Personalities | Green Day | Broadening Horizons (2009) | Key Events
Heart Like A Hand Grenade
Filmmaker and punk-rock fan John Roecker was given access at various stages of the recording of American Idiot and 300 hours of footage was eventually boiled down to a two-hour film entitled Heart Like A Hand Grenade. Although completed, apart from some limited showings the film has yet to be officially released. Tantalizing clips on the internet range from a Tre Cool studio drum solo watched by Billie Joe who then deadpans, ‘let’s go shopping’, via the serious business of laying down tracks, to Tre Cool giving expert advice on how not to get drunk (drink water between beers).
21st Century Breakdown
The eagerly awaited follow-up to American Idiot entitled 21st Century Breakdown was another Green Day rock opera. Divided into three suites, the plot revolves around the relationship between a punk-rock couple, Gloria and Christian, against a backdrop of a modern America, ‘in a transition from one destructive era to something new.’ The album ranges from spite against fundamentalist religion in the track ‘East Jesus Nowhere’, to the wonderfully Lennon-esque love song ‘Last Night On Earth’.
21st Century Breakdown received positive reviews, topping album charts worldwide and generally banishing any worry that there might be another post-Dookie comedown. In America, however, the largest retail outlet Wal Mart refused to stock the album due to their policy of not selling any CDs that carry ‘parental advisory’ stickers. The band were asked to provide the retailer with a version without offending language. ‘There’s nothing dirty about our record,’ Billie Joe stated, ‘They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there. We just said no. We’ve never done it before. You feel like you’re in 1953 or something.’
Good Morning, America
Green Day made a number of TV appearances to promote the release of 21st Century Breakdown, although their reputation as America’s No. 1 band commanded a live, four-song set at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, New York, on the morning of 22 May that was broadcast live on ABC’s Good Morning America show. The band performed ‘21st Century Breakdown’, ‘Know Your Enemy’, ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Longview’; Billie Joe was interviewed live on stage and halfway through explaining the concept behind the album was asked a more important question by one of the presenters: ‘How do you contain Tre?’
Henry Fonda Theatre
After intense rehearsals, Green Day played a number of small warm-up dates in June 2009 for the 21st Century Breakdown tour. Their performance at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles served up 12 songs from the new album, including a piece of theatre from Billie Joe on ‘East Jesus Nowhere’ where a young boy sang along with him which, for the world tour, translated into ‘saving a child’ from the audience on stage like a fundamentalist preacher. The second part of the performance saw the band play loudly old favourites suggested by the crowd, ranging from ‘Longview’ to the now obligatory...
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