Published May 08, 2009Mere days before the arrival of their highly anticipated new rock opera 21st Century Breakdown, Californian big-shots Green Day have stirred the pot across the globe by defending their status as a "punk" band. Though the tag is vehemently argued by those who choose to release music semi-independently and adhere to a very specific set of aural and aesthetic guidelines, Green Day front-man Billie Joe Armstrong insists that he still feels part of the rebellious movement.
When MTV.com asked Armstrong if Green Day are still a punk band, he said, "Oh yeah, that's ground zero for us... Coming from Gilman Street, we saw the most creative people I've ever seen in my life. There was a band called Schlong, and they did 'West Side Story,' and they called it 'Punk Side Story.' And then there are bands like NoMeansNo, [who made] a record like Wrong that's completely insane. None of those are conventional - what we call 'punk rock bands' - but they are, in their own right, the most creative, the most punk. It's about being creative. Anytime we write something that's kind of scary and we feel a bit vulnerable, we always just say, 'Just go there.' "
This is the sort of dividing statement that has likely set many message boards ablaze, but one point in Billie Joe's defense is that he certainly hasn't forgotten where he came from. He even makes the effort to occasionally write, record and perform with his undoubtedly punk band Pinhead Gunpowder on the side. He's certainly no Ian MacKaye but he hasn't completely forgotten his roots.