.

In the Studio: Green Day Prep 'American Idiot'

Billie Joe Armstrong calls forthcoming record a 'punk-rock opera'

June 24, 2004
billie joe armstrong green day
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs in Hollywood.
John Shearer/WireImage

"We're writing nine-minute epics, which is scary to think about," says Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, after previewing the very long new song "Jesus of Suburbia." That track, broken into five different parts, is the centerpiece of the San Francisco punk band's seventh studio album. American Idiot is, no joke, a concept album, or "punk-rock opera" as Armstrong calls it. The band veered in this direction after working on a more conventional album, only to have the master tapes stolen from the studio. Fortunately, the new tracks are as catchy as they are ambitious, recalling everything from Lou Reed's New York album to Queen. Highlights include the nasty, media-bashing title track and "St. Jimmy," a cool punkrockabilly hybrid. Despite its lofty ambitions, Idiot is still fun. "You know when you're fifteen years old and you're rocking out in front of the mirror playing air guitar?" says Armstrong. "I was trying to get that feeling going."

This story is from the June 24, 2004 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com