The Risk Billie Joe Armstrong Took After Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’


Green Day was part of the late 1980s and early 1990s Bay Area punk scene, and they are credited with popularizing the mainstream interest in punk rock music in the United States. After releasing their major-label debut ‘Dookie’ in 1994, the band made a breakthrough and began rising in prominence.

Although Green Day’s following albums titled ‘Insomniac,’ ‘Nimrod,’ and ‘Warning’ weren’t as successful as ‘Dookie,’ the band found popularity among the younger audience with their seventh album titled ‘American Idiot.’ After being released in 2004, the album became one of the most anticipated releases.

‘American Idiot’ brought Green Day an unprecedented level of success. It sold over 16 million copies worldwide and ended up being one of the best-selling albums of the decade. Billie Joe Armstrong made a risky move and took a different turn following this album.

Green Day Turned A Deaf Ear To Everyone After Releasing ‘American Idiot’


Released on February 7, 2020, Green Day’s thirteenth studio album ‘Father Of All Motherf*ckers’ marked a change from the band’s usual sound. Although it received chart success, it also got mixed reviews from critics. During the makings of the album, Billie Joe Armstrong decided that he would experiment with different sounds. He entered the studio and began singing in high-pitched falsetto, which was something he had never tried before.

With the release of the single ‘Father Of All…,’ the band then signaled that their sound was changing dramatically. Moreover, the album’s cover was quite similar to ‘American Idiot’s, with an additional cartoon unicorn on top of it. After ‘Father Of All…,’ Green Day also released the singles ‘Fire, Ready, Aim,’ ‘Oh Yeah!,’ and ‘Meet Me on the Roof.’ They then made a giant leap with the album’s release but received criticism for this change.

In a 2020 interview with Kerrang, Mike Dirnt recalled that Billie Joe Armstrong told them to close their ears to the criticism from the media and continue doing what they wanted. Dirnt then said they didn’t care about the negative opinions because they were proud of the outcome. Moreover, Armstrong also said that he came up with the idea of doing a rock opera, and it was an unexpected decision until the moment they became confident enough. He then mentioned the single ‘Jesus Of Suburbia’ and said they ended up with this song after gaining that confidence.

Speaking to Kerrang, Mike Dirnt said the following:

“I remember we had that feeling of faith with ‘American Idiot.’ We had finished ‘American Idiot,’ we were all sitting in the studio’s lounge, and Billie goes, ‘Look, let’s not read any of the f*cking press. I don’t care what anyone thinks.’ We knew that we had swung for the fences, and whether we hit a grand slam or horribly f*cking struck out, we didn’t care because we were proud of that record.”

Billie Joe Armstrong then added:

“That was like, ‘Okay, now we’re doing a rock opera.’ It’s a strange feeling because it kind of shocks your system, but then suddenly the confidence starts to come in, and then you end up with a song like ‘Jesus Of Suburbia.’ It’s important to get yourself into deep water with being an artist.”

Below, you can listen to Green Day’s album.