Green Day Didn't Forsake Its Punk Roots; You Just Got Old and Complacent

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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!"


Location Info

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Marquee Theatre

730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

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17 comments
MidwestBest
MidwestBest

It's obvious this writer has lost any concept of what "punk" is. There's plenty of punk bands that make a comfortable living without ever being on a major label or network tv. I knew it was over when they started showing up for awards wearing Armani suits. Plus they stole the guitar riff that made them relevant again.

There is a difference to portraying an image of punk, and actually practicing the punk ethic.

Why not release their albums on their own, independent label? Why do make and sell their merchandise DIY? Or how about refusing to release their "rock opera" on Broadway, but instead perform the play in small independent theaters, or hell even at the same venues and clubs they started in?

No, we get to see them on daytime TV, Monday night football, and the kids choice awards! That's really "sticking it to the man!" What's next, Reagan Youth covers on Glee?

They are sell outs.

fypaul
fypaul

The gist I got from this article is, "Don't mind their accomplishments, since they're still playing their punk rock songs from 2004." Don't get me wrong, anyone who calls American Idiot a sell-out album is disillusioned. The album was incredibly successful and Green Day had every right to cash in on that. However, I have not heard a single song from them released after 2004 that wasn't a complete re-hash of "Jesus of Suburbia." Every citation to being "punk-rock" in this article referred to songs off of American Idiot. 

Green Day sold out as soon as they attempted to play off of the formula of American Idiot, rather than push the boundaries of what a platinum selling band can release.

my_rache
my_rache

Green Day has gotten more shit from self proclaimed "punks" than any other pop punk band out there. Here's an idea if you don't like Green Day then don't fucking listen to them! This argument that they have sold out is sooo fucking old and pathetic, and anyone still holding onto it are just juvenile and sad. Hey listen there are a lot of bands out there that I don't care for, you wanna know what I do about it? I don't fucking listen to them! I don't read blogs or articles written about them. And I certainly don't put my two cents in about my opinion of them, you wanna know why? Cause nobody gives a shit! Fucking grow up and get a life. 

dain.gore
dain.gore

Correction: They were not just "featured on the cover" of a Rock Band game, their songs accounted for most of the content. The only other band that could claim that notoriety--for Rock Band, at least--was The Beatles.

They could always go with the go-to Lars Ulrich answer to selling out..."Yeah, that's right. We're sell outs. We sell out of every stadium, ampitheater, every arena..."

Dani Cutler
Dani Cutler

You got it! I'll also be talking about it on the air tomorrow on KWSS 93.9 FM!

Up On The Sun
Up On The Sun

Dani Cutler, tweet @Phxmusicdotcom and we'll retweet and share your thoughts about the show.

Dani Cutler
Dani Cutler

I'll be there, and I'm old. However, NOT complacent! ;) Looking forward to this SO much!

my_rache
my_rache

@Calm.Down.Cupcake @my_rache Wow what are great comeback! I'm completely floored, I'm gonna go rock back and forth in the corner and cry now. You sir, are bad ass! : \

my_rache
my_rache

@Calm.Down.Cupcake @my_rache Ok I'll tone it down for ya, take the aforementioned "Tumblr" and insert it firmly into your rectum, you feminine hygiene product.

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