Fans waiting for a new Green Day record are about to get one. Sort of: The Bay Area punks have just revealed that the rowdy garage-rock band called Foxboro Hot Tubs — who posted six tunes online in December — is in fact the rock superstars working under a pseudonym. And just as two of the new tracks are gaining traction on rock radio, Green Day have announced that the Foxboro Hot Tubs’ full-length album, Stop Drop and Roll, will be out “any day.”
Billie Joe Armstrong and Co. say they consider the FHT album, recorded with perennial Green Day sidemen Jason White and Jason Freese, to be “the next Green Day record.” “We record live to an eight-track reel-to-reel machine,” they say in an e-mail to Rolling Stone. “We write songs as we go, on the fly, fast and spontaneous.”
From the design of the Foxboro Hot Tubs’ Website — which includes Sixties clips of girls dancing the Swim and the Jerk — to the style of music, Green Day are riffing on the aesthetic of classic garage bands like the Animals and the Kinks on this project. Specifically, their inspirations were “red wine and the Troggs,” they say.
The upbeat FHT tunes are presumably very different from the material the trio have been working on for the follow-up to their ambitious megahit, American Idiot, which sources expect out this year. “I want to dig into who I am and what I’m feeling at this moment — which is middle-aged,” Armstrong told Rolling Stone late last year. “We’ve been doing this for almost twenty years.”
The project gives Green Day a chance to blow off steam before forging ahead with their next official album. “This is them having fun,” says a source close to the band. And it’s not the first time they’ve used a pseudonym: In 2003, while working on American Idiot, Green Day released a spiky New Wave LP as the Network.
Of course, fans didn’t need confirmation that FHT were Green Day. Besides the obvious vocal comparison, there are lyrical references to American Idiot: On FHT’s “The Pedestrian,” Armstrong sings, “It don’t take a genius to be an idiot.” And sleuths noticed that the goat logo on Foxboro Hot Tubs’ MySpace page is identical to the one that appeared on the Network’s Website.
But unlike the Network, Foxboro have two songs catching on at rock radio. The rollicking rave-up “Mother Mary” reached Number Sixteen on the Modern Rock chart in February, and “The Pedestrian” is starting to get spins too. “The songs stand alone regardless of any Green Day association,” says Aaron Axelsen, music director at San Francisco’s Live 105. “I’d probably play these songs if they were a new band.”
But the disc poses a dilemma for retailers: How do you sell a CD by rock superstars when their name isn’t on it? “We’re not gonna put it under ‘Green Day,’ we’re gonna put it under ‘Foxboro Hot Tubs,'” says Andrew Gyger of Virgin Megastores. “But it’s enough of a high-profile project that people know about it.” As for the possibility of an FHT tour, the band remains coy: “Maybe, for sure!”
This story appeared in the May 1, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone.