Green Day’s Mike Dirnt on Billie Joe Armstrong: ‘I Gotta Support My Boy’
Green Day are starting to get back on track after their fall of 2012 and early 2013 were derailed by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong‘s stint in rehab. Armstrong’s troubles came to a head as their heavy promotional schedule took them to Las Vegas for a show last fall in which the frontman went on a guitar-smashing rant onstage. With the band preparing their return to touring, bassist Mike Dirnt addressed the past issues and their current state with Rolling Stone.
The bassist reveals that for quite a while everyone turned a blind eye to Armstrong’s substance abuse due in part to the heavy workload they’ve maintained over the past decade. However, Dirnt says it became apparent that things weren’t right with Armstrong in the lead-up to the first release of their 2012 album trilogy. After the Las Vegas show, the bassist says he could no longer hold back and had it out with Armstrong about his behavior. He recalls, “For me, it started off as concern for my friend. Then it turned to anger. Then it came full circle to ‘I’m angry for what you’re doing to you. Whatever the f— is going on, that’s not you, and it’s gone so far down. You’re doing it alone, and you’re not letting us in.’ Sometimes you have a friend or loved one that needs you to shake them. They don’t see a path out.”
Speaking about that Las Vegas show, Dirnt added, “You know, truth be told, I agreed with what he said, outside of mentioning anybody else. I know that’s not Billie. But the bigger side of it – I actually agreed with the rant. But I was watching my friend and going, ‘You’re out of your f—ing mind.’ And we were dealing with a s—show.”
The bassist says shutting things down when they should have been celebrating was definitely an adjustment. He explained, “Not one person called me and congratulated me on the day ['Uno!'] came out. Everybody was afraid to call and say anything to us. I went through a bit of a depression. Thank God, my wife was there for me and able to help me process my emotions.
Dirnt says that the biggest change now comes in how they view their lives. He explains, “We were forced to stop, let the dust settle and reflect on everything in our lives, not just our accomplishments. Listen to the silence. Listen to your life. Be present, not just think about what’s going on next week, next month.”
As for the immediate future, Dirnt says that the backstage area no longer needs to be a bar, and he’s keeping an eye on overdoing it when it comes to the amount of shows they play. As for dealing with Armstrong, he concludes, “My thing is, good, bad or ugly, I gotta support my boy. I’m gonna back him up, and then I’m going to take it the next step further with him. And we’re gonna do it offstage, too.”