Green Day Talk New Album on 'Howard Stern Show': 'This Is the Most Fun We've Had in the Studio'

Josh Sisk/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs at the 9:30 Club on Oct. 3, 2016.

It's a whole new Green Day. The veteran Bay Area punk trio swung by Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show on Wednesday morning (Oct. 5) to talk about their humble beginnings, their rock rise to superstardom and how singer Billie Joe Armstrong's sobriety has helped kick-start their creative spark. Oh, and they played six ripping songs that had Howard freaking out.

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The hour-long visit opened with Armstrong marveling at the band's 30-year run, joking that they're playing some of the same festivals they first hit in 1998, except now everyone else on the bill is completely different. That segued into bassist Mike Dirnt explaining how he came up with the signature bass line to GD's breakthrough hit "Longview" while high on acid. They also played "Welcome to Paradise," another breakthrough hit from their 1994 major-label debut, Dookie.

In a testament to how far they've come, Armstrong described dropping out of high school (with his mother's blessing) to pursue music and moving into a squalid squat in Oakland with a bunch of other punks. "Did you call the squat 'Paradise'? Was it actually called Paradise?" Stern asked about the inspiration for the song. 

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"I'd moved out of my mom's house when I was 18 and I moved into West Oakland in a warehouse. It was basically a squat," he explained of the giant space he shared with 15 other musicians and artists that was big enough to host basketball games and huge parties. "We were just young and having a lot of fun." Talk turned to the recording of "Bang Bang," the first single from the band's upcoming album Revolution Radio, due this Friday. "It's about mass-shooting culture in America," Armstrong said. "The fact that [mass shootings] come with these social media rantings, manifestos… it's sick to kind of watch. Because people filming this stuff on their own now, it's like we're terrorizing ourselves."

They also reached back to play the hits "Holiday" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" as well as the title track of the new album. "I love this Billy," drummer Tré Cool said of the clean Armstrong, who has been sober for four years now since entering a rehab facility after an onstage meltdown in 2012. "This is the most fun we've had in the studio and the record just shows [it]." Their in-studio band included the three musicians they now consider part of the group's permanent touring lineup: member since 2012 guitarist Jason White, rhythm guitarist Jason Freese and keyboardist Jeff Matika.

Asked if they could see themselves still doing this 30 years from now like the Rolling Stones, Armstrong said he can't imagine doing anything else. "Yeah, I think so. You might as well do what you love until you can't do it anymore."