In 2010, Jesse Malin and Green Day released a one-off collaboration under the name Rodeo Queens. The song was titled “Depression Times” and mixed Malin’s nasally voice with the power-punk of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool.
Nine years later, Malin and Armstrong finally follow it up with the new collaboration “Strangers & Thieves,” a track off the New York singer-songwriter’s upcoming album Sunset Kids, produced by Lucinda Williams. It’s a propulsive song, hurried along by jangly guitars, an unrelenting backbeat and an irresistible chorus. Malin had the chorus already written when Armstrong, after an inspiring trip to the East Village, finished the tune remotely.
“’Strangers & Thieves’” started as a song I had for a fun side project with the guys in Green Day called Rodeo Queens. Lucinda heard the song and felt it really fit in with Sunset Kids. I had the music and lines for a chorus. One day, Billie Joe Armstrong was in town, and it was one of those nostalgic Sundays, where we walked around looking at all the old sites, like the A7 club, which is now Niagara, and CBGB’s, now the Varvatos store, and the old Rat Cage Records spot,” Malin tells Rolling Stone.
“A couple days later,” he continues, “Billie Joe sent me a text with the finished song. He kept a couple of the lines I had for the choruses, and wrote lyrics about the Bay Area scene through his eyes, a scene that was very parallel to my experiences in New York. Somehow, we all found each other, just being outcasts looking for real music and like-minded trouble.”
Sunset Kids will be released August 30th. The follow-up to Malin’s 2015 album Outsiders features 14 tracks, including a duet between Malin and Williams titled “Dead On” and the previously released “Room 13.” Currently on tour in the U.K., he’ll perform a September 14th show with guests Alejandro Escovedo, Joseph Arthur, Tommy Stinson and Matthew Ryan.