In part two, we talked to the band about the early days at Gilman Street and the new movie, 'Turn it Around: The Story of East Bay Punk.'
J’net: Really? You haven’t had pizza yet?
[Everyone laughs — these guys are SO polite!]
Mike: Back then it was like, 'Can we get a show? Can we get into Gilman?' That’s a goal. It’s always like a series of goals – like 'Let’s get a tour.' 'Oh my gosh, what would it be like to play that one club there?' Maybe it’s a different town — or Europe! 'Let’s go to Europe and tour Europe!' There’s always another thing to be done. We just like to keep it exciting. Even live — even live, if we feel it's not exciting and not eventful or we're just going through the motions, we'll do something to change that because we like to stay in the moment, too. Life should be exciting.
Green Day in Omaha, 8-12-17 — Photo by Jack Yates
J’net: [to Tre] When you gave the drumsticks to that little kid last night (in Kansas City) …
Mike: I did that. But Tre does every night anyway. One of us will always do it."
Backstory: In Kansas City, there was a little girl on her dad’s shoulders throughout much of the show, although security tried multiple times to get him to put her down. At one point, Mike’s bass tech came into the security pit and leaned through to hand her a set of drumsticks.
J’net: Do you always know if somebody finds them?
Tre: Well, I put a hashtag on them and sometimes they'll go and put a picture with #TreCoolsHiddenSticks if they found them.
J'net: I would just want to know — if no one posted, did they get found? I would have to go back and see if they're still there. [laughs]
Tre: Somebody will find them. I'll tape them under the seats.
Mike: Eventually. Someone will find them — like at an Usher show. [laughs]
J'net: Or a hockey game.
J’net: I got to go to the Hall of Fame Induction and the House of Blues show. What a show! I was beating up on the people next to me, because every time something else exciting happened I was [grabbing people and shaking them], "Oh my God! Oh my God!" That was incredible. I want to ask how that felt, but I’m sure you all thought it felt incredible. But could you ever have dreamed that you would be there? And what gave you the idea to come out as Sweet Children, and have Tim [Armstrong of Rancid] come out and sing with y’all and … to celebrate it in that way?
Billie: I think it was all about 'bringing it all back home,' to quote Bob Dylan. It was like, 'Let’s make this as fun as possible.' Just have a great time and do everything you can … there’s so much tension with a lot of bands that have gone in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that you literally can’t get them to be on the same stage at the same time. And someone will stay home. And for us, it was the opposite of that. I’d rather seize the moment to remember how we got there. You start off when you’re a kid in a band, and it’s the most exciting thing in the world. And it’s so important to inspire people to understand that it IS the most exciting thing in the world.
Green Day in Omaha, 8-12-17 — Photo by Jack Yates
J’net: Do y’all listen to any kind of music that you think would surprise people to know that you liked it?
Mike: All kinds of music. I just like good songs. I don’t care if it’s country — or the other night Tre went out to a jazz club, and then Jason and I went out to the same jazz club after they’d left — the same jazz club, and we didn’t even know they went. And we saw an unbelievable band there in Kansas City.
Tre: I like German AND Italian opera.
J’net: Do you really? Seriously?
J’net: Oh ... but THAT would have surprised people.
Tre: No … just the German. [laughs]
J’net: Well, I’m the Italian fan, myself.
Tre: It’s all Greek to me! Greek music.
Billie: I’m kind of an audiophile. I like to go deep with finding obscure power-pop bands...
Tre: Billie makes the best playlists. And he’s the best DJ.
Billie: I just read this book called Never a Dull Moment ['Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded,' by David Hepworth] and it’s all about the music that happened in 1971, so I put together a playlist of all [that music]. I like getting into to doing my own … which is funny, because everybody's doing playlists and putting them on Spotify and stuff like that, and I do playlists and share them with my friends.
Mike: She's got to hook you up with about a million more friends to share it with.
Mike: Yeah, when we hit the playlist side of things, he’s ready.
Billie: Yeah, and it’s all kinds of different stuff, whether it's like Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt, to like ... Foghat and T-Rex. It’s fun to listen to. Especially back then, there was a certain amount of — people were uninhibited. If you listen to Marvin Gaye singing 'What’s Going On?,' there’s nothing self-conscious about songs like that and what was going on back then. I think nowadays, music is so much more visual or something. Some of the stuff from the past is just inspiring.
J’net: And you have lots of influences, I can hear them in your music. There are little bits that sound like country and little bits that sound like different genres. Did you get that from your family, or was it all around you, or what?
Billie: Well, it was all around me with my family — and I think when I was a kid I just always wanted to be the one to listen to something different. So, when kids were listening to Kool and the Gang’s 'Celebration,' I was listening to AC/DC and Van Halen, or trying to be the first in my high school to discover punk rock, and alternative stuff, too. Nobody in Rodeo had a clue who the Replacements and Hüsker Dü was. I was like the only punk kid in my high school. And John Swett [High School] was ... 400 people, 350 at the most.
Mike: Is that what it was? I thought it was a little more than that. That’s still a lot of people, though, when you think about it.
Billie: Yeah, there's 80 people in that graduating class.
Mike: And then there was this one kid in that high school [who was punk].
Billie: And half of them actually graduated. [Laughs]"