Category Archives: Billie Joe Armstrong

“But I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive like suicide…” Original Goodnight New York Lyrics

BJA "Goodnight New York" Lyrics Owned by Mary Rosenblatt

Back in late September-October 2010 when Billie Joe Armstrong first performed in American Idiot for a week on Broadway, he ended his run on October 3. That night he penned a little song and sang it to New York City before the Good Riddance encore. No one knew then, not even him, that he was going to come back for two months in 2011 to star in the show as St. Jimmy. I went to a lot of the shows that week for fear of never seeing him perform again in the show. Hearing him sing this little song live was one of those bittersweet moments that you only get once or so in a lifetime. Sweet because it was a love song to my city of New York and the amazing experience of the theater, and bitter because all fleeting moments of pure happiness are like that in the end.

The song was called, Goodnight New York.

“I left my blood like bullets over broadway… the fire of the footlights at the St. James… with broken in legs and roses over New York… these goodnight songs of long lost love and war… But I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive like suicide… So goodnight, goodnight, New York.”

The tune possessed a strain of both joy and melancholy that cut right through my heart. Sometimes when I’m really down in New York (as has been the case a lot this winter, particularly since the holiday season started), I repeat in my mind the lyrical refrain, “But I’m alive… I’m alive… I’m alive like suicide… .” I grab onto it like a lifeline so that I hold on and hold out for yet another winter of being alive. Winter is my least favorite season and I get all kinds of down throughout it. The lyric has helped me to fiercely remember the actual joy of life and encourages me to grab onto every bit of it through the tough times, as well as the good ones, that I can.

The lyric itself is a bit of a puzzle and has an odd dichotomy. How can anyone be alive or find life through suicide? What is the nature of that state of being? Is it a metaphorical case of leaving one facet of your life behind and steadfastly screaming out in amazement at the very fact of being alive, or finding life through ending it? No, certainly not the latter example. He sang, “I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive” so emphatically that it cancels out all thoughts of a real suicide. “Alive” sounds like one of those screams of urgency to “rally out the demons of your soul,” not to give up, certainly. It’s a problematic lyric, much like a Japanese koan puzzle or a quote by the Iranian/Persian poet and mystic, Rumi. We all know how much Billie Joe hearts Rumi.

Back to that night in October: Mary Rosenblatt was sitting at the very front of the St. James in Row AA. Mary brought with her a single red rose to give to Billie Joe. After the encore, she gave him the single rose and he ended up giving her the lyrics.

I know Mary from here and there. I saw her and asked if I could take photos of the lyrics, one of which I put up on Plixi that night. Mary was so happy and shocked, and a little dazed at the same time! What a wealth of emotions and memories that one little sheet of torn-off legal paper can give to one person, let alone to people all over the world.

BJA Lyrics with American Idiot Pic - Photo by Mary Rosenblatt - Click to view

I’m an archivist, someone who takes care of the correspondence, photos, audio and video of people and institutions. I’ve held numerous kinds of documents in my hands, from the American Revolution and the Civil War, from famous activists, presidents, and performers. When I briefly held Billie Joe’s lyrics in my hands, the only thing I thought was how, in an instant, one piece of slightly torn paper with scribbles on it can go from the mundane to something that is worth framing and keeping safe for Mary’s lifetime and beyond. This one piece of paper, with scratched out words and chords, is one of those pieces of paper.

After the show, I sent Mary some special archival polyester sheets and an acid-free folder to keep the lyrics safe and free from damage until she could get the sheet properly framed, which she recently did. The framed lyric sheet is now somewhere on her wall, a wonderful piece of instant history. I can see it one day being exhibited in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Goodnight, New York Snapshot of Mary's Lyrics Taken by GDM After the Show

Goodnight, New York Snapshot of Mary's Lyrics Taken by GDM After the Show

Full video of “Good Night, New York,” sung by Billie Joe Armstrong on October 3, 2010, shown giving Mary the lyrics. Watch for the funny moment with him giving the guitar away, too. It had a transponder in it, and there was a slight hullabaloo when the person who got it wanted to keep the guitar, but the stage hands had to take the transponder out first. She did get the guitar (or one similar to it) at the end of the night.

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Insomniac is 15!, 10/10/10 – Director Terence Malick’s Thin Red Line – Billie Chavez on a Llama Looking for International Fans Who Couldn’t Make It to South America

First of all, Happy 15th Anniversary, to Insomniac!

As you may all know, I bought my first Green Day album in 2005, American Idiot. It wasn’t until 2009 when I became a bit… uh… focused on Green Day… did I buy the remainder of their music catalog, so all of the music that I missed from Back in the Day is really fresh to me. Yea, yea, I’m a noob, sue me. For me, Insomniac (as well as Nimrod) has some of the hardest-hitting, “I hate me and everyone else, too” songs from Green Day, mean, furious, frustrated, from “86,” to “Jaded,” to “Armatage Shanks,” and of course, “Walking Contradiction,” “Brat” and ” Geek Stink Breath” and the seriously neglected, “Panic Song.” Ah, when I’m in a mood for destruction, Insomniac is the one for me.

I read a curious story the other day about the reclusive director, Terence Malick. According to an article in Slate on the film’s upcoming re-release, Malick, while editing the 1998 film, The Thin Red Line, completed the entire process for the film with the film’s sound OFF and listening to an unspecified Green Day album. Presumably, loud. Since the film came out in 1998, the album Malick listened to could very well have been 1997’s Nimrod, but, I can picture him listening to 1995’s Insomniac as well. The film is about young American World War II soldiers facing their biggest fear, heading straight into a sure death in order to secure the Pacific island of Guadalcanal from the Japanese. Here are two articles about the movie, the one from Slate, as well as a commentary from the blog, Death and Taxes, that talks specifically about what Green Day album Malick could have listened to while editing The Thin Red Line.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, general silliness, I like that I discovered Green Day fully after they (and me) matured a bit, because they still like to act the stupid, and I think it’s a great way to live your life.

I mean, how many really fucking happy and bigger-than-life celebrity folks on the Twitter actually upload photos of themselves in Fatbooth? Or, who would dare get on a llama, a short llama… as a short… person… and take the picture below? Uh… yea, that guy, Billie Joe Armstrong. He’s head Idiot, with a capital I, for sure.

Short Dude on a Llama Somewhere in Colombia - Photo presumably by Chris Dugan

The photo, tweeted out last night sometime after their arrival in Colombia, came before Billie Joe tweeted that the Minnesota Twins would win over the New York Yankees in the Playoff Series Game. Well, that was a bit of Lushie Wishfulthinking cause of course, the Yankees won over the Twins. The Yankees go on toward yet another possible World Series win. Blech. Baseball isn’t even fun anymore when the same damned team wins all the time.

Anyhoo, here are the series of Tweets from yesterday, great for a chuckle.

GreenDay Green Day
GreenDay Green Day
Twins will beat the yanks! My prediction!
GreenDay Green Day
Oh well.. Thanks to Jeter for the seats a couple years ago!! Hahaha. Oh shut up! Its only a game

St. Billie - T-shirt Silkscreen by Luanne Iwan

These tweets came the day after Billie tweeted that he was in Venezuela watching the government channel, En Vivo Television and that country’s leader (a man reviled and loved in that country and the world, with a lean toward reviled), Hugo Chavez, was talking with kids on the teevee. Billie mentioned that Chavez looked like his dad, Andy Armstrong, and then he called himself, “Billie Chavez.” Boy oh boy, did that cause a storm of replies back at him about Chavez, which may have prompted Billie’s later Tweet about the baseball game, “Oh shut up. It’s just a game”… which could easily be translated to, “Oh shut up, it’s just a joke” about Chavez and his dad. I’ve only seen one picture of Billie’s dad, and frankly, he does look a bit like Chavez. Billie likes to name himself different things in his Tweets… such as Billie Jonas and St. Jimmy. He’s got a new nickname these days, too, from fans. “St. Billie.”

I had a vivid picture in my mind when I first saw the Plizi photo, at first of Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, a parody of the Nazi era. Chaplin is mistaken for the rule of Tomania, and hilarity, with an ending serious message, ensues. Of course, Billie Joe would never be an evil dictator, but I can see Billie Joe as the leader of his own little liberal Greenmania, somewhere deep in the Rain Forest, where that million-person sex party he tweeted about a few weeks ago should take place. I’m just saying. It would be an awesome venue for it, lol.

Anyhoo, then another thought came up, sparked by a conversation on (evil) Facebook about the photo:

ANNE: hahhaa….he is lookin for us…..not used to us not being around him……….WHERE OH WHERE ARE MY FAN FREAKS??? HA HAA
#
GDM: ‎”Where are you? Our fans from far away? From Australia? Europe? East Coast? West Coast! These fans are new and awfully cute, but I can’t find you!” lol.
#
GDM: ‎”I shall take my llama and ride it upon this land of South America until I find you!”
#
GDM: Oh man, I’m gonna have to blog that, Anne. :)
#
BM: haha, love it Anne & GDM! :)
he’s soooo ‘green’.
how i’d love to be below the equator with them.
#
GDM: Yep. Oh well.
#
ANNE: We could all take my jet, that is parked in my garage…..no one else can see it but me though……I don’t get that……xxxoo
#
J. EIGHTY-SIX: This pic is so awesome. Is there a story to go with it, or is it just a question of when in Rome…?! Either way the llama looks proud to have Billie on its back.
#
GDM: Rome. Billie. Lllama. When. And yes, he does, lol! Ha, man, they are just having the time of their life. I hope that we see some ones of Mike and Tre, that would be awesome! Maybe in a rainforest or something. Ha.
#
J. EIGHTY-SIX: ‎…with monkeys….
#
GG: ~ LOL ~
#
BW: who doesn’t want billie on their back? just saying
#
J. EIGHTY-SIX: Haha, this is very true BW…

Ground Llama with Green Day - Fun with Photoshop by Fabionei

Yes, that’s what he’s doing, in our minds… looking for us fans from Australia, Europe, South Africa, the Far East, the West Coast, the East Coast and Middle America who didn’t get to head down to the wonderful (despite all the problems many of the countries have) places in South America to party with the boys. I’m sure there are many lovely new fans down that way who you will meet, hungry after a ten-year absence to have God’s favorite band, Green Day, perform with them. Though cheer up, leader of Greenmania, Billie Chavez! I hear there are more than a few folks heading down to Costa Rica to meet new fan friends from Central America and party hardy with you, too. In the meantime… going to Pasa-llama, indeed. I think we all need to hitch a ride on “Ground Llama” as well as the new (fake) Green Day airline enterprise jokingly dubbed by photographer, Michelle Lawlor, as “Idiot Air” and get on down to Pasa-llama, stat!

Going to Pasa-llama! - Signature by @StickIt2daMan (Twitter) - Logan Kimber


Happy Anniversary American Idiot and Billie Joe Armstrong at AI Idiot University

First of all, Happy 6th Anniversary today, American Idiot! The album was released on 9/20-9/21/04 in the UK and US, so take some time to revisit the album and say, happy anniversary to it!

Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Mayer, and some cast and crew of American Idiot on Broadway held a series of “talkbacks” last week at the St. James Theater, moderated by David Cote of Time Out New York, after the show happened from 9/14-9/19. I was lucky enough to attend three performances of the show (thank you Jenne and David! much love to you!) and all five talkbacks (two of which I…uh… just walked in on), and I have to say, it was a special and wonderful time to not only see Billie Joe talk about the show, but to hear great discussions regarding the creative processes of the show itself.

My blog was mentioned at the talkback! Woot! David Cote referred to my interview of Afghan war vet and hardcore Green Day fan, Dawn71, using it as a basis to relate how the show of American Idiot (see video below at 1:01-2:32) reflects real life in terms of war and the impact that it has on life. In the clip below when Green Day Mind is mentioned, Billie Joe kind of shrugs and laughs, saying that “He had never heard of the blog,” but it was pretty amazing for me to sit in the audience and have David refer to the blog in a very serious manner. My blog is kind of strange — a personal journey of sight, sound, performance and life — all from the viewpoint of this past year following Green Day. I’ve put a lot of work and love and rage and time into this crazy blogging project, and though it was a bit strange to have him chuckle at first, it was awesome to hear one of my more serious blog posts used to highlight one of the serious themes of American Idiot. Dawn71 was hella happy to know that her love for the band and a story of her life was mentioned as well. Watch the video below to see!

David Cote mentions “Green Day Mind” at American Idiot Talkback (1:01-2:32)- American Idiot on Broadway — 9/15/10 — sundaymorning6am

The talkbacks themselves, minus the impromptu audience questions, were pretty awesome. I heard some things about the creative process of the show, particularly from the designers, that I had never heard before, and it was pretty great to have the mix of actors come into the talks to discuss the show from their viewpoint. It was all about Billie Joe, though, who was at the center of the maelstrom, and as the week of talkbacks wore on, questions from the audience stopped being serious ones asked about the show, but devolved more into, “can you sing ‘happy birthday’ to my daughter, ‘can I have a hug,’ and ‘can I give you something, Billie Joe?'” It was cool, though. Most folks never get the chance to meet Billie Joe in person, and hey, if you have the opportunity, you have to go for it!

Though American Idiot itself is more of a personal journey and not necessarily a political one (I’ve always looked at it politically moreso than personally, but the album itself is as much personal as anything else), I have to say, that the album literally dragged me through the latter years of the Bush Administration. I truly don’t know what I would have done without it. Thank you, Green Day, for being one of the few bands of the day that dared to speak out against what Billie Joe referred to at one point as the “regime of the Bush administration.” Billie Joe refers to the time of the album being written and the political and social happenings of those dark days after 9/11, below:

Billie Joe, John Gallagher, Jr. Talks About the Depiction of War in American Idiot on Broadway and the Response of War at the Release of the album, American Idiot– bwaddel996

All in all, it was a great time spent with Billie Joe and the people involved in the musical. I was very happy that I had the opportunity to witness the talks. I also went to see John Gallagher, Jr. perform at Rockwood Music Hall on 9/19, and he’s such a nice guy that he talked with a bunch of us crazy fans after the show. He really is a sweet kid! My friend Michelle, of Lucky17 Photography, took a bunch of great pictures at both the final talkback and at John’s show, and when she posts them on her blog, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, I have a few blurry photographs that I took, but a couple of them I just absolutely adore.

Billie Joe with PBR Cans for Autographs - Photo by Green Day Mind

I have never asked the band to sign anything — I sorta hate getting autographs — and the only two pictures I have of me with members of the band were taken by other people (Billie Joe and Mike Dirnt, which was actually taken by Dirnt himself without me asking, good times!), but I just felt that I had to get at least one thing signed, so I did… a new variation of “AWESOME AS FUCK” that Abbey (who Billie Joe tweeted at that he loved, lol, good for Abbey!) came up with, “IDIOT AS FUCK.” Thanks, Billie Joe! UPDATE: Abbey asked Billie Joe and Michael Mayer a pretty long and intense question at the talkback, and I loved the answers given by both men regarding the show. See the video below:

Idiot as Fuck Signed by BJA

Abbey Fox (aka abbie) Asks Billie Joe and Michael Mayer a Question — Whiting1ful

All in all, these talkbacks, combined with Billie Joe and Michael Mayer interviewed by Jordan Roth of the Jujamcyn Theaters at the 92StY on 9/19, were… how shall I say… awesome as fuck, and at times, Idiot as fuck as well. Thank you, American Idiot for the good times! Billie Joe left New York on Monday, to head back to the Bay. Have a great vacay before you head off to South America, and say hello to Mike and Tre for us! I missed them.


Who Was That Blond Fellow at Green Day’s Holmdel Show? – Supla of Brothers of Brazil Interview with Billie Joe Armstrong

Davey Havok of AFI Sings for a Spell with Supla (in white) of Brothers From Brazil and Anna, Who Sat in the Wrong Seat and Got an Awesome Moment Because of It - Photo by Lauren Banjo

Mystery solved!

In a recent “Highlights From The Breakdown” post, I wrote about Green Day performing “Scattered” into Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” at Mansfield. I mentioned that a tall, white-blond fellow in a white denim jacket and pants had been mistaken for Billy Idol at the previous night’s Holmdel show. Billy Idol was playing in Los Angeles at the time.

The mystery behind this fellow in the white denim outfit has been solved by the administrator of Brazil’s Green Day Fan site, Marie_GD of Green Day, Inc.

Supla Doll - Courtesy of Marie_GD of Green Day, Inc (Brasil)

Turns out that his name is Supla and he is a Brazilian musician from a band that he has with his brother called Brothers of Brazil [MYSPACE here.] They also have a television show called “Brothers TV!” and they interview folks. He was able to interview Billie Joe backstage at the Holmdel show. You’ll also see Bob Gruen duck his head into a frame, which means that there are fantastic photographs of Holmdel coming our way from Gruen, too! It’s a crazy and fun little clip, and if it’s any indication of Green Day’s upcoming appearance on the last leg of this tour in Brazil, the band and the Brazilian fans are in for a hell of a fun time!

Supla gave Billie Joe a Supla doll, which Marie_GD kindly posted a photograph of on the Green Day Community. The link to the interview can be found on either Green Day, Inc. by clicking this link: Supla entrevista Billie Joe em New Jersey! or you can watch the video at Brothers TV! as well. [LINK HERE.]

Green Day hits the largest country in South America on the following dates. Oh how I wish I could go and write about the South American leg of the tour. Sigh. Have fun for those of you who are attending!

10-13 Porto Alegre, Brazil Ticket Info
10-15 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Ticket Info
10-17 Brasilia, Brazil Ticket Info
10-20 São Paulo, Brazil Ticket Info

Aussie Fans Invade Europe for Green Day Tour – Pictures by Kerry Harris

The Aussies are Here! Kerry Harris and Mates Travel to Europe for a Bazillion Green Day Shows - June 2010

A marvelous gang of dedicated Australian fans who attended almost all of the shows that Green Day performed in Australia last year, decided to take a huge road trip for the second leg of the European tour. I don’t know how many shows that they went to in the United Kingdom and Europe, but I do know that they had fun!

The gang was led by Kerry Harris who also created some excellent paintings of the band that I highlighted here last year. Kerry is also a photographer and took some beautiful and fun shots during the tour, including probably one of the prettiest shots of Billie Joe that I have ever seen. I asked her if I could post some of her photos. They show a lot of the onstage antics of the band and captures one fan’s viewpoint of many different shows.

Prettiest of Them All - Billie Joe Armstrong - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Here’s a selection of photographs taken by Kerry:

Joan Jett - Photo by Kerry Harris

Dirty Pink Bunny - Photo by Kerry Harris

Jason White is a Pirate - Photo by Kerry Harris

Kiss Me Quick! - Tre and Billie Joe - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

We're Looking at You, Mike! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Mike is Cool - Europe June 2010- Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre in Shorts, It's Hot in Europe! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre Sees YOU! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Billie Joe's Got a Gun! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Billie Joe's Got a Hat! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Billie Joe Armstrong - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre in Mid-Air - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris


Billie Joe Armstrong Interview from NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross

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:

Interview Highlights

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.”


Two Nights of Fuck Time with the Foxboro Hot Tubs in New York City, Night One

Read about Night Two here

*This has turned into a monster post. I need an editor! But hey, it is a Breakdown DIARY after all.*

Foxboro Hot Tubs at the Bowery Electric. Photo by Jen Maler.

Sometimes I wonder what people think when I tell them that I blog about Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown tour as a hobby. Here I am, a professional, grown person who happens to love punk (or pop punk or whatever) and the mayhem that comes with it, from dancing wildly to the great majority of political and social pontificating that goes on with it. I’m not a wild child but I do possess a certain idea that life is meant to be lived to the fullest and danced to the wildest. Sometimes the energy of life gets so stuck inside my soul and my head and my body that what I need is to let the primal spirits have their way with me. To me, it’s like going to Church… the Church of Lushotology.

A few weeks ago I was blessed, because I’m not cursed, to have had one of the most amazing times of my life, and I’ve had some pretty amazing moments on this planet. This post is about attending Church with the Reverend Strychnine Twitch and the Foxboro Hot Tubs.

In the Beginning

Green Day… uh… Foxboro Hot Tubs fans had a feeling that something spectacular and special was going to happen around the opening week of Green Day’s new musical, American Idiot on Broadway. Opening night, Tuesday, April 20, 2010, which I attended (you can read about that and other shows I attended here), was a star-studded event with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump, Michael J. Fox and others. The only people I wanted to see were the members of Green Day and the cast of American Idiot and my fellow Green Day fans, but after the show, I walked by the bar, and my bag poked Ed Norton in the rear end! That, I must say, was quite exciting as Norton looks pretty good, and I was looking pretty good, too. We exchanged looks, I apologized for my bag, and while he kept looking, I walked away. But, I digress.

On Friday, 4/16/10, four days before the official opening of American Idiot, Green Day’s Twitter blurted out the following message, which sent scores of people in the know into… well… a twitter. The simple message from the band was:

Ladys and germs!The tubbies are officially in nyc! Ready to stop drop and bukak! Oooh! Baby girl! Stay tuned for a big bash soon? STING

Was NYC ready? Does a bear poop in the woods? I do believe the answer to both questions is yes! The playful hide and seek between the Foxies and their audience was on. We were waiting with baited breath to hear from the Tubbies themselves about the show, and willing to wait (mostly) patiently for news of when and where the show would take place. The Rev himself pretty much told us where in a radio interview anyway (the Bowery Electric). The playfulness of the moment was diminished somewhat by a well-meaning, but probably unknowing of the playful interaction between FBHT and its audience, DJ. DJ Rich Russo, from 101.9 RXP tweeted out the fact that he knew information that everyone wanted to know about the show. He had been chosen to announce the event on his (fantastic) radio show, Anything, Anything. People followed him on Facebook and Twitter and after 12 hours of taunting (“Which borough will the show take place? Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, New Jersey?” “Will the opening band be a local band?” “Does the Staten Island Ferry run 24 hours; is there maintenance on the L train this weekend?”), some folks (yes, I’ll admit it, like me), got annoyed. It stopped being fun and funny. I mean, the show would be announced and happen when it happened and Green Day fans can be a tad frenzied at times. Sadly, I lost my temper and finally tweeted out to him to stop causing a frenzy, there was frenzy enough! I think that FBHT might have read posts at the Green Day Community about the overall annoyance, because the next thing everyone knew (and was surprised at), Greenday.com announced the venue as the Bowery Electric on the official website. Though, with Greenday.com, who knows if they did it on purpose or by mistake? It can be like that with them, sometimes. However, DJ Rich Russo, I will buy you a drink one day. Just name the time and place!

So, that “secret” was out of the bag and at first 120 tickets were announced as available for the Bowery Electric, a minuscule amount compared to the hundreds of people who would want to see the Tubbies. There was a good reason for that, which I’ll explain on Night 2 of a separate post.

Friday Show – Foxboro Hot Tubs Party! Party! Party! with Honah Lee and the Mystic Knights of the Cobra – Don Hill’s – 4/23/10

Surfing with the Rev, Don Hill's, 4/23/10. Photo by XGeneralsX.

I met some of the Mystic Knights of the Cobra at Toot’s Bar in Crockett, CA (where a few of them bartend) on an adventure back in September 2009 when I traveled to California to see the working run of American Idiot at the Berkeley Rep. I saw the band perform for the first time at the Uptown in Oakland on February 16, 2010 when I traveled again to Berkeley to see Pinhead Gunpowder in action at 924 Gilman. So, when it was announced that they were touring the NY/NJ area with Trenton-based band, Honah Lee on the Party! Party! Party! Tour, I was hella excited and offered to help them from the East Coast in any way that I could. MKOTC had toured with the Hot Tubs in 2008, so there was hope that they would join them on one of their New York tour stops. I was not privy to information on whether the Foxboro Hot Tubs would perform with the Cobras on one of their stops in the two States (though I heard “maybes”), but I was hoping that something fantastic would happen. To everyone’s great delight, it eventually did. At that time, though, the Foxies had only announced that they were playing the Bowery Electric on Sunday, so everyone figured that that was it for New York City. Hope is a crazy thing, though.

Party! Party! Party! with the Mystic Knights of the Cobra and Honah Lee

The Party! Party! Party! Tour began at Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan and moved on to Asbury Lanes in NJ for a show on Thursday 4/22. At 2:09PM while the Party!… Tour was in transit to Jersey, Green Day’s Twitter posted the following message: “Dear baby girlz, foxboro hot tubs will be playin with the cobras at Don Hills nyc! Friday april 23!Be there sluts!! Sting!! – the rev” It was on. Needless to say, panic and pleasure ensued for everyone.

There was no guarantee that I would get into the the show. I’m nobody, a friendly (but rockin’ fun) hanger-on with benefits. I had already taken Friday 4/23 off from work for something else, so when Don Hill’s announced that the lineup would start at 4:00, I asked people who were already lining up by 6:ooAM the day of the show what was going on. Yes, you read that right, 6:00AM. (Never trust a venue when they give a time for a show line to begin.) I did what I had to do that day and headed over to the venue to lineup. Green Day fans formed their own government and gave out numbers for people who were in line (and some Universal Street Team showed up later on), while Don Hill’s quietly began selling tickets. I think I got number 23 this day (I got number 60 of ultimately 100 first tickets on Sunday), and we were contacting people coming in for the show from England (Tony) and Virginia (Abbey) on how the line was progressing. Tony unfortunately missed his Heathrow flight (he was crazy to even attempt it in the first place, but GD fans are focused) and Abbey made it in plenty of time. I don’t think the show sold out, so anybody who wanted to come could have.

Memories of Party Mayhem

I went for a bite to eat at the Ear Inn and then to a Starbucks to recharge my dying iPhone for the night. I got back to Don Hill’s around 2:00 or so and MKOTC and Honah Lee arrived in the city about the same time after playing at Asbury Lanes and staying in a crazy (and possibly haunted) hotel in Asbury Park. They were nervous and wrecked, but really excited. I was sad that I had missed the show and the Party! antics in Jersey, but I attended the 4/22 showing of American Idiot where Green Day performed as the encore, so it was all good. I helped Honah Lee and MKOTC load in. From this point on, I’m a little unsure of time since time (Fuck Time, maybe?) became a bit jumbled once I got inside of Don Hill’s, but I think around 4:00, the Foxboro Hot Tubs were soundchecking. And I was just… hanging out in Don Hill’s and helping with stuff and watching. I don’t remember what songs they did and I took one blurry photograph, just to keep for my memory’s sake (sorry, Billie Joe) to remember that I was actually at this intimate soundcheck.

Soundcheck

I think they did “A Quick One” and maybe “Stop, Drop and Roll.” I was tired and dazed and being as nonchalant as possible. At the end of the soundcheck, some greasy, long-haired dude with the venue came over and screamed at me, asking what I was doing, yelling, “this is a place of business, not a rest stop.” I told him I was with the Party! Tour but he didn’t care, so I walked toward the door and started talking with someone and just stayed inside. Whatever.

The FBHT soundcheck was over and it was time for MKOTC and then Honah Lee to start theirs. Tre had a bicycle and he and his girl rode off. Other members of the band did something or another, and some of their crew went downstairs or outside. The venue wanted to clear everyone out who wasn’t soundchecking, so outside we went. Plus, the other 1/2 of the Party! Tour had made it to the venue (this was around 6:00, I think), so we just hung out. We needed regrouping and cigarettes anyway. Michelle (a fabulous up-and-coming rock-n-roll photographer and girlfriend of Jim of Honah Lee) gave me a Party! Party! Party! Tour All Access Pass that she made for the crew (thank you, Michelle!) and I talked with GDC buddies in line including Abbey, ToniAnn, Chickenman, David, Fallyn, J’net, Cheryl, Jaime, Andres and others, and we all generally paced for the next 35 minutes or so. And smoked a lot of cigarettes. I got a bit of the lowdown on Asbury, particularly the hotel, and I could only chuckle at the strange night in a place straight out of The Shining. We were let back into the venue first, collecting our wristbands, and less than  a 1/2 hour after this (time, again, was a bit fucked at this point), the first of the line entered.

"I Hate My Job"

Tim and Tony

Jim and Tony

Honah Lee went on first and played a 1/2 hour or so set. I love Honah Lee and their “nerd punk” sound, particularly their single, “I Hate My Job” and “Sobered, So Bored!” Tim, Jim, Dim, and Tony are very fun and earnest and have a good stage presence. They got a bit overlooked during the night as I don’t think they were on FBHT’s radar. Later in the night as The Reverend was thanking MKOTC for the show, FBHT crew who were in the booth yelled out, “and HONAH LEE,” but Billie Joe couldn’t hear a thing. For most folks in the audience, it was their first exposure to Honah Lee but I’m sure that they are a band to keep on your radar for the future. (Their CD isn’t for sale online at the moment. You can listen to them at their MySpace page, buy their CD on their current Mid-West tour, or hit them up on Facebook for a copy.)

Click to Buy

Baby Cobra and Lady Cobra

Dirty Nasty and Call Me Donna Cobra

Chino Cobra and Night Moves Cobra

Next up on the Party! Party! Party! Tour were the Mystic Knights of the Cobra. The Cobras had toured with FBHT in 2008, so hardcore fans were already aware of them if not necessarily familiar with their album entitled “There Is No End.” As the band was setting up, the opening act, Dirty Nasty the Filthy Gentleman magician and his lovely assistant, Donna, began their magic act, but unfortunately, the mic wasn’t on and the audience couldn’t hear the lovely but cheesy jokes. The audience may have also wondered if they were actually part of the show. One of things I love about the Cobras are their opening vaudeville-like acts, of which Dirty Nasty is one. At one point Dirty Nasty took out a large walking stick from nowhere and I yelled out, “Oh, what a big stick you have, Dirty Nasty,” which got an acknowledgment and a wink from the magician himself. They continued mic-less and valiantly, and then it was time for the Cobras to start. Their sets are always a bit chaotic and charged, and Friday’s show was no different. In other words, I had a great time! I don’t exactly remember the setlist, but I think it included “Ray Town Massacre,” “Mutafuko’s Revenge” (a great song to scream along with), “Grappling Hook,” “Tribe Called Cobra,” “Meth and Viagra,” “Nunchucks,” “Sunday Funday,” and of course, the now classic “El Camino,” written by Call Me Donnie Cobra (RIP). I think they also did “Bad Girl,” but don’t quote me on that.

Update: And speaking of overlooking, the band made up by members of Green Day’s tech crew, including Micah and Kenny, who I think are called A Hot Mess, played between the Mystic Knights of the Cobra and the Foxboro Hot Tubs. Sorry, guys!

Mike, Jim of Honah Lee and Me. Photo by M. Dirnt

After MKOTC’s set, the three bands went downstairs. I talked and joked around with Honah Lee and the Cobras and just chilled out before the FBHT went on. I have mentioned before that I’m not the biggest fan of asking celebrities for either their autographs or photos. I figure it if happens, it happens, but I never personally ask. (Though I did drunkenly ask Joan Jett the next night to take a picture with the Cobra girls. More on that later!) I didn’t speak with Billie Joe or Tre during the night, but the nicest thing happened with Mike. He came up toward me and introduced himself (which I thought was the bee’s knees), and I mumbled to him that Jason Chandler, Mike’s bandmate in The Frustrators, had let me write about their possible upcoming album. I don’t think he quite caught that, but he said that he recognized my face from the concerts I’ve attended this year. It was really lovely of him to acknowledge that (yea, one more crazy Green Day fan) and then the funniest thing happened. Jim of Honah Lee and I were trying to take those silly “self-portraits” that everyone takes and were failing miserably. Finally, Mike grabs my camera and says, “You’re doing it all wrong” and points the camera at our direction and takes a shot of the three of us. Thank you, Mike. Much appreciated and hella funny! What I love about the shot is that Jim and I look like crazed fans (wait! we are!) with Jim groping over Mike in a little bassist-to-bassist love and me trying to get my mug next to Mike’s. The look on his face is classic and hysterical. I love you, Mike. Thanks!

Other than that, what happens in the basement of Don Hill’s stays in the basement. Don’t worry, all that happened was another night of beer drinking and shit talking. Good times! After the downing of many free beers (thank you, thank you!) the Hot Tubs were ready to rock and we left them to hustle up to the dance floor for the show.

The Foxies are Ready to Rock... after just one more beer... Photo by GDM

I made my way back toward the front to where Michelle was standing and a newly-made Green Day fan acquaintance, Nicole and her husband. The excitement in the room was palpable. There was a lighthearted buzz as the Foxies were about to make their NYC debut. The band came marching on, the Rev in his slowly evaporating and torn signature jacket, carrying his alligator head on a stick through the crowd. He kept asking, “How many people want to dance tonight?” and everyone in the joint let out screams of enthusiasm (Video here, front view here). The guitar notes of “Stop, Drop, and Roll” started, Tre’s drums pumped in, the first “Wooaahh” went out, everyone jumped the joint, the beer went flying, and the first of many, many stage divers flung themselves into the crowd. From there, it was a non-stop dance party for the next two or so hours.

Laying on of Hands.

A relaxing position

The band went on to play “Stop, Drop and Roll” about eight times throughout the night, and we were treated to a brand new song, called “It’s Fuck Time”… six or seven times. Everyone in the audience learned the words to this simple song’s lyrics, heavy breathing, and chorus within … oh… three or four times of it ever being played in front of a live audience. It’s a shocking song, very straight forward, to say the least,  and reminds me a bit of that other band, The Network, in its tone. I’ll always remember The Rev throwing himself off the stage and being handed over the crowd and then hanging upside down from a water pipe. Sigh. (Later on in the night, my crazy Crockett friend Brasesco (and awesome Cobra bus driver!) would do the same thing, but he crawled along the pipe from the back of Don Hill’s to the front of the venue until he was told to get down by security. See the Youtube clip for “Supermodel Robot” below to see him go!)

It’s Fuck Time Chorus

Aahhh, aahhh, aahhh

Oh baby baby, it’s fuck time
You know I really wanna make you mine
Oh baby baby, it’s fuck time
Do you wanna stay, yeah
When you look into my eyes
I wanna hold you ’til I’m paralyzed

Whoaaa

“It’s Fuck Time” by the Foxboro Hot Tubs. Don Hill’s, 4/23/10. Video by xGeneralsX.

El Camino! El El Camino! Photo by Kimberly Martin

During the FBHT song, “Broadway,” Twitch invited folks to dance with him and about 30 people climbed onstage, including Baby Cobra and Lady Cobra, who then led the crowd in a rousing chorus of “El Camino.” I tried to get onstage to dance as well, but I’ve never had good luck with these things. Back in the 80s at a Eurythmics concert, the audience was invited onstage, and the moment I got there, was the moment that they began throwing people offstage, including me. I fell into the pit and landed on the floor and literally didn’t know which was way up. Luckily this time, I found myself actually sitting on stage, almost underneath Mike and squished between a monitor and a girl and her boyfriend who were pinned to the stage. Needless to say, I was in a better position than they were, but not by much.

Broadway (FBHT)/El Camino (MKOTC) – Don Hill’s, 4/23/10

Play "Teenagers from Mars!" Photo by xGeneralsX

Don't Touch Kevin's Guitar! Photo by xGeneralsX

A little after “El Camino” the band took requests and did a sweaty rendition of “Earth Angel .” Chino Cobra climbed onstage at some point and started to play Jason Freese’s keyboards, trying to get The Rev to sing “Teenagers from Mars.” At one point Chino took Kevin Preston’s guitar and tried to play. Billie Joe lured him in by pouring a beer down his throat, which distracted Chino long enough so that one of the band’s security guards could deftly take the guitar away and lead him offstage. Chino’s the man! Beer is always the distraction!

The band did other great cover songs, including The Network’s “Supermodel Robots ” and Green Day’s “Blood, Sex, and Booze ” and “St. Jimmy ” (with Chino, the Man, attempting to sing along with Jason Freese). After seeing Tony Vincent and John Gallagher, Jr., do “St. Jimmy” together so many times over the past month prior to this show (and a fine job they do with it, too), I was delighted to be a witness to the power of “St. Jimmy” in such a small space. I remember when I first saw Green Day do this song last year in Albany, and Billie Joe went a bit crazy onstage (the cast of American Idiot attended the Albany show). I was astounded by the way he throws himself into the song, and this night was no different. The crowd went as crazy as he did. And yes, he did fling that girl from the stage into the audience. Heh. Girl, you were lucky you had a crowd that didn’t let you fall to the ground like I did at the Eurythmics show. Yep.

Stage Right Wins and Yes. He. Does. Photo by XGeneralsX

It was just about now that my legs, bent underneath me, were losing all feeling. Hmm. Again, I was in a better position than the girl next to me, as she had managed to pull her legs up onto the stage, but it wasn’t comfortable for her. The Rev asked for a cigarette, and we tried to find one for him. Her boyfriend, who I saw at the American Idiot soundcheck, said, “he doesn’t smoke.” I was like, OK, and helped find a cigarette for Billie Joe. By the time a slim, lit Capri, came my way, stage right had already gotten a cigarette to Billie Joe. So I took the Capri for a moment and smoked it. Not for long, though. My lungs, at that point, needed all the air that they could get. (Smoking is bad for you kids, don’t start!)

FBHT Setlist, Don Hill's. Photo by xGeneralsX

At some point, I kept trying to stretch my leg out, but the only place to go was over the monitor, and I didn’t want to interrupt the sound to the band, so I didn’t drape my now dying-log leg over the monitor. I had on burgundy Chucks. The band started to play The Clash’s “I Fought the Law,” and just for a moment, I let my leg hang over the monitor. Billie Joe came over and pulled my leg. There was no way I was going up that way, dragged over the monitor, so I held out my arm, he grabbed it, and the girl’s boyfriend (sorry, I wish I knew your names!) helped me get up. Thank you! We (or I), danced like mad people. After the dance, Billie Joe turned to the audience and I didn’t know what to do. So I comically went to the left and then to the right, and then Eddie the security dude pointed outward, toward the audience. I was like, what the heck! My first stage dive! (The Eurythmics one does not count.) And it was brilliant. Lol.  Tony thought that The Rev was waiting to dance with me again toward the end, but I was gone. I don’t know about that. All I was thinking was, “OK. Time to go now.”

Uh, Yahoo! Now, which way is off?

“I Fought the Law” – Foxboro Hot Tubs, Don Hill’s

Skull and Sweat. Photo by Rafe Baron

I was surfed off toward the bar area, and landed not far from Nicole Gary, her husband, Michael, and Chickenman. It was good to see them! Nicole’s awesome husband bought tickets on his lunch break without telling her until later and Chickenman was having a blast, on his best behavior. I was happy, but a bit crazed, and while the FBHT were still onstage, I went downstairs for a moment to get some air and water. The smooth and sexy MKOTC keybordist, Trell, last seen wildly dancing at one point on the floor, was downstairs, drenched and happy. There was sweat everywhere. I drank a bit of beer, and went back upstairs. I walked up just as The Rev was communing with a silver-painted skull. OK, it had become THAT point of the night.

The show was over soon after. But not until after one last “It’s Fuck Time.” I think.

Long-winded epilogue

Happy Birthday Stef!

And with that, I don’t remember much else. The night ended long after that. Somewhere. But I really don’t remember that either.

I do remember everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to a great guy, Stef!

Next stop: Trenton. Trell and Rachel

The next day was a travel day for Honah Lee and the Cobras. I went home, though I should have just brought my stuff and headed to Jersey like I had planned, but I was exhausted and needed my own bed. I ended up in Trenton the next day, hanging with the Party! Party! Party! Tour at the Millhill Basement in Trenton. Sigh. Great night in Jersey.

Sunday would find me back in Manhattan, at a little (literally) place called the Bowery Electric. FBHT II with friends. A different sort of night than Don Hill’s, but just as great. I hope to write about that over the weekend and maybe touch on some controversy about the Don Hill show, but I’ve yet to decide on whether to do that latter part as of now. The next post will be shorter. I promise. Haha.

One more thing. The amazing rock photographer, Bob Gruen was at both shows. He’s only posted one photo so far, on his Facebook page. I am wont to actually post it here, but it’s brilliant. I can’t wait to see his other shots from both of these shows.

Foxboro Hot Tubs by Bob Gruen

Hmm. That wasn’t as long-winded as I thought it would be.

Here’s a Playbill Review of the show:

Friday’s show at Don Hill’s (review at Playbill here)

Read about Night Two here


American Idiot On Broadway Preview and Opening Weeks

Green Day Over Broadway. Photo by Gavin Boyd, Rolling Stone

Four dates in the life of the Broadway baby called American Idiot stand out for me since seeing the show in Berkeley back in September: The invited Press and Fan Final Soundcheck on 3/23/10, the first preview on 3/24/10, opening night on 4/20/10 and the MTV Special Viewing that occurred on 4/22/10. Since I live in NYC, I had the great fortune of attending all of these special events. This post is a roundup of some of the goings on with the show this past month here in NYC.

Press and Fan Final Soundcheck 3/23/10

An unprecedented invited Press and Fan Final Soundcheck was announced through the Idiot Club and the American Idiot on Broadway Facebook page a few days before the show was to begin its first Broadway preview. The soundcheck press conference occurred in the middle of the day and I made arrangements with work to take a long lunch to go. I attempted to get a blogger press pass and wrote a professional letter to the show’s press agent, and included the name of one of my friends, a top NYC theater critic, who recommended that I write to them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t afforded the courtesy of a reply. At least when I asked at Berkeley, they very kindly sent me an email saying no. I don’t want to sound bitter, but I know that both the production company and press agent for AI have come to this blog. Some sort of reply would have been nice, but I’m not legitimate enough for the courtesy of a reply in New York City. I even mentioned to them how I appeared in the Daily News regarding the show. In fact, several Facebook friends asked me “what I did for the show” and one of them, a television producer who I’ve known since acting school also asked me. And yet… well… whatever. No reply at all. At least a no is a response.

Putting aside all of that, the final soundcheck was a magnificent day. We waited outside for the Idiot interns to check us in, and they recognized me from the American Idiot On Broadway Facebook page and said hello. After about an hour, I went across the street from the theater to wait for the band to show up to take pictures, and shortly thereafter, Green Day was driven up to the theater and deposited at the front doors. I managed to snap two shots of Billie Joe, Mike, and Tre coming into the theater. It was nice to see Mike for the first time with his blond hair, and Tre was carrying what seemed to be a drumstick case.

American Idiot Soundcheck Billie Joe and Tre, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

American Idiot Soundcheck Mike, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

After they moved into the theater, I went back across the street to wait with everyone, and eventually, the first fifty fans in line, who had been told that they were going to sit in the Orchestra seats, were let in first. About 10 minutes later, the remainder of the line was shepherded into the theater up to the Mezzanine. The folks who had been told that they were going to sit in the Orchestra were actually sitting in the Mezzanine with the rest of us. Official word was that there were too many people in the press corps in the Orchestra, and needless to say, the first fifty fans in line were disappointed. I have a feeling that they were afraid that people would try to rush the stage and attempt to get autographs from the band or cast, a very legitimate possibility.

We bitched and moaned with them for a few minutes, and then the lights started to go down and the sounds of the opening strains of the musical — news and television clips from the Iraq War era — began to play. The huge red velvet curtain slowly went up and the cast stood onstage with their backs toward the audience (a definite and effective change from the Berkeley show), all looking toward the 20 or so television screens embedded in Christine Jones’s excellent set design for the show. The guitar riff to “American Idiot” began, and the cast was off, singing the title song to the show.

American Idiot Sound - Tre Climbs in Bed, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

AI Cast Headbanging During "American Idiot" Soundcheck. Photo by Green Day Mind.

After the song, director Michael Mayer, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt walked onto the stage to loud claps from the crowd in the peanut gallery. Mayer spoke for a bit about the show and his inspiration and collaboration with Billie Joe on the book. Billie Joe spoke, then Mike, and Tre said something for a second. While Tre was talking, Mike and Billie climbed into the onstage bed prop, the cast piled on top of them, photo ops were had by all, and the event was over. I went back to work while the rest of the Green Day Community gang hung out and went to lunch. Green Day and the cast headed over to Sardi’s, a famous restaurant down the street from the St. James known for its Broadway clientele for more interviews with the “legitimate” press.

All in all (and despite my bitching), the press conference was a great way to start off the feverish run of American Idiot in New York City. The celebration lasted for a solid month and ended with a spectacular bang with good reviews, solid changes to the show, a special MTV showing with the band, hanging with old and new friends, and one of the best After Parties Ever — two appearances by the fabled Foxboro Hot Tubs (more on the latter in a later post).

APRED Clip of American Idiot Cast Singing “American Idiot” and Press Conference, 3/23/10

More of my pictures from the Press and Fan Soundcheck may be found here.

First Preview, 3/24/10

I didn’t intend to go to the first preview and hadn’t bought a ticket for that night. My first “official night” of seeing American Idiot was actually scheduled for 4/7/10,  but a bunch of Idiots had traveled from around the country to come into New York to see the show, and one of them, sadly, couldn’t bring her friend as planned because of her friend’s cancer treatment. She had an extra ticket so I offered to give her some cash for it (which I still have to do), with the proceeds going toward her friend’s cancer fund. The show at this point was in the working stages from the move from Berkeley to Broadway, and they were working kinks out and adjusting to the larger set and staging of the show. I was quite impressed with the changes in the choreography, the storyline, and the passion that I felt from the cast. Over the course of time from the first Preview to Opening Night, I saw the show three times (3/24; 3/27 and 4/7) and noticed that there were several changes and reworkings during that time until Opening Night and the MTV Special Viewing. (All together, between Berkeley and Broadway, I’ve seen the show seven times.)

Green Day, of course, was there that night, and it was a three-ring circus! Their wives and kids were in the audience and just before the curtain went up, Billie Joe’s bodyguard (a nice guy who I’ve spoken with a few times who does an excellent job of crowd control and protecting Billie Joe) brought him down to sit next to Adrienne. They were so damned cute together, too. I didn’t stare too much, being the nonchalant New Yorker that I am, ahem, but of course, a stare or two couldn’t be helped during the show. There was a palpable excitement and nervousness in the air as the audience, clearly in the show’s corner for an exciting time, was bouncing up and down in their seats in anticipation.

After the show, the circus continued outside. I’m not a fan of getting autographs or photos with famous people, so I just hung around outside until I could find the contingent of folks I had come to the show with. The sidewalk outside of the St. James was packed with people, and many folks had to stand in the street just to let people pass through. Of course, those of us standing in the street kept getting yelled at by cops and security to get out of the street. I would move along, put a foot on the sidewalk, and then head back into the street while people crowded the sidewalk.

Here’s a video link to the scene outside of the theater on the first preview.

Billie and Adrienne and Rebecca Running to Sardi's after the first preview. Photo by Green Day Mind.

American Idiot First Preview After Show Madhouse, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

Eventually, the cast started to roll out of the theater on their way back to Sardi’s for the preview after party. They were asked for autographs (you can see Stark Sands, “Tunny” being mobbed in the photograph below), and after it calmed down a bit more, probably 30 minutes or so after the show when some of the crowd had dispersed (but not by much), Tre kind of quietly walked out a side door to the restaurant first, followed later by Billie Joe, Adrienne, Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername), Mike and Mike’s wife, Brittany. My friends and I went down to Sardis and stood outside for a bit, watching Tre stand in the window of Sardi’s looking down at the crowd. Girls were screaming up a storm, and I’ve got a bad reputation for telling them to shut up (sorry, I just hate screaming girls or boys, my bad), so after awhile, I got tired of the spectacle and headed back down to the theater. Tony Vincent came out and we said hello to each other (we met at Berkeley and spoke online during the Berkeley run), and eventually, John Gallagher, Jr. came out of the theater, after most of the crowd had dispersed or were at Sardi’s. John knows me by name (probably because I drunkenly told him at Rockwood that he needed to bring more of the angst and also from talking with him at the Character Approved Awards a few months ago), so it kind of shocked me that he remembered my name.

John Gallagher, Jr. at Rockwood, 1/18/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

When I first saw the show at Berkeley, I wasn’t impressed with his performance, but then again, I had major issues at the time with the entire show. My biggest concern was that during the Berkeley run when I saw it, I didn’t see the seriousness of the material coming from him nor did I feel the depth of the character. I also say that off-Broadway runs and previews are the time for steeped criticism, particularly in regards to something one feels passionately about, and I’m a jaded theater person from back in the day. If everything is perfect at the beginning, there is no room for improvement. And shows and performances can always be improved. John steadily won me over, as I was pulling for him, particularly after I saw him perform his own material at his residency at Rockwood on the Lower East Side this past January. He’s a heartfelt kid, super-sweet, and a talented dude who obviously is in love with this show and the band. Watching him grow into the role of Johnny has been a pleasure and I give him all the kudos in the world for a brilliant and successful run. And I hope he gets a Tony nomination as well. American Idiot is one of the most bone-breaking shows I’ve seen on Broadway. These kids, led by Gallagher, throw themselves around that stage, and every night Gallagher leads the way. I’m sure it’s not easy.

My Wall Signature.

Once John went inside the restaurant, things got pretty tame outside of the St. James, but people were still bat-shit screaming in front of Sardi’s. The kids outside couldn’t get into the bar at Sardi’s, but since my friends and I are of age, we hung out in the bar at Sardi’s and talked with the bartender who has worked at Sardi’s for years, a real old skool New York character. Outside some of the kids were yelling up to the 2nd floor window asking that Billie make an appearance and show them his tattoos. He did, and then one girl screamed for him to sign her arm for a tattoo when he left the bar and he mimed that he would.

At some point during the night, I went upstairs to the bathroom, where the after party was taking place, and walked right into Brittany Dirnt. I didn’t say anything to her. Heck, what are you going to say to someone in the bathroom? When I walked out, Mike was on the phone near the bathroom and Gallagher was hanging out talking with people. I went back downstairs and chatted for a bit longer. I left at 12:30, but the others stayed until 1:00. I guess I should have stayed for another 1/2 hour, but I had to work the next day. From what I understand, the cast and eventually Billie Joe came out of the party and Billie Joe asked for a “fucking” cigarette. (Yes, he does smoke on occasion, get over it.) My friend who had taken me to the Preview was just about to put a cigarette in her mouth and instead, she gave it to him. Bonus! LOL. Oh, and he did sign the girl’s arm, too.

Here’s a video of Billie at the Sardi’s window and coming out of the restaurant, with cigarette and signing.

Opening Night, 4/20/10

American Idiot Opening at the Irish Rogue. Photo by Michael Gary.

What can I say about Opening Night? By this time, I had seen the show three times in New York, and I was ready to just sit back and enjoy what was about to happen. The opening was a star-studded event, with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael J. Fox and Donald Fucking Trump… oh and a bunch of Idiots who are stars in my book. I didn’t see the Donald, and that was probably a good thing, but I did see the other three, and that was a good thing, too.

Green Day Bracelets in Front of the St. James, Opening Night. 4/20/10.

We Idiots met for dinner and a powwow at the Irish Rogue, having snacks and drinks. Carolyn had brought new Green Day Friendship bracelets to the theater, and she had an extra one and gave it to me. I already had one, but I took it anyway, in anticipation of seeing the show with Becky Walter (of the Facebook page Green Day LIVE on Tour) on 4/22/10. Becky was flying in from Minnesota to New York for the first time ever for the MTV Viewing on 4/22.

We walked down to the site as a group and got more excited as showtime came closer. Our seats were in the balcony and with the crowd, it took a bit of time to get up there. I wasn’t sitting with the Idiots from the restaurant, unfortunately, but I was anticipating meeting up with two special friends, Rachel and Michelle, who were sitting next to me. We three had shared some incredible moments out in Berkeley over the last few months, and Rachel was there to help manage the Mystic Knights of the Cobra tour that was starting the next day and Michelle is the spectacular photographer who took photographs of the Pinhead Gunpowder show back in February. She’s also the girlfriend of the bassist (Jim Graz) of Honah Lee, the accompanying band with the Cobras on their Party! Party! Party! Tour of the East Coast. The tour had been something I was hella looking forward to for months now, and I knew that when I saw them, that the REAL party was about to begin. More on that in a coming post.

The audience, if possible, was even MORE excited to see the show than on the first preview. Everyone was dressed to the nines and there were a few times when the audience shouted out lyrics to the songs with the cast, which was very exciting. I loved it.

After the show, we made our way downstairs and waited around for a little bit to say hello and goodbye to people. We were standing in the St. Jimmy Bar and as I was trying to walk into the area, my bag poked Ed Norton really hard in the ass. (Lucky bag.) He turned around and I apologized, and he smiled, and since I was looking hella good, he looked for a bit longer than usual. And I let him. Haha. And then I turned away and decided that the only thing I wanted to do was leave and hang out with Cobras and start the next phase of this wondrous opening week. So we hopped in a cab and went downtown.

The Real Party Begins. Hanging with the Cobras in the East Village, 4/20/10.

I did not go to the Opening Night Party, but the Green Day Community’s Katie McPansy Grogan won the American Idiot on Broadway Facebook contest. She had a fabulous time in NY, got to meet the band, interviewed Rebecca Naomi Jones, had excellent seats, and went to the After Party. I highly recommend visiting Katie’s Video Blogs of American Idiot on Broadway Opening.

A Shout Out to Nicole.

Lastly, a word of thanks to Nicole Gary. Nicole and I met on the Green Day Community and have been theater buddies in NYC since then. We were also in the Daily News photo shoot together back in March. She told me on opening night that she had attempted to get me a press pass for the After Opening Party festivities and had almost succeeded, but things didn’t work out. Thank you, Nicole, for believing in me and my blog, and for being a good buddy. I appreciate your friendship.

MTV Special Viewing, 4/22/10

J’net (an awesome moderator at the Green Day Community, thank you!) had bought us tickets to the 4/22/10 showing when tickets first went on sale. At the time, tickets weren’t on sale for Opening Night, so 4/22 was the next best thing going at the time (and it proved to be pretty amazing). I was hoping for something weird and special, as I had heard that weird and special things might happen on this night, so I was in weird and special mode. When tickets went on sale on 4/1/10 for Opening Night, I regretted my decision a bit to attend this performance. The Cobras and Honah Lee had played the night before at Arlene’s Grocery, and they were off to Asbury Park for a show at Asbury Lanes. Truthfully, I wanted to be with them as I don’t get to see them very often. But, we make our choices and I had to work on Friday anyway, and ok, shoot me, since all in all, I’ve been way lucky and it’s all good.

Minnesota Gal in NYC. Becky of Green Day LIVE on Tour Comes to NYC.

Things always work out best for those who love the Lushie Gods. Becky Walter, a friend of Niki Lee’s (Seize the Green Day), had won tickets to the MTV Special Viewing but was a bit panicked about making her first major trek from a small town in Minnesota to New York City. I had seats in the Mezzanine that night, but I told her that I would help her navigate through Manhattan and she gave me her second ticket. Niki, Dorie and I talked her through it and encouraged her to take the bull by the horns and conquer her fear of coming to NYC by herself. After all, we don’t bite… hard… here. We told her it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she really wanted to come see the show, and having free tickets was half the battle since the ticket prices can be high. She flew in the day of the show, walked to my work to pick me up so that we could navigate down to the difficult to find Pop2Life offices for the tickets, and then whizzed uptown to meet folks at the Westway Diner for dinner. We proceeded to the venue a bit later and I gave her the Green Day Friendship bracelet that Carolyn had given me the day before. Our tickets were in the left Orchestra, not far from were I sat on the night of the first preview. Also, by Becky giving me the ticket, Andres from the Green Day Community was then able to share this special night with everyone by taking my original Mezzanine seat with J’net, Dawn, and Sherri. The Lushie Gods are good!

As the show was about to begin, Armstrong, Dirnt, and Cool family members walked in and filled the seats in the Center Orchestra. Billie Joe’s mom is the cutest thing ever, and she was beaming from ear to ear. Adrienne walked in with her and sat about two rows from us. As the curtain bells were ringing, The Edge from U2 entered and sat in the Center Orchestra not far from us, followed by Tre, Mike and Brittany, and finally, Billie Joe, who sat in the aisle seat next to Adrienne. Needless to say he caused a stir when he came in, but then the lights went down and the curtain went up.

Is this thing on? Green Day sings during American Idiot on Broadway. Photo by Green Day Mind.

It was kinda funny looking at him as an audience member. He was mesmerized by the show and his mouth was kinda hanging open in amazement the entire time, but something kept distracting him and he ran out of the theater twice during the performance, but came back in. Just as the show was ending, Green Day left the theater and a stage tech brought two mikes onstage. Afterward, the band took their rightful places onstage with their kids, the cast of American Idiot. Billie Joe had some issues with his guitar set-up for a minute, but they worked it out and he noted that it was “his first time on Broadway.” The crowd stood up as they came on and were treated to the “real” version of “American Idiot” and a great rendition of “Basket Case.” The month-long ride from Preview to Opening was complete, and this new baby called American Idiot was on Broadway.

Y’know what… I missed seeing them onstage

Green Day sings on Broadway, 4/22/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

Green Day sings on Broadway During American Idiot, 4/22/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

All in all, it has been a great ride with American Idiot, and I’m glad that the show is up and running and is good. It’s gotten exceptional reviews for the most part, and ticket sales are good. It’s fucking up Broadway, and in my book, that is always a good thing. I’ll write up something one day with my thoughts on the actual production, but really, just go and see it and make up your own mind is all that I can ultimately say.

I will say, though, that seeing Green Day back onstage made me realize how much I just wanted to see them perform again. The cast is great and the score is wonderful and kudos to everyone involved in the show, but Green Day is… well… Green Day. I silently offered supplications after the MTV Special Viewing, “please let the Foxboro Hot Tubs play a show this weekend, please let me get to see it.” Cause you know what? There is nothing like Billie Joe, Mike and Tre onstage together. And luckily, the Lushie Saints granted my wish. Twice. More on that in a later post.

And with that, faire thee well, American Idiot on Broadway. May you have a long life and prosper, may your actors stay healthy with no broken bones, and may you always Fuck Up Broadway.

After the break, stay tuned for ToniAnn and Fallyn on MTV being interviewed about the show and some additional links.

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Iggy and Billie Joe – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Iggy and Billie - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, Waldorf Astoria, 3/15/10

UPDATE: A great blog entry from Detroit’s Metro Times on Iggy Pop’s speech can be found here.

It was rock ‘n’ roll (as opposed to the more formal rock and roll) in action. And the fact that it took this band – who are the very definition of the term, with a lead singer who is the very embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll – eight years to get into this institution makes one question the validity of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame all over again…especially when Billie Joe mentioned a multitude of bands and solo artists who would’ve never existed without this crew’s influence. As Iggy joked to me more than a decade ago when discussing the subject of the Hall of Fame and his chances of joining the elite crew: “Well, maybe if I titled one of my albums Fucking Heroic Young Record Executive or something like that…”

- Bill Holdship, Metro Times Music Blagh

Billie Joe Armstrong inducted legendary band, The Stooges, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night at the Waldorf. He was really excited and rattled off a long list of incredible bands that have been influenced by The Stooges. Afterward, the master himself, Mr. Pop, sang “I Want to Be Your Dog,” and invited the rockers and the suits and the rich in the audience to sing with him onstage. Tre and Mike rushed up, Mike with bottle in hand. It was a classic and strange Iggy moment. If there is some sanctioned video out there of Iggy’s performance (I love me some Mr. Pop), I’ll add it to this post when I find it. Meanwhile, the GDA put up a gallery of photographs that can be found here.

Courtesy of the Green Day Authority (for however long the clip will stay up):

UPDATE: Stooges Press Conference:

UPDATE: Stooges performance of “I Want To Be Your Dog”

And VIA the political websites Balloon Juice and Wonkette, comes this lovely screen shot of Iggy scaring the former United States Rep. Harold Ford who is sitting in the front row of the Hall of Fame festivities, because, well, y’know, Harold’s… uh… well… uh… rock and roll.

Harold Ford and Iggy Pop, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction


Character Approved Awards with American Idiot Cast and New AI Trailer

American Idiot on Broadway 30-second Promo – HOT!

Last Thursday, during a massive snowstorm here in New York City, the Second Annual USA Network Character Approved Awards honored ten artists in the fields of film, writing, music, design, and charity. One of honorees was the band Green Day, mostly featuring Billie Joe Armstrong.

I wrote last week that my friend, who has been helping me with excellent buddy-passes for cheap flights to California to see Green Day perform at Fake New Year’s this past November and to see Billie Joe jam with his side project, Pinhead Gunpowder, in February (see Michelle Lawlor’s awesome photos of that here), was invited to the awards with his roommate, who was blogging about the event. Needless to say, I was a bit jealous of the fact that he was going to this event, particularly since neither one of them were into it as a whole. I (halved) jokingly railed on my friend that it wasn’t fair that he was going and that I couldn’t. At the same time, I made sure to remember that the Lushie Gods are good to those who spread the Lushie karma around, so I was keeping my head on straight about the entire thing, until the day the awards happened and I was like, oh shit, really, you get to go and honor my favorite band on Earth AND see the cast of American Idiot perform?? No fair! LOL.

A few hours before the event, my friend phoned me and asked me a magical question: would you like to go to the event with my roommate? My frozen New York winter heart melted then and there and said, “well, I look like crap, there’s no way I can go home to change before the event, and yes, I’d be happy to go!”

We arrived at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building on the West Side Highway, where the event was being held at 7:00 PM and despite the horrible weather outside, the place was crowded. We checked in, I went to the bathroom and breathed, and wondered if the band would show up. They didn’t show up, but after a few Maker’s Marks with coke (sacrilege, I know), I drank in my disappointment and enjoyed my anticipation of the performance by the American Idiot cast.

I waited for the event to start by standing near the front of the stage where the cast was to perform, and ran into a fellow that I knew from New York University back in the day and chatted with the bartender who kept my double Maker’s Mark glass full. The people around me were really nice and I made a dude laugh when we talked about the winter weather and how much he loved it but I hated it, and then I called him “Honey” for some reason, and he cracked up to no end. I blame my reverse misogyny and verbal diarrhea on the Maker’s Mark…

USA Network Character Approved Awards American Idiot Cast Stage, 2010

USA Network Character Approved Awards 2010

Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein introduces Characters Approved


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