Green Day Returns, Billie Joe Opens Up About Substance Problems and Rehab
You know how every VH1 Behind the Music episode has a part where, after hitting rock bottom and going to rehab, the artist/band has to reappear, mend their public image, and get back onstage again?
Billie Joe's "I'm sorry" moment.
That's what Green Day is living through right now.
After blowing up at the iHeartRadio Festival last fall, entering rehab, and derailing the publicity tour for his Oakland band's three new albums, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong has re-emerged, sober and contrite, and with stories about how bad his substance problems were. They're detailed in a cover story in this week's Rolling Stone, where Armstrong says, "I couldn't predict where I was going to end up at the end of the night... I'd wake up in a strange house on a couch. I wouldn't remember how. It was a complete blackout."
The final straw in Armstrong's substance-abuse saga came in September, when he went on a tirade in Las Vegas. "Give me a break, one minute left. One minute fucking left," he raged, as organizers tried to shoo the band offstage. "You're going to give me fucking one minute? Let me fucking tell you something. I've been around since fucking 19-eighty-fucking-eight. And you're gonna give me one fucking minute? You've gotta be fucking kidding me! ... What the fuck!?
Billie Joe loses it onstage, Sept. 2012
"I'm not fucking Justin Bieber, you motherfuckers!"
So it was a memorable fall. Unfortunately the result of it -- Armstrong entering rehab -- meant Green Day had to cancel a string of fall concerts and publicity appearances, including a much-anticipated show at the Fillmore here in San Francisco. The band is atoning for that now, too, having booked a couple intimate club shows around the country and a big (and sold-out) show at Berkeley's Greek Theatre on April 16. (Still no Fillmore make-up, alas.)
A lot of bands break-up for good, or become unrecognizable, after their substance issues get so bad they can no longer be ignored. Green Day is at least now on the road to recovery -- or, as the practically made-for-VH1 headline on the cover of this week's Rolling Stone screams, "the road back from hell."