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Green Day: “We Love the Who and Cheap Trick”


Green Day’s sound may have been born in the Bay Area punk nexus of Gilman Street, but the band’s new album, 21st Century Breakdown, is more Who-style operatic rock than Sex Pistols sneer. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong explains the trio’s new direction:

“We just wanted to evolve naturally,” he told “There was no decision like, ‘This is how we’re gonna sound.’ But for this it was like, ‘Let’s keep moving forward and see where the music takes us.’ I love a lot of British invasion. I love the Who and Cheap Trick and the Ramones. And it’s like trying to take that power-pop or that pop-punk or whatever you want to call it, and stretching it into places that are further than we’ve ever gone.”

21st Century Breakdown, out May 15, is without a doubt the band’s largest departure yet. It vastly expands on the apocalyptic, government-dissing lyrics and arena-filling first hinted at with 2004’s blockbuster American Idiot. Check out our album review here. But according to drummer Tre Cool, Breakdown‘s sound came to fruition by chance.

“After we came back from tour, we started fooling around with ideas…” Cool said. “So we got some drum heads and we put a nail in the wall, and we wrote sort of a pie graph thing, of different eras and genres on there, and we’d spin it, and it would say like, ‘Death Metal, ’60s Garage Psychedelic’ or whatever, and then we’d be forced to go in and write something with that… that’s how it all started.”

So what’s the next sound for Green Day? They’re not sure, just yet, but Armstrong’s confident of at least one thing: “We were a slacker band back in the day, we didn’t care about anything, but you keep evolving, you know? And I think we’re capable of doing anything.”