STREAM OF THE WEEK BILLIE JOE ARMSTRONG: WELCOME TO MY PANIC (Amazon Audible)
Get your headphones ready for this one-off podcast episode where Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong takes you on a journey from the band's early days through to their commercial success of Dookie, the further mainstream success with American Idiotand into today. While this is a fantastic documentary into the band's history with some very personal insights from Armstrong, it also allows you to hear the songs as they happened with a very special twist.
Billie Joe details several key events in the band’s history, such as their legendary mud-filled performance at Woodstock '94 and the recording of the rock opera American Idiotin a post 9/11 world. Truly enjoyable to longtime Green Day fans, however, is the backstory of the success of Dookieas the band went from playing 100 person punk clubs to arenas in a matter of years. The words "sellout" were often used due to the band signing to a major label and Armstrong talks about the mental toll it had on him. The pressure of following up American Idiotand its semi-sequel 21st Century Breakdownreally got to Armstrong, and he speaks eloquently about how "music became not fun anymore" for a while as they created the albums Uno! Dos!& Tre!. Armstrong gets very personal about his anxiety and frequent panic attacks in a very casual manner, but there's enough humour here to make it not too overbearing on the listener. One of the most revealing stories is the background behind Armstrongs very public 2012 meltdown on stage at the iHeartRadio Festival.
The stories bounce back and forth between being enlightening and hilarious but the real highlight is the music. Interspersed among the story are eight songs from Green Day's storied career ranging from their biggest hits ( Basket Case, American Idiot) to newer releases ( Revolution Radio, Graffitia) presented in brand new unplugged renditions. Unlike some acoustic renditions, the energy isn't lost here as the fast-paced pop-punk tracks still pack a punch. What really stands out is the two ballads which were already essentially acoustic with Wake Me Up When September Endsgetting a key change and Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)receives drums for the first time ever.
You don't need to be a Green Day fanatic to enjoy this but a background in some of their music would certainly be helpful.
Billie Joe Armstrong: Welcome to My Panic (Words + Music) is available to stream on Audible.