Green Day Didn't Forsake Its Punk Roots; You Just Got Old and Complacent
Editor's Note: It's not every day that a band capable of filling arenas headlines a gig at the (comparatively) intimate Marquee Theatre. But that's exactly what's going down tonight, when the Bieber-bashing, ¡Uno-¡Dos!-¡Tre! -releasing Green Day heads to Tempe for a sold-out show. Critical consensus can be pretty mixed when it comes to Billie Joe and Co. Some are quick to dismiss the band, but Elano Pizzicarola of L.A. Weekly's West Coast Sound has a compelling argument: Green Day didn't sell out; you just got old. Stand by for our full review of the show and an accompanying slideshow tomorrow.
By Elano Pizzicarola
One of the most mainstream punk bands since the new millennium, Green Day has faced criticism for selling out ever since releasing 2004's American Idiot -- some would say as far back as after the release of 1994's Dookie.
Fuck that. They didn't sell out. In fact, songs on American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown resonate just as deeply as those on Dookie.
Their connection with the audience is especially evident when performing "Holiday" live in 2005 on their Bullet in a Bible documentary. What 99 percenter remains unmoved as Billie Joe Armstrong proclaims the song stands for a "'Fuck You!' to all the politicians"? How can some of you punk lovers suppress your inner activist and not pump fists to the anthem?
When it comes to staying true to punk's roots, Green Day is less detached than you might think. "The Saints Are Coming" was actually a cover of a single by '70s punk band The Skids.
Have they become commercialized? Well, yes. They became MTV favorites. They covered The Simpsons' movie opening. They graced the cover of the Rock Band video game. They inspired a Broadway musical called American Idiot named after their 2004 chart-topping album of the same name. And they even played alongside grandiose rockers U2 on Monday Night Football. Listeners will likely hear a ballad on both American Idiot and their 2009 album 21st Century Breakdown.
But don't dismiss them for nabbing two Kids Choice Awards in 2006 on Nickelodeon, after being pitted against pop stars including Backstreet Boys and Black Eyed Peas. When Armstrong accepted the award, he demanded in true punk fashion that the young audience "Stick it to the man!"