I probably should be writing about Green Day’s tour in South America, but I’m still digesting what’s happening down yonder. The end-of-the-tour shows have been massive celebrations (as BJ said recently in a Brazilian press conference, “this is not a parting, this is a fucking celebration”), as folks in Venezuela, Colombia and so far, two shows in Brazil, have seen crowds that are completely one with the band during the shows. I’ve been lucky over the last year to go to fourteen Green Day shows (plus one Pinhead Gunpowder and two Foxboro Hot Tubs gigs), but I have yet to see a live Green Day show like what I’ve seen via video from South America. In fact, Green Day tweeted out after Porto Alegre in Brazil that the show was in their “top 3 craziest shows” ever. Over a 22-year career like Green Day’s, I’m sure that’s a pretty tall order. Good on ya, Brazil. Keep knocking the boys out, tell ’em how much we love ’em.
Billie Joe Armstrong recently tweeted out a photo with the sentence, “I love this thing.” What was that thing? A beautiful Gibson Harmony Hollow Body guitar. While fans are talking about how his steady guitar “Blue” has recently changed since he has a lot of replicas of his original guitar (there is a marked difference in the Blues from the end of the North American tour and the start of the South American tour), I’ve been fascinated with Armstrong’s use of the hollow bodies. I don’t remember seeing him use this type of guitar during any of the shows that I was lucky enough to attend until the most recent Hartford, CT gig. My friend Jill and I talked about it, and we seem to be the only two out there doing so while everyone else focuses on “Blue.” I don’t blame them for that at all, but I can’t help but wonder if the future of Green Day’s musical direction lies in the hollow body sound, which offers a bit more controlled rawness and reminds me of a Foxboro sound. I am not going to pretend that I’m an expert in guitars because I’m not. I read somewhere on one of the forums exactly what kind of year and make this Gibson Harmony is, but I can’t find it now. If you have any info about the guitar or anything else regarding these types of guitars and Green Day, just shoot it in the comments, why don’t you?
I think that Jason White plays a hollow body on the tour and they use them in the studio, but like I said, I don’t remember Billie Joe using them onstage himself until the start of the second leg of the North American tour, where he played two of them, I believe the one that he tweeted about as well as a second one, pictured on the left from the Hartford show.
Below are two videos of BJ playing each one.
“Minority” Solo on Hollow Body – Green Day, Hartford, CT – YourBestShotMedia
“Minority” With Gibson Harmony Hollow Body at 2:15- Green Day, Porto Alegre, Brazil – rafazce
In a recent press conference interview in Venezuela, Green Day was asked a question regarding why they do side project work such as the Foxboro Hot Tubs. Billie Joe replied: “We just like to do different things, we like to change identities… to make things funner and more interesting, like the band, the Foxboro Hot Tubs… because you need a release from doing a project like 21st Century Breakdown. But what I would like to do in the future is to try to combine both, where Green Day is like… the big project, but also something that’s really fun and has that sorta-party-sorta atmosphere and that celebratory atmosphere at the same time.”
Since I heard Billie Joe say that in Venezuela, I’ve been trying to ponder out exactly what that means. I guess the bottom line is that we’ll know what when they tell us. I’m not sure if the Foxboro Hot Tubs album, Stop, Drop, and Roll used hollow bodies in its production, but these guitars certainly lend themselves well to that garage, celebratory sound, and I can’t help but wonder if a future Green Day album will sound like the Foxboro Hot Tubs or vice-versa. Both Mike Dirnt in a recent interview in Colombia and the above-mentioned Billie Joe interview in Venezuela, said that the band already has a bunch of songs written for a potential new album. Whether that’s both a new Green Day and a new Foxboro album, who knows? After American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, both massive albums with a concept-focus, and the raw plunk of the Foxboro Hot Tubs’ Stop, Drop, and Roll, the only thing I know is that I’m fascinated by the future sound paths of both Green Day and the Foxboro Hot Tubs, whatever those futures hold.
For more information on Gibson’s Hollow Body guitars, here’s some links of interest:
Vintage Guitars – This is a great site that has a wide selection of Gibson guitars profiled, plus old catalogs archived.