Die"]. They suggest the guy living the songs wasn't as happy as the one making the record.

I think so, starting from the opening line, "I declare I don't care no more" [in "Burnout"]. I was getting high a lot. It was a gloomy feeling. You're looking for someone to acknowledge your insanity. "F.O.D." was just about seeing a particular person and I'm gonna beat the shit out of them. I laugh about it now. But they were real feelings. Everything felt so crazy. When we were on an indie label, it felt comfortable. Now, in a lot of ways, I was feeling like I'd burned down my home.

"Basket Case" became this loser national anthem [laughs]. But to say it's about panic attacks is limiting. It's about going through total confusion. I think of a song like "American Idiot" as feeling, OK, there is a lot of chaos in the world, people getting murdered. There is no way to make sense of a world like that. You feel like a victim of it. "Basket Case" is the same way."

It's another great article by music journalist David Fricke, go read the interview over on

Thanks to FreakyIdiota for sending this news in