UPDATE: Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has issued a note to fans following the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is more than an award,” wrote Armstrong. “It’s the privilege to play music, write songs and follow this psychotic passion called rock n roll.” Read the whole note on the group’s Instagram.
In December, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that his band would be among its class of 2015, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had to go for a long walk just to process the news. “We’re in incredible company and I’m still trying to make sense of this,” he told Rolling Stone at the time. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has always held something special for me because my heroes were in there. This is a great time for us to sort of reflect and look back with gratitude.”
Tonight at Cleveland’s Public Hall, following heartfelt induction speeches by the members of Fall Out Boy, Armstrong and his compadres Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool did indeed reflect on their lengthy career — their debut EP, 1,000 Hours, dropped in 1989 — and the band’s unlikely success story.
Formed by Armstrong and Dirnt in 1986, Green Day evolved from scrappy East Bay punks into rock & roll superstars with over 75 million in record sales. The hooky pop-punk songs of Dookie, the band’s 1994 major label debut, opened the doors for the countless tuneful and energetic punk bands to follow, while 2004’s Grammy-winning American Idiot proved that the “rock opera” — a concept long associated with the classic rock of the Sixties and Seventies — was still more than viable in the 21st century. Green Day were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility; here’s their full acceptance speech.
Well, thank you Fall Out Boy, that fucking made me tear up a few times. And thank all you fuckers, coming here, we love you. They don’t let drummers use teleprompters, so I wrote this shit old school, on a fucking typewriter. No, actually. OK, but music is the force that gets us up in the morning, and it’s also the shit that keeps us up all night. We’re all in this room together to celebrate music and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s overwhelming, the amount of talent and love in the room. It’s overwhelming.
When we’re on tour in our yellow Ford Econoline, we were playing punk clubs, squats, backyard parties, we were screen-printing T-shirts on Billie Joe’s guitar case. Sleeping on floors, couches, wherever we could. I didn’t think back then that we’d be here now, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I thought it would take at least take another year or two. But we grow older, we change, and we get weird, weirder, crazier. It’s awesome. We grow together. With every beat of the drum our love of music gets even stronger, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an enormous honor and I’d like to mention a few people who make my crazy world turn around.