In case you missed it today like I did, Billie Joe Armstrong was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. You can listen to the interview and read an article on NPR here.
From the NPR article, here are some highlights from the interview:
On Finding An Escape In A Small Town
“The first time that you escape from home or the small town that you live in — there’s a reason a small town is called a small town: It’s because not many people want to live there. So to try to get out and see something more — for me, I had a place called Gilman Street, it was a punk-rock club up in Berkeley, and I was just introduced to a lot of new ideas. I think that was my escape. And there was another moment in time where I felt empowered because I was getting another education that I wasn’t getting at home anymore, or from the schools that I had to go to. It was just this feeling of, ‘I’m out of prison.’ “
On Feeling Lost
“In every song I write, whether it’s a love song or a political song or a song about family, the one thing that I find is feeling lost and trying to find your way. I think “American Idiot” is a series of questions. I think “Holiday” is a series of questions. It’s like, you’re trying to battle your way out of your own ignorance … like, ‘I don’t want to be an American idiot. What I want to be, I’m not sure, but I just want more. And I’m willing to take the risk to try to get out of that.’”
On Getting Naked During Performances
“I used to do it a lot right after Dookie came out. I was arrested for it in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I did it at Madison Square Garden, ’cause I didn’t know if I was ever going to play Madison Square Garden again, so I said, well, there’s one way to remember this occasion — to be the guy who was naked on stage at Madison Square Garden. And then it came down to a point where everywhere we played, the cops started showing up and started saying, ‘If this guy gets naked on stage, he’s going to be arrested immediately.’ And sure enough, it happened eventually in Milwaukee.”