This is the fourth and final installment of our interview with Green Day. In part three, we talked to the band about their past goals, and the musical roots of each of the guys.
I have also included some things that were not part of the interview itself, or our recording. At the beginning of the transcription below, I knew our time was running out — and during the recording, we were packing up. I was throwing on my “Still Breathing” shirt, as I call it, for my photo with the band. But I just kept talking and asking questions the whole time to make the most of every second.
Billie: I mean, I just wrote it and asked him if he wanted to sing it. [laughs]
Mike: I think you need to sing to what the lyrics are calling for. I tend to sing ... like a little girl sometimes. [laughs]
J’net: Not in THAT song.
Mike: Yeah, but I was conscious that, 'This song isn't for singing like a little girl.' Or if it is, it's a little girl with attitude.
Billie: If you think about 'Outsider' by the Ramones, and how DeeDee sang the bridge to it, it just kind of makes more sense. It just kind of comes from the band. And what else? 'I Was There' – Mike sang the bridge on that.
J'net: Yeah. Well, you [Mike] sing that 'American Eulogy' like it was written just for you. Just made me wonder …
Mike: [Hamming it up] Why, thank you! A friend of mine wrote that just for me! … 'Hey Billie, I got an idea! We can go ahead and take five.'
J'net: So, I'm getting a sense that it's time for you [Tre] to have your pizza that you've never had before. Any last things you guys want to say to the readers of Green Day Authority?
Mike: Just that we appreciate them and that they should be good to each other and look out for one another online and offline. But, we appreciate the hell out of them, cause that's our community. They're fuckin' rad. We'll see [them] on tour.
Billie: I think for me as a musician, it's always important to be a fan first. Because I'm obviously a big fan of the people I like to listen to and stuff like that. So with that said, [we're] like-minded and kindred-spirits.
Tre: In the words of the wild stallions, 'Be excellent to each other!'"
Thus ended the interview proper, though there was more conversation, as I asked the guys to take a quick photo with me (the first time I've ever asked for a photo with any of them ... the wait was so worth it given how the photo turned out).
Then, touring sound engineer and photographer Chris Dugan reminded me that I had a t-shirt to show the band. It was from Jack Yates, Omaha-based editor extraordinaire for GDA, who has been taking all my scribblings and making them look beautiful on the site. His vintage shirt was from Green Day's first tour — the band had screen printed it by hand back in the day. He thought they might like to see it, and maybe even sign it for him (which they graciously did). Tre sarcastically joked that it was really only six months old. Mike laughed, and said he still has the original screen print stencil for that shirt.
Jack's signed 1989 tour shirt — Photo by Jack Yates
While the guys were signing Jack's shirt, I was throwing on my "Still Breathing" shirt, which you can see in the photo. The guys loved, it which prompted me to tell them that it's from the Woody Guthrie Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I'm from. Mike excitedly told me that his wife's family and Billie's whole family were also from Oklahoma.
This prompted Billie to tell a story, which really delighted me. The backstory is that he began to tell this tale at the Tulsa Green Day show back in March, but didn't make it all the way to the brilliant ending. We'd talked about this during the car trip there, and Billie just spontaneously answered our question!
Billie: 'Bruno! Bruno! Bruno Joe!'
Tre: [Laughs] 'Bruno Joe.'
Billie: And then they sent me all these hats, because they're the Pirates, so I got all these cool pirate hats."
Now, as they were still signing Jack's shirt, and I was still "primping" for my first ever Green Day photo, we had this hilarious conversation:
Mike: Misinterpreted, you mean?
J'net: No, like people hear them and they think you're saying something else!
Tre: Oh, that's funny!
J'net: Like, 'Gotta know the enemy … raw ham.'
Billie: Raw ham?
Tre: Raw ham.
J'net: And, 'Somebody take my pants, I think they're falling off … into a state of regression.'
Mike: [Singing] 'Somebody take my pants, I think they're falling off, into a state of regression.'
Billie: That's amazing. That's a good one.
J'net: And then, my son one day and said to me he hears, [singing ... YES, I sang in front of Green Day!] 'Dump truck! Color me stupid!'
Billie: Oh, dump truck! [laughs]
J'net: British people hear, 'I wore cologne, I wore cologne' [in 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'].
Billie: Oh, wow …
J'net: And in 'Welcome to Paradise' — 'Pay attention to the cracked streets and the broken gnomes.'
Tre: Scary. Scary. [Laughs]
Billie: Nice. I've heard that one before. I think I've seen a meme.
J'net: I just wondered if … because when a new song comes out, before the lyrics are published, we're all trying to figure out, "What are they saying? What are they saying?"
Billie: Next time we're just going to write them out different. They'll be like just totally different lyrics.
Tre: We'll do fucked up lyrics!
J'net: Oh yeah, right. That would be great.
Tre: We'll get like six-year-olds to say what they think the lyrics are, and then we'll have that be the lyrics.
J'net: That would be great! Or me, because my hearing is shot from so many Green Day shows!"
This was where our recording ended.
At some point during the discussion that continued un-recorded, I told the guys that this (the Omaha show) might be my last show for a while. I said, "A dear friend of mine has a ticket for me to the Rose Bowl show, but I don't know if I'll be able to afford to get there, so this could be it for a while."
After that, we prepared to take the photo, which Chris Dugan (the band's sound guy and photographer) kindly offered to take for us — so it wasn't a selfie, after all! Mike suggested that I sit in the chair, and they'd all stand around me. Of course, I can't even express how sweet this was.
J'net with the band — Photo by Chris Dugan
Then, because I'd been talking to superfan Fran Green in line that day, I said, "Do you know that girl Fran with long brown hair who's always right in the corner of the barricade?" (I motioned with my hands to show where Fran usually stands).
And here's how I remember that conversation going:
Mike: Which one is she?
Billie: She has a lip piercing.
Mike: Oh yeah! [smiling]
J'net: Well, today is her 50th show!
Billie: Her 50th really?
J'net: Yes, and she's travelling from the 1st through the 27th and not staying in any hotels — just sleeping on the street or in the car.
Billie and Mike: WOW.
Tre: Sounds like somebody needs a shower!"
Finally, my time with Green Day was coming to an end. I thanked them all, and they walked out.
Then, as I was about to leave the room, Tre came back with his wife Sara and introduced me to her. She is just as gorgeous and sweet as her online personality seems. We chatted for a few minutes. I told her we love her because of how happy she makes 'this guy' — I point at Tre. To say both their faces were beaming would be a terrible understatement. Just looking at how happy they are together made my heart melt. As they were leaving, Tre stuck his head back in the room and said, "See you at the Rose Bowl."
So now, I guess I'll have to find a way to make it to the Rose Bowl. Hope to see you all there!
After all this, I was walked out on to the arena floor and asked to choose my spot. I was just dumfounded with the entire barrier to choose from … don't we all wish that could somehow happen at every show?!?!
Later, after everyone came in, I couldn't see Fran in her usual spot, and I was just so disappointed, because I thought … knowing the band, they would probably do something special for her if she'd been there. Well, Billie managed to find her on the catwalk, wished her happy 50th and then started singing "Happy Birthday" to her! Hahaha! Tre also gave her an autographed drum head the next night in St. Louis, and I see that she got on stage before her tour was over. The guys are just the sweetest and love their fans so much!
Fran singing onstage with Green Day at the Darien Lake, NY show
Thanks to Chris Dugan, Jack Yates, Lauren Banjo, Daniel Newton, Omar De la Rosa, Corbett Redford, Bill Schneider, any of Green Day's management who had a part in the decision that enabled this interview to happen, the guys in Green Day for being so sweet and patient with me, and anyone who's had the patience to read this far.
A special thanks to Dawn Rosquist. If not for her, I would not have had a room in Omaha and probably wouldn't have gone. She got me a hotel room out of the exceptional sweetness of her heart, even though she wasn't able to go herself. Look what I would have missed!